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Saturday, November 06, 2004

Home wireless brings on bandwidth bonanza

Robert Jaques writes, quoting Jupiter research report says, domestic networks will need 57Mbps by 2009 , a rise of 1,800 per cent. While it is very difficult to rely on analyst predictions on changing technologies that too about predictions five years down the line, it is clear that bandwidth requirements are definitely going to explode. Excerpts:
Spiralling consumer demand for network services will lead to wireless home bandwidth requirements jumping by a whopping 1,800 per cent to 57Mbps by 2009, research has claimed.According to a newly released study from JupiterResearch, wireless bandwidth requirements for the typical broadband home with a wireless network will grow from less than 3Mbps in 2004 to a likely 57Mbps in 2009.The analyst group estimates that tech-savvy households of three individuals will require wireless bandwidth of up to 84Mbps, driven primarily by changes in the home use of consumer electronics and changing consumption patterns for digital media at home.
JupiterResearch forecasts that the number of wireless home network households in the US will rise to 34.3 million by 2009.The top reason consumers install a home wireless network is for sharing internet access, according to a recent JupiterResearch consumer survey cited in the report.But alternative uses of wireless networks, such as streaming music from a PC to the home stereo, are experiencing a quick uptake, according to information from leading vendors in this area.Streaming content is expected to represent one of the biggest shifts in behaviour as consumers move away from unlinked distributed devices to the centralised storage, management and synchronisation of media centres."Consumers are beginning to shift their paradigms for internet access, home networking and digital content management," said Julie Ask, a research director at JupiterResearch."The number of consumer electronics devices using a wireless network in the home could explode over the next five years, driving bandwidth requirements beyond today's offerings."

"To exploit this trend, consumer electronics manufacturers will increasingly need to conceive of their products as always-on nodes in a wireless network. "Vendors of wireless networking gear will need to adapt their products for a role as consumer electronics and digital media enablers."

My Take : Wireless networking gear originally designed just to let multiple computers share a single connection,in an untentional manner are getting used for other purposes as well. Why stop connecting a couple of computers, why not connect your TV, your stereo, your fridge or whatever. These make terrific sense, but the ones that do make sense are going to need an increasing amount of bandwidth. Luckily, solutions for higher speed local area wireless connections are very much on the way (assuming the standards battles ever settle down). The key issue overlooked is f bandwidth to and from the home. Yes, it's nice to have a high speed wireless network inside the home, but people are mobile these days. They want to be able to access anything from anywhere... and, frankly, the bandwidth to and (especially!) from the home is very weak. Even worse, the service providers don't seem to recognize this. The most adavanced optic fiber installationsspoken about have fairly limited speeds compared to what they should be able to offer, and what would really help leverage people to make use of the bandwidth.
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