It’s not fiber or wireless, it’s fiber and wireless

Posted on May 15, 2011  /  1 Comments

One cannot talk about broadband these days without Australia’s massive taxpayer-funded national broadband scheme coming up. In an otherwise interesting and informed discussion of the pros and cons, Ian McAuley confuses the debate by conflating access networks, which will for the most part be wireless, and backhaul networks which will for the most part be fiber.

The fourth myth is that “the Internet is becoming a wireless internet”, to quote Malcolm Turnbull, who appeared on the program with his nifty little wireless tablet computer.

The claim is disingenuous, and Turnbull, of all people, knows the limits of wireless technology. Bandwidth is limited, and what works today for a few users will become the Internet equivalent of road gridlock in just a few years. Even now the wireless spectrum is getting crowded, and the up-and-coming 4G network will provide no more than a stopgap improvement.

The future will almost certainly see more wireless devices, but these will be on short tethers generally within homes and other buildings; the domestic wireless LAN with a range of 10 or 20 metres is the model and these need the support of widely distributed fibre.

1 Comment

  1. This is what we are looking for, fiber AND wireless. One way or the other, it definitely will work.