Christmas appear to have come early with Ubiquiti releasing the 1.8.4 firmware update for the Unifi Dream Machine (both the base and pro models) which bumps up the version numbers of the various components plus bug fixes. For me I am pretty happy with how my UDM is behaving how that they’ve stabilised the ‘base’ build which the UDM standard uses – in the new year I’ll look at moving from Skinny to Spark given that there is next to no difference in price plus it enables me to have everything on the same bill. The other thing I am looking forward to is Ubiquiti releasing a Wi-Fi 6 access point (the UniFi 6 Long-Range Access Point looks like a good replacement) to replace my existing access point as I eventually look long term to replace my MacBook Pro and iMac along with upgrading my Apple TV to the much rumoured replacement which will also have Wi-Fi 6 support.
Rumours are circulating about Apple working on their own modem but at this point I think that is more or less pointing out the blatantly obvious. It wouldn’t be surprising if, when Apple bought the Intel modem devision, they were already working on 5G support and then later to flag it because they didn’t believe the amount required to develop it and subsequent sales would marry up. With all that being said, the one thing I do one is whether there is a long term viability for supporting 5G on frequencies about 6GHz given that all the international deployments of 5G have been on the sub-6GHz band with the instances of mmWave (higher than 6GHz) being used for point to point fixed wireless internet which Qualcomm recently tested in Australia (link). Don’t get my wrong, I think that mmWave for point to point fixed wireless internet could be a great alternative for those areas that want ‘fibre-like speeds’ but it is uneconomically viable to run fibre to their premises but I simply don’t see mmWave being a useful technology on mobile phones other than it being used as a tick box and a something for the non-technologically inclined to boast about when comparing their phone to work mates phone when they’re chatting around the water cooler at work.
Over the last few days I’ve been going for a ride around where I live and I am amazed at the number of new houses that are bing built. For example, hearing towards Taita on the land where an old church used to be there is a new housing development, and chatting with my sisters partner he is talking about how they’ve got more jobs than people able to finish it. Then there is the recent announcement of the government looking at reorganising local government regarding water (link) along with the fact that decades of underinvestment has left an infrastructure deficit that is only going to get worse as there is great urbanisation, existing sections are subdivided resulting in infrastructure designed for a set number of houses now resulting in more houses in the same plot of land making greater use when compared to what it was originally designed for. It’ll be interesting to see whether that consolodation and will translate into greater investment now that the government can leverage the balance sheet of the central bank to upgrade the infrastructure. Another thing I do hope they do is buy the council housing off councils and put it under the stewardship of ‘Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities’ (formally known as Housing New Zealand) – councils being able to reduce their debt burden by taking a maintenance item off their budget while still ensuring that those who need social housing are able to access it.