Wi-Fi Is Becoming Defacto Standard For Last Mile Access

Kolkata | Updated: Apr 28 2004, 05:30am hrs
The new wireless standard popularly known as Wi-Fi and gigabit ethernet architecture with availability of 1 and 10 Gbps switches are fast ramping up the network strength for educational and corporate networks. These networks are based on a combination of wireless and wireline access architecture. In an interview with eFE, Manas Hira, who teaches at the computer science and technology department in West Bengal Engineering College (Deemed University) speaks on how these high-end networks are benefiting educational institutes. Excerpts.

What are the new trends in networking technology
First, in the last few years we have seen the standarisation and domination of ethernet technology along the line of gigabit ethernet architecture. Enterprises and educational institutes are setting up intranet backbones which has the ability to carry data at a speed not possible a few years back. With the gigabit ethernet, the networks can now carry huge data.

Secondly, the changes we are witnessing is the use of cable technology to carry Internet to the consumers premise. Thirdly, the dominance of wireless technology in wiring the corporate and educational premises. The last mile connectivity has become easier to implement and is also cost effective. With the increase in the number of people carrying wireless devices, it is now important to provide wireless connectivity to clients or people visiting corporate office and educational institutes.

What are the prospects of Wi-Fi technology
With the government relaxing its restrictions, wireless is becoming the defacto standard for last mile campus wiring. It is not always possible to take the wire upto the desktop level and sometimes it is costly. The IEEE standards like 802.11b with data speed of 11 Mbps is one of the alternatives. Take the case of our educational institute. We have wired the entire campus and the data network is present across the campus. But we want to take the network inside the hostels and residential complex. For this we have decided to implement Wi-Fi network.

How much is the university spending on the creation of new network
It is a World Bank funded technical education and quality improvement programme, offered as loan to the central government. Out of Rs 50 crore coming to the engineering university under this programme, Rs 4 crore have been allocated for networking and computerisation.

We are also implementing a VoIP (voice over IP) solution to replace our EPBAX. We want to use our data network to carry voice within the campus.