Cap Gemini Ernst & Young has completed Australia’s first trial of iBurst wireless networking technology, which promises to fill the gap between existing methods such as WLAN and GPRS.
Bill Dekka, the technology services firm’s director of business development, said that after looking into a variety of wireless techologies, decided to trial iBurst.
“A core part of our business is helping the top 200 businesses develop a mobile workforce,” Dekka said. “After reviewing GPRS and Telstra’s BlackBerry, we decided to give iBurst a go for a period of four to six weeks. For people accessing e-mail and corporate networks iBurst is absolutely brilliant.”
Dekka, who is based in Sydney, used iBurst on his company notebook at work, during meetings with clients, and at home.
“From anywhere in the city I had 1Mbps of bandwidth which was equivalent to about 328KB/sec,” he said. “On many occasions the performance of iBurst was better than our corporate WAN so I’m glad to wave the flag for them.”
Dekka also used the service in areas away from the city, including Manly and North Ryde, without any performance degradation.
“I used iBurst in buildings, cafes, and it worked equally well inside meeting rooms,” he said. “Since it was a controlled trial I don’t know how it will work with a lot of concurrent users, but iBurst is in a regulated frequency so the bandwidth can be controlled. With WiFi, when a lot of people get on the network it slows.”
According to Dekka, accessing e-mail and other intranet applications was on occasion slower than inside the corporate LAN, but “it was still a lot faster than a dial-up connection”.
Dekka is confident that the convenience factor of having a mobile connection will allow the service to “pay for itself”.
“iBurst is as secure as the Internet so I wouldn’t rely on it without encryption,” he said. “I was comfortable using it as we had the right level of application security.”
Personal Broadband Australia (PBBA) is the carrier implementing the iBurst infrastructure. John Filmer, the company’s marketing director, said iBurst is a scalable technology that operates in the 3G spectrum.
“Each base station can handle between 1000 and 2000 simultaneous users without interference,” Filmer said. “Around general metropolitan areas the range of each base station is about five kilometres which extends to 12 kilometers through ‘line-of-sight’. To cover Sydney we estimate that about 150 base stations are needed and the network supports seamless roaming between base stations.”
PBBA expects the service to be launched commercially early next year.