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On the convergence of wired and wireless access network architectures


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  • Lehr, William H.
  • Chapin, John M.


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. We conclude that the answer to both questions is No. We identify fundamental and persistent differences between wired and wireless networking that will propel wired and wireless access network architectures on divergent evolutionary paths. Whereas we expect wired broadband access networks to continue to evolve toward a common general-purpose platform architecture, we expect wireless networks to remain heterogeneous. The inherent scarcity of radio frequency spectrum emerges as the key reason for this prediction. We examine the implications of divergent evolutionary paths for market structure and regulatory policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Information Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 22 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 33-41

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Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:22:y:2010:i:1:p:33-41

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Keywords: Telecommunications Networks Broadband Wireless Wireline Internet: Platform competition Spectrum management Regulation;


References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Amendola, Giovanni Battista & Pupillo, Lorenzo Maria, 2008. "The Economics of Next Generation Access Networks and Regulatory Governance: Towards Geographic Patterns of Regulation," MPRA Paper 8823, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Gregory Rosston & Michael Topper, 2009. "An Antitrust Analysis of the Case for Wireless Network Neutrality," Discussion Papers 08-040, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  3. Odlyzko, Andrew, 2000. "The Internet and other networks: utilization rates and their implications," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 341-365, December.
  4. repec:reg:wpaper:19 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Mindel, Joshua L & Sicker, Douglas C., 2006. "Leveraging the EU regulatory framework to improve a layered policy model for US telecommunications markets," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 136-148, March.
  6. Giovanni Battista AMENDOLA & Lorenzo Maria PUPILLO, 2008. "The Economics of Next Generation Access Networks and Regulatory Governance: Towards Geographic Patterns of Regulation," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(69), pages 85-108, 1st quart.
  7. Schankerman, Mark, 1996. "Symmetric regulation for competitive telecommunications," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 3-23, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Rendon Schneir, Juan, 2010. "Wireless Broadband Access: Policy Implications of Heterogeneous Networks," 21st European Regional ITS Conference, Copenhagen 2010: Telecommunications at new crossroads - Changing value configurations, user roles, and regulation 28, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
  2. Jeffrey T. Prince & Shane Greenstein, 2013. "Measuring Consumer Preferences for Video Content Provision via Cord-Cutting Behavior," Working Papers 2013-09, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  3. Shinohara, Sobee & Akematsu, Yuji & Morikawa, Hiroyuki & Tsuji, Masatsugu, 2013. "Current issues of the Japanese mobile phone market caused by smartphones," 24th European Regional ITS Conference, Florence 2013 88528, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).


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