Gigabit Networks – Do we have a clue?

May 7, 2007 at 6:05 pm | Posted in Discussion Leader | 2 Comments

Discussion PPT

While I found little in academic annals to present in class, I thought the study below which I found more than a year ago would be worthwile for consideration in the context of the IEEE Journal reading on Gigabit networks.

Although it is dated, all of the policy analysis and recommendations remain fresh in this debate.  The executive summary begins by noting that the U.S. is behind other G-7 countries in its commitment to broadband.

Reviving the FORGOTTEN Information Superhighway 

In addition, looking to what I know in the telecom industry based on the work Verizon is doing, I also found a couple of articles from industry publications talking about the possibilities for gigabit networks.  As noted in the recent Telephony article, Verizon is bringing a gigabit network into play for those in its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) build across the country.

The salient point of this article is the fact that video – more specifically, HDTV – is driving innovation and deployment of Gigabit networks.

A second article covers the current ‘battle’ between different types of gigabit networks for dominance in the marketplace based on their technological underpinnings and efficiencies.  The Battle of the PONs (Passive Optical Networks) covers the challenges facing the rush to bandwidth by telcos, cable companies and others attempting to get fiber-to-the-home or otherwise maximize bandwidth for consumer use.

Summarizing the relative capabilities of three different methods of getting fat bandwidth pipes to the home, there still doesn’t seem to be a solid case for recommending the symmetrical ideal proposed in this evening’s reading, nor is it certain that point-to-point (P2P) networks are an ideal solution.  What is clear from the current developments in technology is that GPON is the architecture that is getting the most traction in FTTH – as evidenced by Verizon’s recent announcement to deploy it.

Please note that the broadband ‘gap’ between the U.S. and many European and developed Asian countries is real as noted in this blog by Jeff Pulver.  Given that the U.S. has 3 million+  square miles, this is a different kind of challenge than Singapore or Sweden face, but it’s obviously doable once the policy direction and financial resources are there for a build and/or technologies like WiMax are able to offer gigabit bandwidth in the future to rural areas.

Finally, if you have further interest, here’s an organization that wants to push the public policy agenda – Speed Matters.

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