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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lehr, William H. & Chapin, John M., 2010. "On the convergence of wired and wireless access network architectures," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 33-41, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:22:y:2010:i:1:p:33-41

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    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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    Cited by:

    1. Jeffrey Prince & Shane Greenstein, 2017. "Measuring Consumer Preferences for Video Content Provision via Cord-Cutting Behavior," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(2), pages 293-317, June.
    2. 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).
    3. Shinohara, Sobee & Morikawa, Hiroyuki & Tsuji, Masatsugu, 2014. "Empirical analysis of mobile broadband adoption in major six countries from the view of competition policy," 20th ITS Biennial Conference, Rio de Janeiro 2014: The Net and the Internet - Emerging Markets and Policies 106849, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    4. 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).
    5. Lehr, William & Oliver, Miquel, 2014. "Small cells and the mobile broadband ecosystem," 25th European Regional ITS Conference, Brussels 2014 101406, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).


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