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Gigabit street networking


I was discussing the transfer of large video files with Dan earlier, and how limiting it is that the bandwidth between residential houses is so narrow. This is largely due to the technology used on the phone network at the BT exchanges, yet surely it doesn't have to be like this?

In a world of increasing demands for faster, more reliable and cheaper broadband connections, surely the solution lies in converting phone networks to IP networks, where houses are connected with an IP address rather than a dial tone. We could still hook up our phones via the Voice Over IP technology, but means that the devices in those green BT boxes on our streets will be filled with switches and hubs to connect houses together. In an ideal world, fibre optic would replace existing copper, yet I can see the huge expense involved. Regardless of that, the copper that runs to each of our houses is capable of gigabit networking. So why don't we utilise the existing copper in exchange for faster connections?

Perhaps cost and demand has something to do with this. The average home owner would barely understand gigabit networking, let alone VOIP or even be aware of its significance. However, the take up of broadband in residential houses is enormous, that I wonder how soon more consumers will be demanding more speed. Watching TV and downloading films over the Internet will further increase demand for faster connections.

Am I missing something?

Somehow, I think the chances of someone creating lots of wireless networks by placing Wi-Fi boxes on top of telegraph poles or street lighting might come sooner than BT upgrading its network infrastructure.

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