|Connecting Schools at Hundreds of Megabits Dramatically Cheaper With Microwave|
|Written by Dave Burstein|
|Wednesday, 23 February 2011 16:08|
The U.S, government believes "most schools need a connection of 50 to 100 Mbps per 1,000 students." But "two-thirds of surveyed schools subscribe to speeds lower than 25 Mbps." Amir Makleff of Bridgewave makes gear designed for hundred meg+ connections for hundreds rather than thousands of dollars per month. Fiber today can do gigabits so is ideal when readily available but is prohibitively expensive in many locations. Where running fiber is expensive, microwave now is a proven technology for hundreds of megabits. With proper design, microwave downtime can be less than a few hours per year. Jennie Bourne's short interview with Makleff from the 4GWE conference has more specifics.
I believe something is profoundly wrong with the Schools and Libraries program of USAC if they aren't actively making sure schools choose the least expensive reliable technology. Far too often, school districts just buy what the local telco recommends without investigating less expensive choices.
The right choice will vary based on facilities available. It will sometimes be fiber, sometimes microwave, and sometimes bonded DSL or cable. Anytime a school proposes spending more than $20K/year on connectivity, it's right to ask if they are spending public money efficiently.