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Using Bigger Bandwidth Applications

The recent Cisco Annual Internet Report for 2018–2023 had one chart that I found intriguing. The purpose of Cisco's report is to look at the future of broadband usage, and the report included a chart showing the amount of bandwidth needed for various web functions. To me, this list was reminiscent of the list that the FCC made in 2015 when they set the definition of broadband at 25/3 Mbps -- except that all of the items on this list require more bandwidth than the functions the FCC foresaw just five years ago. more

Societies Running on Quicksand: A Critical Look at Today's Networks

The last few weeks have reinforced the importance of modern communication networks to societies. Health care providers, schools, governments, and businesses all rely on networks that enable us to connect and collaborate remotely. Had we encountered a similar pandemic ten years ago, we would not have been able to continue our activities on the level that is possible today. more

Quantifying the Homework Gap – Finally a Definitive Study

The Quello Center that is part of the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University just released a definitive study that looks at the impact of lack of broadband on students. The study was done in conjunction with Merit Networks, the organization that acts as the ISP for schools in Michigan. I describe the study as definitive because it used study techniques that isolate the impact of broadband from other factors such as sex, race, and family income. more

A New Busy Hour – One of the Many Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic

One of the many consequences of the coronavirus is that networks are going to see a shift in busy hour traffic. Busy hour traffic is just what it sounds like -- it's the time of the day when a network is busiest, and network engineers design networks to accommodate the expected peak amount of bandwidth usage. Verizon reported on March 18 that in the week since people started moving to work from home that they've seen a 20% overall increase in broadband traffic. more

Low-Orbit Satellite Security

I've been watching the progress of the low-orbit satellite providers, which are promising to bring broadband solutions across the planet. There has been some serious movement since the last time I discussed their status. On January 29, Starlink launched its latest round of low-orbit satellites, bringing the number in space to 242. Not all of these will be delivering broadband. The first half dozen satellites were test units to try out various concepts. more

Apple Satellites?

Word has leaked out that Apple is working on a satellite project. The company is at the beginning of the research project, so there is no way to know exactly what they have in mind. For example, is the company considering launching satellites, or would they lease capacity from one of the other planned satellite networks? The fact that Apple is working on the concept is a good segue to discuss the many ways that satellite connectivity could be useful to Apple or other companies. more

Most Employees in Rural America Can't Work From Home Due to Lack of Required Broadband Speeds

One of the hottest topics in the news related to coronavirus is working from home. Companies of all sizes are telling employees to work from home as a way to help curb the spread of the virus. Companies without work-at-home policies are scrambling to define how to make this work to minimize disruption to their business. Allowing employees to work at home is not a new phenomenon. more

Cyberspace Solarium Commission Report

The Cyberspace Solarium Report released today is another, in an endless string of reports, that disgorge from Washington committees dealing with the eternal mantra of "defending American interests and values in cyberspace." The challenges (and many reports) here trace back 170 years when transnational telecommunication internets emerged. The dialogue and reports scaled in the 1920s with the emergence of radio internets and cyber threats, then again in the early 1980s... more

Geely’s LEO Constellation for Mobile Vehicle Connectivity

The Geely Holding Group (GHG) is a private Chinese conglomerate that is highly diversified but best known as an auto manufacturer that envisions itself as a "global mobile technology group." GHG announced this week that it has begun construction of an intelligent satellite production and testing facility that will include modular satellite manufacturing, satellite testing, satellite R&D, and cloud computing centers. more

The Growth Rate of Broadband Speeds

Cisco has changed the name of its periodic predictions of broadband usage from the Visual Networking Index to the Annual Broadband Report, and recently issued a report that covers the period from 2018 to predictions made through 2023. Cisco is one of the few industry players that projects future broadband usage. Their past reports have been spot on in terms of predicting future broadband usage. more