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Thursday, 25 August 2011 11:32

Cold day in hell for NBN challenger


It will be a 'cold day in hell' before wireless networks will eclipse the capability of fixed networks according to the chief technology officer of Telstra, Dr Hugh Bradlow - setting him on a collision course with NBN naysayers and DIDO hopefuls.

Speaking at Security 2011 in Sydney this week Dr Bradlow was responding to a question from the audience after his presentation about security and cloud computing. He said that to support a modern digital economy counties needed both fixed fast broadband supplemented by wireless networks.

NBN agnostics, who believe wireless technologies, including the proposed DIDO system could provide similar service to a fixed network were just wrong. 'NBN, if done well, will serve our grandchildren well,' he added.

Acknowledging that people probably didn't need NBN speeds currently, they would in five to ten years, as the NBN rolls out according to Dr Bradlow. 'By the middle of the decade 90 percent of consumer traffic on the internet will be video,' he said.

That coupled with the expanding screen size of end user devices and rising demand for increasingly sophisticated cloud based services would place enormous bandwidth burdens on communications networks. Although he acknowledged a Morgan Stanley report which suggested that by 2014 more people would access the internet from mobile than from fixed devices, Dr Bradlow said the capacity of the network was the current limiting factor in terms of how they were used.

Telstra has recently begun the roll out its LTE (Long Term Evolution) wireless network which offers speeds of up to 100 Mbps in theory. A roadmap shared by Dr Bradlow pointed to the next generation of LTE later this decade which promised top speeds of 1 Gbps,  but he stressed that mobile networks should always be viewed as complementary rather than alternatives to fixed networks.

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