Where Wireless Makes Sense
In recent times there has been much focus on wireless technologies as a viable alternative to fixed telecommunications infrastructure including the National Broadband Network. IBES was commissioned to investigate the capabilities, advantages and disadvantages of fixed wireless broadband technologies producing a report that describes, in simple terms, how wireless networks operate and examines where it is and is not appropriate, from a technical perspective, to roll out wireless broadband networks as a substitute for fixed cabled networks.
The findings of the research found that fixed wireless networks are a good substitute for fixed cabled networks in rural areas where there are few broadband users. Rural broadband users can use wireless technologies to download large volumes of data and experience a good level of performance without overloading the network as the number of users is small.
However, fixed wireless networks are not a good substitute for fixed networks in suburban and inner urban areas where future capacity demands for broadband can overload networks. To overcome this many more base stations are needed for example to deliver a service with an average download volume of 200 GB per month a base station spacing as low as 200 meters in suburban areas and 150 metres in inner urban areas is required.
The reason for this is that fixed wireless networks in suburban and inner urban areas are limited by interference as the spacing between base stations decreases. The achievable speed by any one user will depend on several factors, especially their location.
To overcome this, a fixed wireless network that meets future user broadband demands needs more spectrum than is currently available. Wireless networks use the radio spectrum, a scarce resource that must be shared between a number of uses and users, limiting overall capacity. While it is technically possible to achieve high speeds on wireless networks when only a single user accesses the network, the reality is that many people access a wireless network simultaneously resulting in slow speeds and low volumes of data downloads.
|Rod Tucker, Rob Ayre, Jeff Chong, David Fateas, Kerry Hinton||Electrical & Electronic Engineering|
|Kate Cornick, Brad Gathercole, Adam Lodders||Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society|
R Ayre, J Cheong, K Cornick, B Gathercole, K Hinton, A Lodders, R Tucker 'Where wireless broadband makes sense' Telecommunications Journal of Australia 62(1) 11.1-11.16 2012.