George Bray georgebray at gmail.com
Tue Apr 7 14:49:29 AEST 2009

On Tue, Apr 7, 2009 at 1:06 PM, Ivan Trundle <ivan at itrundle.com> wrote:
> On 07/04/2009, at 12:34 PM, Marghanita da Cruz wrote:
>> Model the cost of 3G wireless vs FTTH coverage for the 250,000
>> people in Canberra.
> Make that 350,000, but let's not quibble over a few thousand - though the
> 250,000 figure was quite accurate around 1980.
> But it isn't just access, it's bandwidth, too.
> How scalable is 3G if 350,000 users all use the same airspace? How would
> this compare with FTTH?

Thanks Ivan, that was really my point.  No amount of improvement in
wireless technology will ever be comparable to the uncontendend
bandwidth available on even today's fibre, let alone the fibre that
might be available in 10 years.

This ongoing comparison between fixed and wireless capability has got
everyone fooled.  Telstra's musings about the capacity of their 3G
network vs FTTN/FTTP are designed for journalists to replay to the
punters, quoting the headline "speed" for comparison. After today's
news, this line of argument should change to comparing 20Mbps 3G
wireless speed with the current capacity of a fibre (~1500 Mbps).
Both headline figures are nothing like regular end-users will see, but
if your aim is to "educate" the mainstream media in comparisons of
bandwidth capability this obfuscation is to your advantage.

Forget even 350,000 users.  Take a comparison of 100 concurrent users
on each technology, downloading (and uploading) as much as they can.
The wireless system fails at some point because the bandwidth of the
medium is shared between concurrent users. On fibre, each user should
get the full capacity of the service they purchase.

By declaring that Australia's retail network will be a high-capacity
piece of glass to every premise, the Govt has opened up the
possibility of markedly different broadband applications -
applications that couldn't be considered with a FTTN network, let
alone some wireless one.

So what *are* the capacity/distance properties of today's FTTP fibre
systems?  Paul? Richard?


George Bray, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

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