What is the last mile?

What is the last mile? The “last mile” is a widely accepted phrase used in the internet industry, especially when referring to connectivity, but what exactly does it mean? Does it literally mean the last actual mile of the line? Put simply, no.

Last mile is used to refer to the final leg of the telecommunications network delivery components to the end user. The last mile is typically the speed bottleneck in communication networks, and its bandwidth effectively limits the bandwidth of data that can be delivered to the end user. To use a tree analogy, telecommunication providers have a huge topology of trees, with relatively few very high capacity trunks that work as communication channels, branching out to feed many of the last mile stalks inside the leaves.

Aggregation is a method of bonding multiple lines to achieve a faster, more reliable connection. Some companies believe that ADSL aggregation (or “bonding”) is the solution to the UK’s last mile problem.