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My question is, do fiber and wireless overlap at all, and under what circumstances can these two great technologies co-exist and still earn us solid returns?

Rex - I'll try to explain this the way I see it. Let's use a traffic analogy. Imagine you want to get from your home to a friend's home in another city. You must take side streets to main streets, main streets to highways, then get off the highway onto a main street in another city, and finally take side streets to get to you friend's place.

With data, it's similar. You request data to your PC, that request goes through your "last mile" connection to your ISP, who in turn sends it down a leased line, probably still electrical, to the bandwidth provider, and the bandwidth provider then sends the signal over a fiber optic network to get to the city of the host computer you are requesting info from. The data then hops of a fiber network at some point and gets its way to the host computer by electrical means. The return path is just the opposite to get you your info.

Fiber networks can be considered "long haul", which means a highway, or "short haul" which is usually within a city, a metro-optical network. The short haul networks within cities are like main streets on steroids. Most cities do not have metro-optical networks yet, so these side-streets are just normal streets without performance enhancing drugs.

Wireless is a last-mile solution. It is good once a signal has finished moving along the fiber optic network and reached it's destination area (within a few miles). Instead of electrical, the signal is wireless (ie, RF, or radio frequency). Wireless bandwidth is not anything close to what a fiber can provide, especially considering that ALL the people within a certain region have to share the radio frequency spectrum of available channels. Technology will push this bandwidth higher, and I will not try to guess how much. I believe that wireless may eventually be good enough to give you very high speed internet access within your community, but it is NOT nor will it ever be a long haul solution - and probably not even a metro solution (ie, main streets within a city). So, if wireless was the ONLY last mile solution, here is how things might evolve:

Home --> Wireless transmission to metro optical network --> optical transmission to long haul network --> long haul network to another city --> short haul network to final region --> wireless transmission to final destination.

Anyway, that's how I see it. Let me know if any of you have other ideas. Wireless will be cool stuff going forward, and will pull for more demand through fiber networks (I think).

Chris
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