Free space optics and wireless broadband radio frequency technology : bringing highspeed network access to the last mile
Sprague, John W.
Michael, James Bret.
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Existing copper phone and cable infrastructure no longer provide the required broadband for today's emerging applications. Homes and businesses in the "last mile" require the same access to broadband speeds available inside the fiber optic ring. It is not economically feasible, however, to bring fiber optic cable to each and every home and business in the "last mile." Free Space Optics and Wireless Broadband Radio Frequency are two technologies gaining popularity as an alternative broadband infrastructure. Free Space Optics uses lasers and Wireless Broadband uses Radio Frequency waves to send large amounts of data from one place to another. Both are wireless technologies that use free space. As a result, they are quickly deployed, easily scaled, and cheaper to install and upgrade than wired infrastructures. These characteristics support missions of the Armed Forces in which wire-bound infrastructure is not dependable, is impractical to build and maintain, or requires a high degree of mobility. This thesis addresses the "last mile" problem including why current infrastructure will not provide a broadband solution. Free Space Optics and Wireless Broadband Radio Frequency technologies are explored and discussed. Finally, an economic analysis of alternative network designs utilizing the two emerging technologies is applied to a fictitious city with a population of one million.
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