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Arqiva and Alcatel-Lucent test LTE in Wales
Wednesday 08 December 2010 18:13:17 by John Hunt

LTE tests in Wales are under-way which could offer a solution to improve broadband access to rural areas. The trials conducted by Arqiva and Alcatel-Lucent have set up the next-generation mobile network to show what the technology can achieve in the Preseli Mountains in west Wales. They are using the 800MHz spectrum that has already been freed up by the switch off of analogue TV in the region to transmit the signal over 6 kms and they say can offer speeds of up to 50Mbps.

The simulation is using an antenna fixed to a vehicle which passes the signal to a WiFi router. In a live-network deployment, a fixed antenna could be attached to the roof of a house to provide the link to the network.

"We are able to demonstrate fixed broadband in current not spot locations; highlighting the coverage and capacity that wireless can rapidly deliver in rural areas.

Very shortly LTE devices will be available that take a 4G signal in and emit Wi-Fi in a single form factor like the 3G MiFi devices you see today.

Jonathan Freeman, (Head of strategic development, Arqiva

Whilst the ability to fill in broadband not-spots quickly and cheaply is a useful tool for increasing broadband coverage, some people may be sceptical about how this will scale to allow access to many homes. Mobile networks are contended so that the 50Meg they say is possible will be shared amongst many users, slowing down access for everyone.

An interesting side of the test being run by Arqiva is that it is network-neutral meaning that effectively they can offer wholesale access to all mobile providers, including potentially more traditional fixed-broadband ISPs or new entrants. This would certainly be useful for providing an 'open infrastructure', however it does mean that in this case, with less physical operators, the network would be shared between more users.

The government however announced on Monday that a 'digital hub' (in the form of a fibre connection) would be deployed to every community in the UK which would allow communities to get access to faster broadband through a variety of local access technologies. LTE may not be the best way to make use of this fibre connection.

Comments

Posted by SheepFarmer over 6 years ago
It all should be better than dialup, but 50Mbps shared in an area of 100 sq km won't give great speeds during peak periods.

My experience of wireless networking tells me that two people using a 50mbps connection don't get 25mbps each, particularly if the two client antennas can't 'see' each other.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
"open infrastructure" usually results in few retail users due to absence of retail providers. See previous projects ad nauseam.

http://www.broadbanduk.org/component/option,com_docman/task,doc_download/gid,1246/Itemid,63/ is worth a read about wireless economics / technologies.
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
Why on earth is a pilot needed to test 50Mbps when in Sweden 80Mbps service is already live?
Posted by mervl over 6 years ago
That reference is an interesting read, as it seems to ignore local fixed wi-fi operations sucessfully & significantly exceeding local ADSL speeds (around 10-40Mbps symmetrical), where lines aren't good; and V-fast Wimax in Kent. It looks like the usual suspects promoting their commercial interests which is worrying if this is the sort of thing that dominates government policy, especially with their current deterioration in existing 3G services due to the demands of smartphones.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
it is probably a pilot because the spectrum has yet to be allocated (or auctioned).

Also it may be a commercial trial of new Alcatel-Lucent kit.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Learn to read, the product ia 50Mbps, not capacity.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
*@SheepFarmer.

*is.
Posted by ElBobbo over 6 years ago
The article certainly says that the 50mbit is shared, not per user.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
@ElBobbo

TB article is making an assumption me thinks as LTE is capable of up to 360Mbps (170Mbps if they use a smaller antenna 2x2 array - 20Mhz) capacity and the source article doesn't say it.
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