Last mile technology refers to the final leg in any kind of communication network. Last mile is a phrase that is generally used by internet and satellite service providers too, according to Singtel. The other areas this phrase is used is the cable television networks, telecommunication networks, and other delivery components.
- Why last mile?
The final leg of all networks which finally reach the customers or the end user is called the last mile. But literally this could be more than a mile. This only refers to that portion of the communication network that physically reaches the customer’s premises. For instance, the subscriber copper lines that connect the phones to the telephone exchange situated locally are the last mile in the telephone network. Other examples are the cell towers in cellular networks, that link with the cell phones and also the coaxial cables from the utility poles that carry television signals. The word mile is used as a metaphor and is the first mile from the user’s end.
- Speed bottleneck
It has been found that the last mile is normally the speed bottleneck in the network. The bandwidth in the last mile is a limiting factor for the delivery of data to the end user. This happens as the retail networks have a complex topology in the form of a tree. The trunk of this tree has a high capacity but when they feed many final last miles, the capacity is relatively lower. The final last mile is the most expensive part but also the toughest to upgrade. Although the trunk lines have been changed optical fiber in the recent times, the last mile has remained unaltered in many places.
To solve this issue or at least lessen it, the service providers endeavor to enhance their services, especially in the last mile. Wireless technology has helped a great deal in resolving this issue. Broadband and WiMax applications are also other alternatives that are being used successfully.