Feature Article

April 04, 2016

FastMile Delivers End-to-End Wireless Broadband to Hard to Reach Places

When developers in Silicon Valley chart out our cloud-centered future, they often fail to recognize that not everywhere is as well-connected as the Valley. One reason that cloud services have taken off more slowly in India than in the U.S., for instance, is because reliable broadband is not nearly as ubiquitous as it is in major metropolitan cities in the U.S. Try using a cloud app for mission-critical business operations when the connection is poor, and you’ll quickly throw up your hands in disgust.

Indeed, a recent report from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) found that 20 percent of households in developed countries and as much as 66 percent of households in developing countries do not have internet access; there are more than 4 billion people in developing countries that have no access at all, never mind the broadband needed for things like the Adobe Creative Cloud or Salesforce.

Operators have been working on the problem, of course, and technologies such as VDSL2 and G.fast has extended existing copper wiring for broadband performance. This can help in certain cases, but still leaves a lot of people stranded without broadband.

Also tackling this problem has been 4G LTE, the great hope for bridging the digital divide through fast mobile connectivity that bypasses the need for much of the physical broadband infrastructure that is wanting.

Yet 4G LTE is not a panacea either; a household located more than 2 km away from an LTE radio station transmitting at 2.6 MHz has insufficient signal for broadband speeds. Adding to the trouble with 4G LTE, mobile LTE throughput in most cases cannot guarantee a minimal bit rate for operators looking to offer triple or quadruple play services.

An intriguing recent entrant in this battle for bringing broadband to the masses, however, comes by way of Nokia Networks. It recently has released its FastMile solution, an end-to-end approach for last mile broadband that ensures high data rates and a guaranteed minimum throughput while also providing higher capacity by utilizing advanced antenna topology and interference mitigation technologies.

The Nokia solution includes a residential outdoor modem with a self-tuning high gain antenna that provides up to 3.5 times the typical radius increase compared to standard mobile broadband network; a residential indoor router with Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac+ Gigabyte Ethernet for end-user broadband connectivity; a specific fixed mobile RAN antenna topology combined with advanced interference mitigation by Nokia’s smart scheduler delivers, which delivers 2.5 times the throughput of comparable mobile networks; a smartphone application that makes for easy deployment; and a cloud-based controller that runs on Nokia AirFrame to monitor the network and ensure minimum guaranteed throughput for all users.

The Nokia solution is a promising attempt at bringing broadband speeds to rural and remote areas where broadband is not typically possible. This is good for operators and even better for consumers who are otherwise missing out on the latest civilization-changing innovations coming out of the Valley.

Edited by Peter Bernstein

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