What Speed Will We Get From the NBN?

I have just been reading an article on the capacity of the data cables going from Sydney through to Guam, and then on to the US. Currently it stands at 4Gb/s but with the new cable from Pipe Networks that should increase over time to 6Gb/s.

Trouble is that doesn’t stand up with a 100Mb/s NBN. When you look at the figures: –

The totally capacity coming into Australia when this is up to capacity will be 6Tb/s. The NBN will provide data connections at 100Mb/s or 0.1Gb/s. That means that just 60,000 connections at a full 100Mb/s, or assuming that maybe 20% of households are on the net at the same time connecting to the US (20% of 8.5M households is 1.7M connections) gives just 3.5Mb/s per connection.

Okay I know that there will be local caching, but this is going to need to be huge in order for us to see more than a connection at roughly the same speed as ADSL.

NBN Network and Wireless Broadband Continued

After another post pushing the virtues of a wireless system rather than a wired NBN, I have the following comments which I made on an article in iTWire.

– The wireless system is capable of reasonably high speed, but there is a latency issue which means anything where packet priority (read Skype/VOIP) is an issue, wireless will be a problem. Not surprising then that Telstra is pushing it as it will mean they keep their expensive phone line rentals.
– ADSL2+ is great if you live 10m from the exchange. Go onto whirlpool and you can see all the people that upgraded to 2+ and got no change in speed over standard ADSL. This is because speed drops off quickly the further you are from the exchange.
– FttN is really expensive to implement and speeds they are looking at seems to be no higher than you can get anyway. In 5 years time they will seem pathetic (as our speeds do now to much of the world)
– BPL (Broadband over power line) could have potential in the bush, and is currently being rolled out in the US for remote locations

In short there is no clear answer. The best solution would be a combination of the above. Maybe no fibre nodes within 1km of an exchange where ADSL2+ would be better, fibre nodes in the city and BPL in the country. One thing that seems clear though is that wireless is a supplementary connection and shouldn’t be regarded as your main connection unless we want to cripple our VOIP service and keep Telstra shareholders happy for the next 10 years!

Australian NBN Network – FttN?

IBM has recently announced that they are going to put in a broadband over powerline (BPL) system to

“targeted primarily at rural areas in the US where the sparse population has prevented other ISPs from laying down lines for cable and DSL services”

In Australia on the other hand we seem locked in to providing a fibre to the node (FttN) system to 98% of the population, which will include a large area which is remote and difficult/expensive to lay fibre to.

It seems to me that a BPL system would suit the Australian environment even better than the US. It would be fine to lay fibre in the major cities, but to keep the costs down, it doesn’t make sense to do the same in country areas. In the same breath, country areas should have equal access to broadband as the city. This technology seems the perfect fit.

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