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On the convergence of wired and wireless access network architectures

  • 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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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Schankerman, Mark, 1996. "Symmetric regulation for competitive telecommunications," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 3-23, March.
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