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27 July
Comments Off on Samsung’s 5G will complement NBN, not replace it

Samsung’s 5G will complement NBN, not replace it

Super-fast wireless will never make fibre obsolete.
Nanjing Night Net

Samsung has reportedly “witnessed” one-gigabit-per-second wireless download speeds over a distance of two kilometres in its 5G trials. In theory such speeds would let you download an entire movie in seconds, on par with the gigabit speeds which the NBN will eventually deliver. So it’s time to scrap Australia’s national broadband network and just go wireless, right? Wrong.

Samsung’s so-called 5G wireless technology is still in the test phase and is at least seven years away from commercial deployment. Even if you could roll out this technology today, you’re not going to get gigabit speeds in real world conditions. The laws of physics dictate that wireless bandwidth is a shared resource and congestion is the enemy. The more people using a wireless network at once, the slower their download speeds and upload speeds. Not to mention the fact that wireless technologies are prone to interference and black spots, unlike a strand of fibre running to your door.

Whether you’re an advocate of Labor’s fibre to the home NBN plan or the Coalition’s fibre to the node alternative, you have to face the fact that a wireless-only solution for all of Australia is impractical. Sorry, but the laws of physics transcend politics and are not open to ideological debate. The only way you’re going to achieve gigabit download speeds from Samsung’s 5G network is if you’re the only person using that wireless tower – which is very unlikely to happen in the city unless you’re the sole survivor of the zombie apocalypse.

To see wireless congestion at work, you only need to look at the demise of Australia’s crowded 3G networks – which crawl to a halt in the CBD during peak times. The move to 4G LTE may have offered a reprieve, but congestion will again take its toll as more Australians upgrade to 4G devices.

Scrapping the NBN and trying to replace it solely with citywide mobile broadband would be a recipe for disaster. To get decent speeds you’d need a wireless tower on every street corner and fibre backbone to link them anyway. The role of wireless networks is to complement the NBN and cater to mobile users, not to take the place of fixed-line connections and shoulder a city’s entire broadband load. Even if you’re only using Wi-Fi enabled gadgets at home or in the office, that Wi-Fi network is probably relying on a fixed-line broadband connection.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

 
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