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Tower per street for Lib wireless: expert

Network engineering consultant Narelle Clark has said that the Coalition's broadband policy will require a wireless base tower at the end of every street in order to deliver high-speed access.
Written by Luke Hopewell, Contributor on

Network engineering consultant Narelle Clark has said that the Coalition's broadband policy will require a wireless base tower at the end of every street in order to deliver high-speed access.

Clark said in this week's edition of ZDNet Australia's Patch Monday that the implementation of wireless will limit the deliverable communications bandwidth from the outset.

"The thing with fibre is that because it's a contained medium you don't have the same interference problems. You in your communications can use 100 per cent of the available electromagnetic spectrum along that cable. In wireless, you have to do a spectrum plan where you carve up part of that spectrum and only broadcast on the bits you're allowed to broadcast on. In that way, you're automatically starting with a much smaller slice of communications bandwidth," she told Stilgherrian in the podcast.

Users share the bandwidth with everyone connected to their cell tower, which means in order to provide a whole neighbourhood with fast broadband via limited spectrum many towers need to be built, she said.

"At one stage a while back, I did do an estimate of how you would be able to get fixed equivalent services in a wireless system, and in order to get those sorts of speeds and beyond, you'd need to be installing a base station around about on every suburban block. Not every household block, but every suburban block: at the end of every street, there would need to be a base station," Clark said.

It was possible to design towers so that they look fairly innocuous, according to Clark, who believed that they could blend in if there was one at the end of every suburban block.

Clark is the current vice president of the Internet Society of Australia and was previously the research director for the CSIRO's Networking Technologies Laboratory.

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