John Nixon

FTTH networks progress “Downunder” - Light My Fibre

Dec 10, 2012

Australia: The NBN is still a political “hot potato”, with its future and form intimately linked to the outcome of new Federal elections due to be held some time in 2013. Until then, Mike Quigley and his team forge ahead with true FTTH (Fibre to the Home). Should the right-wing Coalition win the elections, their communications spokesperson has promised to cut back on the overall cost (estimated at A$37 billion) by reverting to Fibre to the Cabinet and use the old existing phone lines for the last hop into the home or premises. I personally think this is foolish and retrograde. As Mike himself has stated, as a percentage of Australia’s GDP, the $37bn is far less than was spent by the Governments of the day on the telephone network, and also even less than was spent by … Read More

Recent Thoughts – Australian NBN and New Zealand UFB - Light My Fibre

Sep 17, 2012

    National Fibre Optic-based broadband networks are being installed right now in Australia and New Zealand.         I read every day criticism about the slow progress, and even the overall justification of these two major projects. Typical of this is “Why the NBN could be a white elephant“, published by a reputable news source. This journalist bemoans the slowness of progress and questions whether the fibre network could be left behind by the new 4G (LTE) wireless network. Another, this time from New Zealand says “UFB nowhere near ready for prime-time“. And again: “Google’s Fibre channels NBN woes“. Over and over again these supposed experts are totally missing the point. A nation-wide fibre-optics based communications network is totally inevitable. The present telephone network took 100 years to … Read More

CommunicAsia Singapore 2012 - Light My Fibre

Jul 08, 2012

          I was extremely pleased to join my colleagues, friends and clients recently at CommunicAsia in the new Marina Bay Sands conference centre in Singapore. This major event moved a year ago from the old expo centre near the airport to this brand-new complex  near the island of Sentosa. The whole project was designed by the Las Vegas Sands group and is architecturally spectacular. The hotel has 2500 rooms and suites and the whole roof is a sky garden. I felt though that the conference facility was somewhat confused, being spread over several floors. On arrival, this was not evident.  Our booth was on the ground floor level, but it took me quite a while before I realised that there were two other whole floors of booths and exhibits. The organisers had also decided … Read More

FTTH – RF or no RF? A big question. - Light My Fibre

May 30, 2012

I have been vaunting the merits of RF Overlay over FTTH (Fibre to the Home) for a long time. Yes I confirm that one of my clients is a leading researcher, manufacturer and vendor of 1550 nm RF solutions. In working with them, I have become convinced that delivering broadcast TV over fibre is an excellent, reliable and inexpensive option. Today I saw this article “Australia’s NBN ’will not fix’ TV reception“. NBN has a very spectacular “demo truck” visiting areas where the fibre network will be deployed in the near future. It’s no surprise that many visitors ask “will NBN fix my TV reception?”. No it won’t! These people are talking of course about Free-to-air broadcast TV, not IP-delivered content. Since Digital Terrestrial TV started here in Australia, we have been quite spoiled by the number of … Read More

TV: New Super High-definition Standards - Light My Fibre

Feb 23, 2012

We’ve all been impressed when watching the 1080p high definition TV standard. Well hang on to your hats, there is bigger and better coming! The new 4k standard (some 4.000 vertical lines) has hit the market, as displayed by this photo courtesy of LG. “Who needs it?” I can hear people ask. Well the way technology is going, we will no doubt end up seeing a whole wall in our lounge or bedroom become a TV screen. No doubt initial 4k programming will arrive via DVD, however sooner or later people will want to broadcast and/or download programming in this new format. On top of this, there are other standards in the pipeline, notably 8k or 8 times the definition of current HD programming. As both Australia and New Zealand move towards a national fibre-optics based network, the transmission of … Read More

New Caledonia - Light My Fibre

Dec 02, 2011

New Caledonia is an interesting, in fact fascinating place. I had the opportunity to live and work there for many years. Following the recent construction of two new processing plants, New Caledonia is now the second biggest producer of Nickel metal in the world, after Russia. The main island lies just two hours flying time North-East of Brisbane, and is approximately the same size and shape as Taiwan. Population is only some 200.000, and in spite of the open-cut nickel mines here and there, the scenery, coral reefs, flora and fauna are unique and attractive. It is a French overseas territory, and French is the main language spoken there. Telecommunications are handled by the “Office des Postes et Télécommunications”, a wholly-owned local government entity. Internet access is provided by a combination of satellite links and now a submarine cable linking … Read More

NASA and the Speed of Light - Light My Fibre

Sep 27, 2011

NASA moves from Radio to Laser Light for data transmission. We have often heard the argument that FTTH is really not needed now that G3 and G4 wireless technology is available. I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously that any radio (wireless) data transmission system will NEVER HAVE the bandwidth of a fibre network. The reason is simple. The amount of information you can modulate onto a given carrier frequency has finite limitations. The higher the carrier frequency, the more modulation you can impress on the carrier. With fibre, the carrier is of course light, not a radio wave. The frequency (or wavelength) of light is almost unimaginably higher than the highest frequency radio carriers available for use. Today I picked up this very interesting article “NASA to demonstrate Laser beam communications system“. Although it describes communications in space, the principle … Read More

What is DiDo? - Light My Fibre

Aug 25, 2011

A recent white paper describes an invention in the USA which is touted to increase greatly the bandwidth availability of wireless internet access. DiDo stands for “distributed input, distributed output”. The news was immediately grabbed by the media here in Australia, saying that it made the NBN (National Broadband Network) project redundant and a waste of taxpayer money. I have always defended the “mainly” fibre optic networks in both Australia and New Zealand, as no other solution provides anywhere near the current and future bandwidth of fibre. The whitepaper itself can be found at: Reading the paper is pretty tough going, but I found a very interesting summary and comments at: There is a pretty well-proven theorem of physics called the Shannon-Hartly Theorem. and in my own field of work, the amount … Read More

FTTH News Update - Light My Fibre

Jul 11, 2011

I sincerely regret missing the FTTH Asia-Pacific Council conference in Delhi and CommunicAsia in Singapore recently due to medical treatment. I’m now looking forward to being able to travel again and meeting our many readers and contacts at these events. The OSP Conference (Outside Plant) in Cincinatti 12-14 September and the FTTH Council USA Conference in Orlando 27-30 September 2011 beckon. Let me know if you plan to attend either. OECD Meeting – The Internet Economy This document contains a wealth of interesting and useful information. The site is full of links to the various subjects. USA – FTTH Council I have re-joined the U.S. FTTH Council. As a consultant I can enjoy pretty much full benefits for the princely sum of US$250 a year. The cheapest “commercial” membership with the Asia-Pacific Council is still US$3000 … Read More

Fibre lights me! - Light My Fibre

Jun 14, 2011

Having been involved in lighting fibre for some years now, it was interesting to find myself on the receiving end. After cancer surgery, I am in the middle of 25 sessions of radiotherapy. Another massive and impressive machine that carefully focuses a strong photon beam on to the affected area from several directions, hopefully destroying the remaining cancer cells. At each session it is vitally important that your body is exactly in the same position. The very first session sees you receive three small tattoos, one on the chest, and one on each side of the chest. Then at each ensuing session, these small tattoo marks are aligned with the green fibre emitted cross-hairs you can see in the picture. Then the radiation therapy can begin. I am always curious about new technologies, so I quizzed the medical staff and … Read More