Networking

On the Convergence of Wired and Wireless Access Network Architectures

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Executive Summary

Wired and wireless access networks continue to evolve toward higher-capacity, multi-service systems. Recent wireless broadband networks such as 3G LTE and WiMax provide a general-purpose IP platform with over-the-top services at the application layer, which is similar to the design of wired IP platform networks. This paper examines whether wired and wireless access networks are likely to converge on a common architecture, or if not, whether wireless networks are likely to converge on a common wireless architecture. The authors conclude that the answer to both questions is No. The authors identify fundamental and persistent differences between wired and wireless networking that will propel wired and wireless access network architectures on divergent evolutionary paths.

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