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Saturday, 30 July 2011 22:06

DIDO to make fibre NBN a DODO?

By

While the Australian Government extols the virtues of its $36 billion plus fibre optic based National Broadband Network project, a new sunrise wireless technology has just been unveiled that threatens to make the massively expensive fixed line fibre network obsolete before its rollout is even completed.


The new technology called Distributed-Input-Distributed-Output (DIDO) Wireless Technology, unveiled in a new white paper, claims to offer all the advantages of wireless internet connectivity without the disadvantages of latency and bandwidth limitations caused by he pesky laws of physics that NBN devotees love to cite.

Opponents of the NBN, which seeks to replace Australia's fixed line copper and cable broadband networks with FttH over the next five to 10 years, have long derided the Rudd-Gillard Labor Governments for placing all their eggs in one technology basket by opting to span the country's vast geography with expensive optical fibre.

In turn, the Government has defended its decision by saying that the existing fixed line networks have limitations and are becoming too expensive to maintain, while wireless is not a realistic alternative for superfast broadband because the laws of physics dictates performance limitations for multiple users sharing a fixed wireless spectrum.

The inventor of DIDO, Rearden Wireless, however, has released a white paper which details tests performed in the US using the new technology which claims to overcome all of the limitations of traditional wireless broadband such as WiFi, 3G and LTE, enabling multiple users to share wireless spectrum without any performance degradation. In fact, Rearden claims that all users could potentially each access the full bandwidth of the wireless spectrum.

What's more, the people behind DIDO are by no means unknown fly by nighters. Leading Rearden is founder and CEO Steve Perlman, who for those who don't know was a principal scientist at Apple Computer, where he led much of the development work on Quicktime and later founded WebTV, among other professional exploits.

The key feature of DIDO, which Rearden claims sets it apart from current wireless technologies, is its purported ability to effectively provide multiple users with their own exclusive channels within a specified wireless spectrum.

According to the Rearden white paper, current wireless technologies effectively limit a spectrum to a single channel which must be shared among multiple users, causing the performance to be degraded as the number of simultaneous users increases because each user has to wait their turn for a website request reach their computers.

The way DIDO essentially works is that when requests are made to access websites from multiple users' computers the downloaded waveforms instead of going straight back to the users' modems where they are demodulated, they are intercepted at a DIDO datacentre where all the waveforms targeted for the different computers are added into a single waveform, using some complex mathematical algorithms. This single waveform is somehow then broadcast back to all access points simultaneously, where each computer decodes its part of the composite wave form, effectively giving each user their own exclusive channel with a theoretical bandwidth as wide as the wireless spectrum they use.

According to Rearden, it has so far tested a DIDO network distances as wide as 800km, bouncing signals off the ionosphere, using 10 users without any network degradation, making it suitable for rural users as well as city dwellers.

If it all sounds complicated, it is but the white paper attempts to make a good fist at explaining how DIDO is going to change the world of communications. The white paper can be downloaded here.

According to Rearden, it may be up to 10 years before DIDO is ready for commercial rollout but then again how long before the NBN comes rolling down your street?

 

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Stan Beer

Stan Beer has been involved with the IT industry for 39 years and has worked as a senior journalist and editor at most of the major media publications, including The Australian, Australian Financial Review, The Age, SMH, BRW, and a number of IT trade journals. He co-founded iTWire in 2004, where he was editor in chief until 2016. Today, Stan consults with iTWire News Site /Website administration, advertising scheduling, news editorial posts. In 2016 Stan was presented with a Kester Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Australian IT journalism.

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