[LINK] SMH: The Unwired Depend on Wires
Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Mon Feb 28 09:45:16 AEDT 2011
[Some good, sane reporting from Barcelona]
Smartphones race ahead of networks and users
Date: February 28 2011
The Sydney Morning Herald Business Section
In between coffees, meetings and product launches at the mobile
industry's annual jamboree in Barcelona, many visitors were seen
pulling out a computer or tablet to email and browse the web.
It was not surprising that there was free Wi-Fi available everywhere.
What was surprising was the speed of that Wi-Fi. It was lousy. Really
lousy. But when you think about it, it all makes sense, and is a
perfect demonstration of the benefits and limitations of wireless
Inside the congress were 60,000 people and all their devices and
several thousand more devices on display. Apart from those who had
turned data capabilities off to avoid roaming fees, everyone at some
point was trying to access the internet through their smartphone or
tablet or the latest invention.
The radio frequency allocated to the mobile phone cells and temporary
Wi-Fi networks serving the congress area struggled with demand for
data and slowed to a crawl.
Wireless routers were also used, but signals were slowed by walls.
The most reliable and fastest connection came from an ethernet cable.
Inside venues femtocells (femto is a metric measurement) were plugged
into fixed connections to boost mobile coverage. These cells
transform fixed broadband into mobile broadband, thus taking people
off the mobile phone tower cell. These cells have been widely
distributed to households by the US mobile company AT&T to alleviate
demand on the network.
While displaying the amazing benefits of plucking internet from the
air and the future direction of mobile broadband, no one at the
congress was arguing it would replace fixed broadband. In fact, the
sector invests heavily in comprehensive fixed networks, so every
mobile base station can plug into the internet. Telstra already has
high-capacity ethernet cables running to 93 per cent of its mobile
base stations, its chief executive, David Thodey, said at a press
conference announcing the company's new 4G network.
''We see both fibre to the home and high-speed wireless being
complementary. Giving people the option and running a truly
homogenous core network is critically important,'' he says.
The author travelled to Barcelona as a guest of Ericsson.
Roger Clarke http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au http://www.xamax.com.au/
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science Australian National University
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