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The 5G Race in Reno

The past week in the 5G world was notable because of some major events in Reno in the 5G race to roll out the full 5G specifications known as Release 16. A set of seven major concurrent industry standards meetings were hosted there over five days last week. The metrics are indicative of who really participates in and shapes the rapidly emerging 5G platforms. more

Advancing Cyberstability: Protect the Public Internet Core and Improve Cyber Hygiene

The Paris Peace Forum (PPF), established by the French president Emanual Macron, was picked by the Global Commission for Stability in Cyberspace (GCSC) to launch its final report "Advancing Cyberstability" for good reasons: The Internet isn't just a purely technical issue with some political implications anymore. On the eve of the 2020s, the management of cyberspace is a global problem, a matter of international security, a question of war or peace. more

The Early History of Usenet, Part IV: Implementation and User Experience

To understand some of our implementation choices, it's important to remember two things. First, the computers of that era were slow. The Unix machine at UNC's CS department was slower than most timesharing machines even for 1979 – we had a small, slow disk, a slow CPU, and – most critically – not nearly enough RAM. Duke CS had a faster computer – they had an 11/70; we had an 11/45 -- but since I was doing the first implementation, I had to use what UNC had. (Log in remotely? more

Nielsen's Law of Internet Bandwidth

One of the more interesting rules-of-thumb in the industry is Nielsen's Law of Internet bandwidth, which states that: A high-end user's connection speed grows by 50% per year. This 'law' was postulated by Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group in 1998 and subsequently updated in 2008 and 2019. Nielsen started by looking at usage for himself and other big data users, going back to a 300 bps (bits per second) modem used in 1984. more

Thoughts of an ICANN Public Interest Stakeholder on the Intended Sale of the .ORG Registry

The announcement of the intended Internet Society (ISOC) sale of the .ORG registry to Ethos Capital has caused a lot of frustration and anger while raising a lot of questions.
It's more than just about the money. It's more than who is behind it. It's about the soul of the DNS and the ICANN community with its multi-stakeholder model. Let's remember that the Public Interest Registry (PIR) was created, with ISOC as its sole legal owner, to provide ISOC with the funds to operate and to run the registry more-or-less as a Social Business. more

5G for Fixed Connectivity in Cuba

ETECSA reports that over 110,100 Cuban households have DSL connectivity using their Nauta Hogar service. There are also shared facilites – 986 WiFi hotspots (127 in Havana) and 347 Navigation Rooms (44 in Havana) with 1,309 computers (304 in Havana). These services are dead-ends on the road to hoped-for "computerization." The Cuban population is around 11 million so, after three years, roughly one person in 100 lives in a Nauta home and the services are limited geographically... more

The Early History of Usenet, Part III: File Format

When we set out to design the over-the-wire file format, we were certain of one thing: we wouldn't get it perfectly right. That led to our first decision: the very first character of the transmitted file would be the letter "A" for the version. Why not a number on the first line, including perhaps a decimal point? If we ever considered that, I have no recollection of it. more

The Early History of Usenet, Part II: Hardware and Economics

There was a planning meeting for what became Usenet at Duke CS. We knew three things, and three things only: we wanted something that could be used locally for administrative messages, we wanted a networked system, and we would use uucp for intersite communication. This last decision was more or less by default: there were no other possibilities available to us or to most other sites that ran standard Unix. Furthermore, all you needed to run uucp was a single dial-up modem port. more

The Early History of Usenet, Part I: The Technological Setting

Usenet -- Netnews -- was conceived almost exactly 40 years ago this month. To understand where it came from and why certain decisions were made the way they were, it's important to understand the technological constraints of the time. Metanote: this is a personal history as I remember it. None of us were taking notes at the time; it's entirely possible that errors have crept in, especially since my brain cells do not even have parity checking, let alone ECC. Please send any corrections. more

Cybersecurity Standards Practices as Cyber Threats

One of the most embarrassing and pernicious realities in the world of cybersecurity is the stark reality that some industry cybersecurity standards practices are themselves cyber threats. How so? Most industry and intergovernmental standards bodies serve as means for assembling the constantly evolving collective knowledge of participant experts and package the resulting specifications and best practices as freely available online documents to a vast, diverse universe of users. more

Do Cable Companies Have a Wireless Advantage?

The big wireless companies have been wrangling for years with the issues associated with placing small cells on poles. Even with new FCC rules in their favor, they are still getting a lot of resistance from communities. Maybe the future of urban/suburban wireless lies with the big cable companies. Cable companies have a few major cost advantages over the wireless companies, including the ability to bypass the pole issue. The first advantage is the ability to deploy mid-span cellular small cells. more

Trump's Strange WRC-19 Letter

The 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19) is underway. It is the latest in a continuum of treaty-making gatherings that began in 1903 and is devoted to the now 116-year-old art of globally carving up the radio spectrum among designated uses that is instantiated in the Radio Regulations treaty agreement. Not unexpectedly, the event includes designation of 5G spectrum that flows from the requirements long set in 3GPP and GSMA. more

What to Expect From SpaceX Starlink Broadband Service Next Year and Beyond

Last May, SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted "6 more launches of 60 sats needed for minor coverage, 12 for moderate" and SpaceX President and CEO Gwynne Shotwell recently said they planned to be offering service in parts of the US in mid-2020, which would require six to eight 60-satellite launches. The first of those launches will be in the middle of this month on a thrice-flown Falcon 9 booster. (They will also need customer terminals and Elon Musk has used a prototype to post a tweet from his home). more

DNS Wars

The North American Network Operators' Group (NANOG) is now quite an institution for the Internet, particularly in the North American Internet community. It was an offshoot of the Regional Techs meetings, which were part of the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) framework of the late 80s and early 90s. NANOG has thrived since then and is certainly one of the major network operational forums in today's Internet – if not the preeminent forum for network operators for the entire Internet. more

Considerations on the High-Level Panel's "Internet Governance Forum Plus" Model

The Fourteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will convene in Berlin three weeks from tomorrow. One of the highlights of the meeting could be the main session on Internet Governance and Digital Cooperation that is to be held on Day 1, 26 November 2019. The session is to consider some of the recommendations contained in the June report from the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation, most notably the panel's proposal to revamp the IGF... more

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