BT Wholesale has ended a trial of a mesh network wireless technology, saying that it failed to fit its broadband needs.
The telco was unenthusiastic about the outcome of a three-month trial in Pontypridd in Wales.
It said the version of the technology used was "inappropriate" for its needs. The trial used Meshwork wireless broadband technology from Radiant Networks.
"The trial ended on 31 December and is now being decommissioned," a BT spokesman told vnunet.com.
"Obviously we are disappointed that this mesh network isn't what we want but the expense, customer experiences and limitations mean that we won't go ahead with the technology in any final wireless ADSL product."
He added: "We are not saying we will never work with Radiant technology again, but we are not saying we will.
"We will still look at mesh wireless technologies and will plan other pilots, but there is no specific timescale for these yet."
Wireless broadband is seen as vital for bringing broadband access to rural and isolated areas. Mesh networks, which overcome line-of-sight issues by routing around obstacles, are seen as one way of providing wireless connections.
Each node can transmit to another, with multiple paths available to each customer creating a mesh grid. If one node fails, the management software interrogates the remainder for alternative routes. It offers transmission speeds of between four and 25Mbps.
The purpose of the Pontypridd trial was to see if the delivery of applications such as video on demand, at up to 5Mbps, was viable using mesh networks.
But Geoff Butcher, Radiant's chief executive officer, told vnunet.com: "It was never intended to deploy this technology in its current form commercially.
"The trial was simply to prove that the technology could deliver video on demand at 5Mbps and we did this, and still have happy punters to prove it," he said.
Butcher said Radiant's technology had proved its worth and that he believed it could be adapted to make it suitable for commercial use.
"We have known for 18 months that Meshwork would not be deployed commercially in its current format," he said.
"We provide 28GHz giving a download speed of 25Mbps, which was never what BT was looking for. The aim was just to prove the technology works."
However, other mesh networks are being developed and could eventually provide outlying areas with broadband access, according to Tim Johnson, principal analyst at Ovum.
"Wireless networks do fill the gap left by copper wire ADSL access," he said.
"However, I am not surprised by BT's reaction to Radiant's technology. It's rocket science and well ahead of its time.
"It is always difficult to get new technology off the ground and there isn't a sufficiently strong demand for this solution."
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