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Gigabit Copper, Gigabit Wireless – why the rush to fibre?

It seems the race is on to offer NBN speeds over alternate network technologies. Samsung reckons 5G can break the gigabit barrier and, as we hear, Huawei’s G.Fast prototype could be delivering a similar speed over our legacy copper networks.

On this week’s podcast Peter Rossi, Huawei’s Australian CTO, explains how significantly faster speeds can be achieved by shortening the copper run to a 100 metres or so – just enough to avoid the need to dig up the front lawn.

But Geof Heydon, Business Development Manager at CSIRO’s Digital Productivity and Services Flagship, isn’t convinced. He says, by the time you have found the point to intercept the copper you might as well have built fibre all the way.

Then there’s wireless. We look at whether 4G and 5G could become last mile solutions, at least in the short term. After all, we turn our fixed traffic into a mobile signal when it hits our WiFi router – why not run that mobile signal from the street?

Network architect Paul Brooks, founder of Layer 10 Advisory, reckons that, even though faster alternate technologies are emerging, fibre is still the end game. He says the problem with interim solutions is that they often become permanent.

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