Chorus is testing Nokia's WPON. It's a wireless technology that connects the fibre network in a street to a home or business when a direct physical connection isn't practical.
Among other places WPON solves many of the problems with apartment buildings and other multiple dwelling units. It also bypasses obstacles like installing fibre along rights of way or getting past difficult neighbours. Chorus also sees it being used for places like business parks.
Nokia's WPON, or Wireless Passive Optical Networking, uses the WiGig standard. That's 802.11ad. The same technology is sometimes used to extend the performance of indoor Wi-Fi networks.
A WPON access point can be attached to an access point on an existing telephone pole or lamppost. This connects direct to the fibre running in the street. Customers need an outdoor antenna connected to their indoor router by an Ethernet cable.
The system uses unlicensed frequencies in the 60GHz spectrum. This is the mmWave or V band. Typically radio waves at these frequencies are absorbed by the air and can be subject to rain fade. They are often blocked by trees. While communications in this band are line of sight only, the distances are small, a few hundred metres at most which minimises the disruption from air or water molecules.
Chorus says that in testing, WPON manages a speed of around 1.6Gbps over 150m. The theoretical maximum speed is 3Gbps. In other words it can work with any exisiting UFB fibre plan although, as things stand, it is not suitable for the 10G service that is now being tested.
Ed Hyde, Chorus chief customer officer, says WPON is a useful tool in his company's toolbox and builds on other recent innovations such as 10Gbps services and lower price gigabit services.