Sunday, October 12, 2008

"One Size Does Not Fit All"

Prior to the Parkland Rural Broadband study, I incorrectly assumed that the broadband requirements for all the county's residents, businesses, and industrial parks were the same: "Provide Basic Connectivity".

A rural broadband network that is designed solely on today’s requirements may not address those of the future. Network design is ongoing process because requirements change, expectations of subscriber’s change, and new needs have to be addressed by the applications, and these in turn affect how all the various network elements tie up together, which means there is a change in the network infrastructure.

The 802.11 (WiFi) wireless access networks currently being implemented in Alberta's rural communities are designed to provide limited connectivity. The network will eventually become "Capacity Limited" where it will no longer be able support the application requirements of the subscribers.
At this time, the wireless provider will have three choices: Implement more towers/access points, implement traffic aggregation limiting the bandwidth for each subscriber, or upgrade to an alternative technology. These alternatives may not be economically feasible, forcing the sale or shutting down of their network.

In addition, there are different areas or markets within a county such as:
  • Residential Areas
  • Businesses Areas
  • Industrial Parks

Each of these markets has different broadband requirements today and in the future. Alternative technologies such as copper and fiber based network architectures should be reviewed and considered prior to determing that a single wireless architecture will support these specific and unique requirements.

It is important that access providers should be ensuring that their network will scale to meet the needs of the future in terms of load and applications for all markets within a county or muncipality.

1 comment:

Ken Chapman said...

HI Allan - thx for setting up this Blog. I have been working with the Internet Centre on a Part VII CRTC Application to get access for ISPs to the Telus' copper wire system as part of the solution to the last mile connectivty to the Supernet.

We expect a decision by Christmas. Here is a lik to a blog post I did on this last August