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Impossible: At first glance, the project seemed impossible

At first glance, the project seemed impossible. Here we were, in the middle of the desert, 500 miles from the nearest royal city, and we needed to install a telecommunications network on campus that would cover an area of ​​approximately 150 square kilometers. The goal was to make campus communications work at the same level as a city-based industrial campus. Memories of military leadership exercises came to mind, where with a limited number of tools he was faced with the expectation that with a little tenacity and creativity under the right conditions, his team could make seashells go radio HF.

We go back to basic telecommunications engineering. Your task is to take a budget, existing or emerging technology, a relatively clear set of goals, and then design a flexible solution that fully meets and exceeds everyone’s expectations. Of course, this must be done ahead of schedule and under budget. Simple truth?

So, in the middle of the desert, we incorporated new technologies such as wireless bridges to connect major campus locations, VoIP to take advantage of lower startup and operating costs for internal and external communications, a VSAT link to the home office, and then the gateways. for network connectivity and voice transit / termination. Using a numbering plan provided by the upstream VoIP provider, and you’re done! It is now an extension of the office PBX located 3,000 miles away in the comfort of your company’s home office.

Only the landlines on stage are LAN connections within campus buildings, and that is only really useful for connecting file servers to the LAN / WLAN or VoIP phones to the LAN. This is for those seniors who are still mentally connected to a desk phone, not for those of us who use a wireless PDA with a softphone or WiFi phone.

Surprise: in 2002 we built a model very similar to this for a mining company in the middle of the Gobi desert. Details on request.

Shift to Seoul, South Korea. Walking down the street you see many phone booths. The funny thing is that there are no cables connecting to the phone booths and you see a small antenna sticking out of the top of the booth. The explanation is wireless DSL. Cold.

Change to New Orleans, Morris Point (Minnesota) or Long Beach. New developments coming in, old developments demolished as part of post-storm rebuilding. Everyone needs a high-performance communications infrastructure, whether it’s for basic entertainment or for network communications. Let’s take a look at the existing Telecom Toolkit for Assets. Verizon Broadband Wireless, SBC broadband, DirecTV, or a startup using a Gobi Desert-style wireless campus hub. All could provide equal or better service than services that were previously on top of copper infrastructure, or for areas that are simply “Greenfield” sites without an existing cable plant or telephone infrastructure. Surprise, all are available in our recreation area.

You could say “well, you know that wireless and cable have low capacity; they are not suitable for the high traffic links needed to run a business or entertainment. Hmm … Looking at marketing materials for companies like Gigabeam (www.gigabeam .com) looks like we can now throw up to about 10Gbps over the air, which is a pretty healthy bridge. It can throw 10Gbps up to a mile, 1Gbps a couple of miles, and other capacities up to 512Mbps up to about 30 miles of line. Probably enough to meet the needs of Morris Point, Minnesota Probably enough to meet the needs of the Long Beach, California neighborhood as well.

Well, the ability argument is history. In reality, wireless technology can provide much higher “line” capacity than the existing copper cable plant, and is vastly less expensive. Next argument …

Hmm … are the arguments for replacing existing “terrestrial” communication models with wireless starting to lacking? Don’t be lonely. The only outdoor cable plant model being installed is fiber intended for telephone companies to increase line capacity to homes in an effort to compete with cable television companies. Not only will Verizon’s FIOS bring Internet access> 50 Mbps into the home, it will also handle entertainment channels quite well. Far from the old telephone services (POTS). Therefore, Verizon’s intention is not to offer high-performance POTS, it is to offer telephone, CATV, and high-speed Internet. Also great.

As a competitive telecommunications and entertainment project, we expect more creative and useful ideas from all telecommunications companies. Personally, I don’t care if my entertainment comes from Comcast, DirecTV, SBC, Verizon, or Time Warner; I just want the most advanced entertainment and communications available. I don’t care if it’s over fiber, copper, or over the air. I just want 450 TV channels, the Internet that provides whatever content you want without delay, and an effective way to communicate with any phone or presence device anywhere in the world.

However, I live in a technically very advanced part of the United States, have not suffered a catastrophic natural disaster, and am not at the mercy of a single telecommunications provider.

Back to the Gulf Coast and Morris Point. You need to provide high-performance communications to all addressable homes and businesses in the area. You have to do it fast. You must do so on a reasonable budget. Do you buy telephone switches, copper, and dig in the streets for conduits and manholes, or install telephone poles every 100 feet? Or do you take advantage of high-performance wireless technologies that are only restricted by the end user who has electricity and the potential of a line of sight to a wireless transmitter?

Let’s not waste time on the E911 problems, they are already solved. Almost 0% of households in the US do not have at least one mobile phone, with GPS, that is available at any time in the event of an emergency. Regardless of whether the mobile phone is using packets or CDMA, the GPS device still locates it within about 1 meter. Additionally, and particularly with wireless technology, batteries are an inherent part of the end-user device, or a UPS can easily be installed if the services of the E911 are truly essential for those in the field. A backhoe, a car accident (hitting a pole), or any of a thousand other variables can work to bring down a POTS line as easily as a wireless connection.

Let’s not waste time on “business toll quality” issues. Those are resolved. At some point, check the setup time of your long distance or international call in Skype compared to a toll call. Let’s not waste time on anything other than the provision of telecommunications and entertainment services to end users, wherever they are.

Recovery time from a natural or man-made disaster is now based on restoring an antenna, splicing a cable that feeds an antenna, and aligning the antennas. Your WiFi internet connection that powers a WiFi laptop or phone does not need cable or line of sight alignment, so once the antenna is reset, you are online. This is calculated in days, rather than months. Remember the stories that followed Katrina of young people driving pickup trucks to the gulf, installing a portable generator, connecting a wireless bridge to a “friendly” ISP, and then providing email and VoIP access to isolated neighborhoods around the world? If a 19-year-old high school graduate with a portable generator can install global communications within hours of a natural disaster, shouldn’t we at least consider this disaster response model, if not a permanent solution?

The greats do not like this discussion. It is difficult to give up a monopoly. It is difficult to accept the possibility that in 5 years a phone number will only be a reference of convenience as the world turns to presence indicators. It is difficult to accept that the automobile replaced the horses and the carriage, or that the airplane replaced the trains and cruises for long-distance travel. But it happened, and we are all better for the change.

As a society, we must prepare for the next quantum shift in technology-enabled communications and entertainment. As a company, we must keep a close eye on the pioneers and be prepared to move forward, whether through R&D or M&A.

For Morris Point and the Gulf Coast? Sure, feel free to drop fiber on the long haul side of the network (assuming your fiber isn’t in place yet, that could be a jaw-dropping revelation). Let’s forget this last mile copper infrastructure nonsense. Let’s aggressively exploit existing and emerging wireless technologies and meet the needs of the community and businesses. Actually.

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