Revolutionary ideas: Brooks and Bradlow

Revolutionary ideas: Brooks and Bradlow

Summary: This week and next on Twisted Wire a variety of telecommunications experts give their views on how the industry will evolve. What changes will happen and how will telecommunications change the way we live?

TOPICS: Broadband, NBN

This week and next on Twisted Wire a variety of telecommunications experts give their views on how the industry will evolve. What changes will happen and how will telecommunications change the way we live?

First off, I speak to Paul Brooks, founder of Layer 10 and the Communications Alliance's lead on the National Broadband Network project. He says big changes will happen in the home. Ethernet over power-line technology will make networking in the home easier because there's no need to run new cables through the house. It negates Malcolm Turnbull's argument that the NBN will require massive rewiring in the home. There's also security benefits and it avoids any fears you might have about what the electromagnetic radiation from your Wi-Fi network is doing to your brain.

Brooks says this technology will revolutionise the home, which will have multiple networks including some that you might not even know about it.

Hugh Bradlow, CTO at Telstra, says the cyber world is increasingly impinging on the physical world, but we continue to plan physical infrastructure without taking into account technology disruptions. He gives the example of how we plan for bigger roads to hold more traffic, and yet wireless data solutions enable us to use the roads we have far more efficiently. Who knows, in the future we might not even drive cars — we might just jump in a self-drive car that can take us where we want to go. I wonder if we can get them in time for the next round of Christmas parties!

Running time: 27 minutes

Topics: Broadband, NBN


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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  • Ethernet over powerline (EoPL) is just one of a raft of technologies able to implement home networking.
  • I have no idea what he was going on about wireless being easily crackable, the latest encryption (WPA2 PSK) which is the 'default' wireless encryption (and has been used for the past 5 years at least) is used basically on every wireless router bought nowadays and cannot be cracked in any sane amount of time.

    To crack a WPA2 network using any password that is not trivial, requires a ridiculous amount of time (especially if someone is trying to do it on a laptop). In many cases it can takes years to crack the shared key, and thats not even on laptops. Hell check this on your site

    Furthermore, (currently) power over ethernet has real speeds of up to 60mbits, typically 20mbits, in which case you are probably better off using wireless router. Its far more likely (and that is what is happening currently) is that devices being released have wireless/ethernet ports and not this Ethernet over power (for through the power cord). For more info read here

    Ethernet over power also has a nasty habit, of well, taking up your power points, which easily becomes problematic (I can't really use Ethernet power in my house due to this). Ethernet over power also may not work in every house, and has been a nightmare to standardize globally
  • On security, my next door neighbour has an unsecure connection. A lot of people just don't set it up.

    On powerpoints, Paul does make the point that devices might start to have network connectivity built in and delivered over the same plug you use for power - hence his discussions about a myriad of networks by stealth. That was the main point - worth a listen.
  • @deteego - The current generation of EoPL ("Homeplug AV") has a ceiling of 200Mbps, and gets real-world speeds of around 60 - 80 Mbps depending on how long the run is through the mains wiring. The next generation of devices coming down the line based on G.HN have actual line-speeds around 800 Mbps, possibly more on mains wiring, and will probably achieve throughput of 200Mbps+.
    As for taking over the power points - some models now have passthrough sockets that keep the socket usable for another appliance - see for a UK example and also
    ...and in the absence of a passthrough port, replacing single powerpoint plates with doubles or quads, or a powerboard provided it does not have any built in surge filter that will block the EoPL signal, might help
  • I know, but what I am saying is that TODAY and for the past 4 or so years, wireless routers by default create a secure connection, especially if you by one from the ISP (and some configure automatically like BoB).

    Furthermore, his point about wireless being cracked in a few hours by some guy parked down the road with a laptop is just plain not correct. Even WEP encryption takes time to crack (albeit a lot less then WPA2-PSK). Obviously if the wireless network is not encrypted, thats a different story, but he is trying to insinuate that wireless ins't really secure and is crackable, which just is not the case

    In regards to the ethernet through powerpoints, I mentioned earlier that it is being looked into but its a disaster to standardize. Ethernet over power as it stands, uses a form of encryption where only only the (other) ethernet over power devices from the same company work with the LAN network you are creating through your power phase.
  • Replacing powerpoint plates with doubles or quads requires an electrician, I thought the whole point behind Ethernet over Power was to avoid this

    In regards to the pass-through sockets, they are massive. The reason why I said (I) cannot use them is because they take up way too much room. There also could be safety issues overcongesting single powerpoints with so many devices
  • phildobbie,
    In my experience I have had the opposite of what you describe about the encryption in the devices only working with devices from the same company. I have used devices from at least three different vendors on the same network and they all talk to each other. In fact their management utilities recognise the other devices without issue. The main reason?? Open them up and they all use the same third party chipset. I have even had networks running with devices from different vendors that are also three generations of technology different and they still talk (obviously the older lower speed devices still only talk at their lower speeds)
    In addition, even though you aren't supposed to use these with power boards with surge supressors or filters built in, I have successfully used them with both types of powerboards in the past. (I'm not saying they will work with all powerboards or in all circumstances)
    Having said all this, if you can run proper copper (or fibre) network cables, that is going to give the best performance. Power line networking is a good solution where it is cost prohibitive or impractical to run proper network cables and tends to be somewhat more reliable than wireless solutions.
    Be aware that all of the powerline network technologies come with their own interference issues, and it is not just interference to your network signal from external sources, but also the problem of the powerline network signals interfering with other RF devices, particularly in the low frequency AM radio, HF, and lower frequency VHF bands. You won't be the favourite friend of a HAM radio operator if you install these next door to their place.