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Which Technology Is Headed For the Chop?

Fixed Line Broadband

Sick of receiving poor broadband speeds just because of your postcode? The good news for casual users is the next leap in mobile broadband technology, LTE, has the potential to do away with them for good. Current 3G HSDPA standards typically offer a bandwidth of 7.2Mbit, but this is shared between everyone using that particular base station (typically 100-200 yards apart in busy areas). LTE (likely to be incorrectly marketed as 4G) will up this bandwidth to over 160Mbit, with the potential to top 300Mbit. With the right regulation each base station should provide more than enough speed for the average user.

In addition to LTE, fixed broadband itself also looks set for a boost courtesy of breakthrough tech currently being rolled out by Bluwan. The company's 'Fibre Through the Air' technology fires bandwidth wirelessly through the air from an exchange to anywhere it is required. Hundreds of kilometres can be covered without any speed degradation and once it reaches its destination an antenna casts it over a village or city. Bluwan is currently into talks with companies across the globe, including Mobile Broadband Networks Ltd, MML Telecom and UK Broadband - the core broadband infrastructure providers in the UK - about rolling out the technology before the end of this year.

The sooner fast broadband can be provided without digging up the streets, the sooner it will get better for everyone. Fixed line technology still has benefits in terms of speed, reliability and latency but for vast swathes of the population wireless solutions are likely to be enough.

The Future

The examples above are just a brief snapshot of the sectors likely to be affected by emerging technologies. There are numerous others from Intel's style="mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri"> WiDi 2.0 which threatens HDMI, to OnLive which has the potential to create a platform neutral streaming gaming service and stop us buying individual consoles. The evolution of Cloud computing threatens the consumer storage business. GPS inside phones continues to slash dedicated sat nav sales and desktop PCs dwindle with the growth of laptops, all-in-one PCs and tablets. Meanwhile, outside of tech, books are the latest thing to be threatened by the gadget sector with the rise of eBooks and their future looks to be similar to that of post after email (transporting unwanted gifts sold on Ebay? - Ed.)

Ultimately the wonder and frustration of technology is the breakneck speed with which it evolves. The things we buy can feel old before we've barely got them out the box. It is even worse for manufacturers. Cisco is just the latest example of a company failing to spot a trend (it bought Flip maker Pure Digital for $590m just two years ago) and major chains like HMV, Zavvi and Borders now struggle after blindly following outdated business models for too long. For them the losses register into the millions and even billions. Which should make you feel better the next time you find one of your gadgets left on the technological scrapheap…

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