CeBIT 2010: CSIRO serves up NBN alternative to WiMax and LTE

CeBIT 2010: CSIRO serves up NBN alternative to WiMax and LTE

The CSIRO has developed a new wireless broadband technology that will be trialled in rural Tasmania in September.

The CSIRO has developed new wireless broadband technology that it claims will render WiMax and LTE technologies obsolete.

There's been a great deal of progress made in delivering Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) to 90 per cent of Australian citizens and buildings that are within economically-viable reach. However, the status of wireless delivery of fast broadband to the remaining 10 per cent has been in limbo.

CSIRO director ICT centre, Dr Ian Opperman, claimed both WiMax and LTE technologies were flawed solutions, and would be unwieldy to introduce on account of the sheer weight of infrastructure that would need to be built.

In response, the organisation has developed a technology that Opperman claims is able to deliver the minimum 12Mbps required for the National Broadband Network (NBN), while utilising existing broadcast infrastructure.

The CSIRO solution refocuses an existing analogue television signal to provide wireless broadband services.

The CSIRO will trial the solution in rural Tasmania in September. Opperman said the organisation was keeping the process quiet. Although it is confident it will be successful there are no guarantees at this stage.

"It has performed to standard in laboratory tests, but we want to prove to ourselves that it works first," he said.

"We saw it as our mandate to supply that last 10 per cent [through wireless technology], and we wanted to present a solution that didn't require us to build additional towers.”

The reuse of existing infrastructure would also minimise the potential for a skills shortage affecting a future rollout, Opperman claimed.

At this stage, there's still a number of issues that may inhibit a rollout should the trials prove successful, Opperman said.

The technology will need to be commercialised before it can be rolled out, and at this stage it's not known what will be done with the analogue broadcast channels once the transmission is switched off. The CSIRO's technology requires the use of one channel for minimum 12Mbps broadband speeds.

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