Solving the problem of getting broadband to the sparse population of the Australian outback could help advance wireless communications everywhere. It’s impossible to justify the cost of fiber infrastructure to serve a small number of subscribers over a very long haul. Microwave has always been a viable solution, but it has had bandwidth limitations that increase exponentially over distance, making it more appropriatate for 3G cell towers than for modern broadband service.
Australian researchers claim that they have advanced microwave technology to provide 10GBPS over of distances of 30 miles.
CSIRO has begun talks with global manufacturers to commercialise microwave technology it says can provide at least 10 Gbps symmetric backhaul services to mobile towers.
The project, funded out of the Science and Industry Endowment Fund and a year in planning, could provide a ten-fold increase in the speed of point-to-point microwave transmission systems within two years, according to project manager, Dr Jay Guo. (IT News)
If this technology proves to be commercially viable, it could extend the reach of wireless broadband and improve mobile service everywhere by providing cheap, high bandwidth backhaul.
There are still a number of performance issues that will continue to keep microwave in the role of second choice to fixed line backhaul. Most significant are very long latency and and interference from weather. Current understanding of the laws of physics dictates that these limitations can’t be overcome. Perhaps we’ll see these laws revised with future developments.