FttH Is Not About High-Speed Internet Access - It Is About the Internet of Things

By Paul Budde
Paul Budde

The future of our communications infrastructure will to a very large extent be based on the Internet of Things (IoT). What this means is that hundreds of millions of devices will be connected to the national broadband networks (NBN), gathering massive amounts of information and providing feedback in real time. In any single country, the electricity grid alone will have tens of millions of sensors and devices connected to deliver the energy efficiencies that we all so desperately need.

But as well as this, look at the billions of mobile phones and the applications they provide with their constant interaction with the smartphone, for example, in relation to navigation and location-based services. Increasingly also smartphone emergency applications are launched to monitor people with disabilities or medical conditions.

The IoT will be vital in managing our energy, traffic, certain healthcare applications, emergencies, etc. This has nothing to do with the video quality of the NBN. It has to do with the combined features of fibre-based NBNs — robustness, ubiquitousness, affordability, security, privacy, low latency, etc. In fact, NBNs will be gigantic computer networks.

Most people have experienced mobile dropouts and problems with slow-downs on their current broadband connections. In order to facilitate the IoT applications far more robust network are needed. The basic infrastructure for this need to be fibre based, FttH for the fixed broadband connection and fibre backbones as deep as possible into the mobile networks.

Such infrastructure allows for the building of the smart cities — and indeed the smart country — of the future.

By Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication. Paul is also a contributor of the Paul Budde Communication blog located here.

Related topics: Broadband, Internet of Things, Networks

Comments

VPN, not Internet The Famous Brett Watson  –  Aug 12, 2011 10:20 AM PDT

I hope you're wrong (or at least inaccurate) about the IoT concept. Recent history suggests that we lack the ability to secure anything from attackers with access to the same network, given enough time and motivation on the part of the attackers. An Internet of Things will rapidly turn into an Internet of Subverted and Compromised Things.

Of course, I'm taking "Internet" to mean "Internet", as in the big public global network we're all using here, and not just "network". Maybe this is just a case of buzzwords that shouldn't be taken literally. There's nothing wrong with networks of things, so long those networks are well insulated from the Internet at large.

Perhaps the good news is that the (Australian) NBN will make non-Internet high-speed wide area networking generally available. The NBN only provides a layer two service: it doesn't have to be the Internet if you don't want it to be. When we think of VPNs, currently, we think of the "private" part being enforced by cryptographic means while being transported over the public Internet. The NBN can support VPNs directly, without the need to be layered on the Internet. You can decide for yourself whether you still want the cryptography.

This kind of thing has been possible before, of course, but not with the speed or ubiquity that the NBN will offer. For example, if you want to work from home and be connected to the corporate network, you currently use a VPN over your domestic broadband Internet connection, because no private virtual circuit comes close to competing on cost. With the NBN, private virtual circuits are essentially the basic product: Internet service is just where you have a PVC to an ISP. Corporations can thus extend their networks into the homes of employees without touching the Internet at all. If the organisation already uses VoIP infrastructure, then the employee is also trivially attached to the corporate telephone network as well.

An Internet of Things sounds like trouble waiting to happen. I'm more interested in the fact that the NBN will be a Thing of Networks, of which the Internet will be but one of many.

Hi Brett, I agree with your assumption Paul Budde  –  Aug 13, 2011 1:15 AM PDT

Hi Brett, I agree with your assumption that the current Internet is not secure I clearly differentiate from the current networks as the title of the blog indicates I am talking about the combined features of fibre-based NBNs — robustness, ubiquitousness, affordability, security, privacy, low latency, etc. In fact, NBNs will be gigantic computer networks. With that in place IoT, cloud computing, etc can be delivered in a secure way. Not that there won't be problems or criminals breaking into it. After 500 years of banking also that system is not bulletproof but we accept the level of risk within certain boundaries, we do need to establish these boundaries also for IoT and a FttH network is one of the key elements that can facilitate this.
Paul