Saturday, November 23, 2013

Broadband Project Background

Core Networks
• Capacity measured in billions of bits per
second (Gb/s)
• Fiber is king - virtually unlimited bandwidth
with equipment upgrades
• Core network is the crucial first step
• Subscriber access requires additional
investments in last mile infrastructure

Last Mile Wireline
Expensive New
Physical Plant
• Fiber to the home
• Fiber to the curb
• Coax / CATV
• No business case
Leverage Existing
Physical Plant
• Metro ethernet
(fiber + copper)
• T1, bonded T1s
DSL - best value
• Telco has the wire

Last Mile Wireless
Expensive Spectrum
Peaks & Ridgelines
• Cellular 3G
Voice and Data
• Cellular 4G
LTE and WiMax (802.16)
• Long Range, near-LOS
• Carriers focused on mobile
services, not fixed
Unlicensed Spectrum
Elevated Structures
Private 802.16
Longer range, near-LOS
• Standard 802.11 (Wi-Fi)
Many small coverage areas
Extended 802.11
Mesh, PtMP (LOS only)
802.22 TV ‘white space

Our Best Options
Telco DSL - They Already Have the Wires
Circulate petitions and show a business case
Moderate incremental expense for carriers
Adirondack Style - Do It Ourselves
Utilize unlicensed spectrum solutions
Low to moderate capital expense
Public / private partnerships cover OpEx
• Major carriers are not focused on economic
benefits in the Adirondacks. We are

WiMax / 802.16
• WiMax Forum is an
industry organization to
promote and certify
• The only certified profile
for unlicensed spectrum
uses 5.8 GHz, which
suffers from rain, snow
and foliage.
• Commercial vendors
offer same technology for
unlicensed spectrum.
• Advanced modulation
and antenna technology
supports longer range
and better penetration.
• Unlicensed 2.4 GHz band
good for towns, valleys
and other near-LOS.
• Unlicensed 900 MHz
good for long range and
non-LOS. Tradeoff is data
rates less than 3 Mb/s

Wi-Fi / 802.11
• Wi-Fi Alliance is an
industry organization to
promote and certify
• Designed for small, local
wireless networks.
• Media access control is
contention-based and
does not scale to large
• Wider coverage requires
many radios, with mesh
or point-to-multipoint
back-haul links.
• Mesh and PtMP benefit
from deterministic and
proprietary media access
control techniques.
• Generally poor
penetration through walls
and foliage - LOS only.

Fred Engelmann writes:

"Until recently, discussions about broadband in the Adirondacks were focused on what's called 'middle mile' fiber. Middle mile refers to a transport network between locations - from one town to another, for example, or from an existing transport network to an anchor institution like a school or hospital.

What was missing from the conversations was a necessary focus on the much more difficult issue - last mile distribution to homes and businesses. This presentation is from a local governments day conference in Lake Placid, way back in March 2010. The purpose was to educate elected officials and state agencies about current and future technology options for last mile service delivery.

The last mile, or access network, can utilize wireline or wireless technologies. Wireline refers to physical plant like copper pairs, coax or fiber. Wireless includes licensed spectrum like cellular and satellite, or unlicensed spectrum in the microwave and TV white space bands.

Many of the references are to standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). I used these to categorize the technologies; rather than simply referring to industry terminology like 3G, LTE, WiMax etc. WikiPedia is a good source for additional information on the standards, the technologies used, and their development history.

This presentation was the beginning of a multi-year effort with two goals - find a solution for last mile distribution to low population densities, and shift the focus to last mile funding instead of middle mile fiber. I'm glad to say we've succeeded on both counts."


  1. WOW, you're doing your homework!! You're going to make a great Councilwoman!! Thanks Katy for all your hard work in getting this information out there to the people!!

  2. Thank you for the compliment, Ruth.

    1. I still do not see anywhere concerning the price of the installation and the equipment? Do you lease the Equipment? How soon will everyone need to pay out more money for upgrades?

    2. Sally,

      Thank you for reviewing the background for the Town's broadband project. I asked Kathy to publish it to illustrate that the technology has been in development for several years, and offers a new and viable option for broadband distribution in areas of low population density.

      The customer equipment is designed for easy installation, very much like a small TV antenna. The customer has the option of installing it themselves at no cost, or paying someone to do it for them.

      The customer equipment cost is subsidized by the Connect NY grant funding. The subsidy amount and terms will be determined by the Town.

      Because the equipment uses software-defined radios, there is no need to upgrade hardware to take advantage of new speeds or features.

      Fred Engelmann