LEO and 5G: will they kill broadband?

Interested in the community’s views on both 5G fixed wireless access and LEO (low earth orbit) satellites. Both have been touted as potential challengers to fixed line broadband in the medium term.

Do you think they’re credible challengers? Or are they too expensive to be a widespread solution to our connectivity requirements?

My personal view is that, given we already have a lot of fibre in the ground, the marginal cost of using that is pretty low. Whereas the capital costs involved in getting 5G (e.g. building lots of small cells) and (especially) LEO going are very high. So probably not likely to damage the fixed line market for a while…

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I think you are right that a wired fibre system is the future, certainly of developed countries like the UK.

Our EM comms frequencies are being used up pretty quickly. 5G itself is a non-optimium frequency, only considered because of the traffic on other frequencies.

So while LEO and 5G can provide good coverage, if we can avoid the use of EM transmission, and stick to the wired fibre network, already largely in place, we can free up some EM frequencies for more interesting/important applications. Even if that is just improving the bandwidth on existing frequencies.


Not a chance and it’s not really down to cost. Contention and latency will be big issues.

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@jph @Tom So basically wired for in the home and wireless for outside?

Have you heard of Plume Wi-Fi? Might be interesting if we deliver some of that funcitonality natievly in the Cuckoo account…


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@Alex Yeah, I think wired (then into WiFi) will always win if you are in a fixed location.

There must be security benefits too. I’ve even worked in places that didn’t have any WiFi in the building for security reasons. Everything was wired. So I imagine lots of companies and households will be sceptical joining one mass 5G or LEO network.

Plume looks cool. I like the control over your network. The device management looks useful for parents too!

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Those of us running home networking equipment are probably always going to prefer internet coming in over a wire/fibre than over the air too.