Fibre is fine but wireless is now

United Kingdom: stamp

United Kingdom: stamp (Photo credit: Sem Paradeiro)

I will admit I am not normally one for a passionate conversation at trade shows like IP Expo. Trudging out to Earls Court is a pet hate and the ludicrous orange carpets coupled with women dressed as bumble bees (why Aerohive? Seriously, why?) get on my wick.

But, the joy of a show like this one that is much smaller than its scarier cousins in Europe or the US is you get to talk to the lesser known firms who really care about their technology, rather than just appearing on a sponsor’s board.

The one that drew an enthusiastic conversation out of me today was Cambium Networks. The company used to be part of Motorola and is known for the wireless technologies it provides for customers ranging from North Sea oil rigs to front line military operations.

Perhaps it is no surprise that talking to the head of sales for the firm, Graham Bolton, meant a conversation around “why not wireless” but the thing is I agreed before any sales pitch began.

Cambium has just won an award for its rural broadband networks which have enabled residents and businesses to get 90Mbps connections without relying on fibre from the big guns like BT and Virgin Media, and at a much lower price.

Lots of these little projects are popping up around the country and really do seem to solve a problem with a lot less expense and inconvenience.

Yet, the government is still set on throwing its £530m investment for connectivity in the UK at BT. These massive projects take a lot of time, a lot of road digging and in many cases are still not getting to those areas in need.

It is the community projects, the wireless connectivity, the other innovations like we saw this week in Skye, that are solving the problem way before the made up deadline of 2015 that I can’t see BT reaching, at least without some more cash to line its pockets.

Yes a strong fibre network is a good plan for the UK but it is a long term goal that is leaving a lot of people waiting in the meantime. Why not spend more of this investment with smaller projects to connect, not just rural areas, but any place missing out on decent connectivity?

If you said ‘what we need is a 2Mbps fibre network by 2015’ to someone in Sweden or Korea they would just laugh and, to be honest, I am fed up of going to these trades shows around the world on networking and my home being the butt of everyone’s jokes, especially when the technology is there today to fix the problem.

Oh well, maybe I just haven’t had enough caffeine and I swear the guy dressed as a cloud is following me. Ah trade shows, I love to hate you. 

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