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Gartner: NBN will be an 802.11n enabler

Gartner: NBN will be an 802.11n enabler

Analyst claims the NBN will help the take up of WLANs in enterprises while also offering service opportunities such as hotspots

The proposed $43 billion national broadband network (NBN) will drive the uptake of 802.11n based wireless networks, according to analyst firm, Gartner.

A little over 12 months ago, Gartner was advising companies to not widely deploy wireless-LANs (WLANs) in their premises. But with the take up of 802.11n and the promise of the fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) NBN to act as cheap backhaul the analyst firm has, in the past nine months, changed tack.

“Any business that wants to save money on its cellular data costs should be installing WLAN in any of their fixed geography so that their employees can roam on the WLAN when they are near the office and save the cellular calls. For all of this you need backhaul and you need fast access points and you need devices with it built in – all this is coming together now,” Gartner research director, Robin Simpson, told ARN.

“It’s effectively toll bypass without having to do anything fancy.”

The take up of products based on the draft 802.11n standard in the consumer space showed it was sufficiently secure and capable for the majority of business tasks, Simpson claimed. As a result, the analyst predicted the slow adoption of WLANs in Australian businesses would turn around, especially as they would no longer need to pay for expensive backhaul once the NBN is rolled out.

Simpson also joined a growing throng of ICT industry figures pointing to the broad array of opportunities the NBN could offer. In early June, NICTA laboratory director, Dr Terry Percival, pointed out the NBN is all about the applications, not just the fibre, which tends to dominate the discourse.

Similarly, Alcatel-Lucent Asia-Pacific futurologist, Geof Heydon, recently told ARN many discussions around the NBN – such as those on whether to have fibre running overhead or underground, if wireless was a competitor, and the predicted cost of an Internet broadband plan – were dangerously misleading. In short, he said decision makers must get out of the mindset the NBN is about super-fast Internet access for consumers.

[Read a yARN on this author’s view as to why Shadow Communications Minister, Nick Minchin, needs to heed Heydon’s advice – go to yARN: You’ve got to be joking, Mr Minchin]

In addition to WLAN in enterprises, Simpson claimed the NBN is “a tremendous enabler for further growth in the WLAN hotspot market.

“Wi-Fi hotspots never really happened in Australia and its because the business models never really worked for anybody. It was expensive to set them up, nobody wanted to pay for them and you had to buy your backhaul from somebody like Telstra where it cost you an arm and a leg,” he said. “If we have NBN available pretty much anywhere, all of a sudden a small business or a service business that has people coming in can contemplate putting a hotspot in to attract customers and it won’t cost them a hell of a lot of money because they’ll be able to get fast backhaul cheaply. In the past people would put a DSL line on a hotspot and all they would do is upset everybody that wanted to use it because it was so bloody slow.”

*To contact the journalist about this story please email Trevor Clarke.

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Tags Gartneralcatel-lucentnictaNational Broadband Network (NBN)

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