Broadband

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Purpose vs Discovery and the Internet as a Dynamic

I'm writing this in response to the myriad discussions about how to make sure that the Internet continues to "work" despite P2P or whatever the current threat seems to be. Behind much of the discussion is the presumption that the Internet has a purpose in the sense of making some applications like video games and VoIP work. Yesterday we feared modems, today we fear P2P. more

Would the Real Network Neutrality Please Stand Up?

I'm sure this is something that's been raked over before, but I don't see a common understanding of what 'Net Neutrality' actually is. Despite many of the Internetorati demanding it by law. There appear to be several different camps, which you could paint as "bottom of IP", "middle" and "top". The bottomistas would see enforced Internet Protocol itself as a premature optimisation and violation of the end-to-end principle. Unhappy that you only get IPv4 or IPv6? Still grumpy that you only have IPv4 and not even IPv6? Really miserable that your VoIP packets are staggering under the poisonous load of IPv6 headers? You're a bottomista. more

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Industry Soon to Be Largest Source of Co2 Emissions

Although on the production side the tar sands are one of the biggest sources of CO2 emissions, the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) industry, globally is the fastest growing and soon will be the largest source of CO2 emissions on the consumption side of the equation. ICT emissions are produced indirectly from the coal generated electricity that is used to power all of our devices. Currently it is estimated that ICT consumes around 10% all electrical power growing at about 6-10% per year. more

Will Low-Earth Orbit Satellite Internet Service Providers Succeed?

In 1990, Teledesic was formed to deliver satellite-based Internet service. Cellular pioneer Craig McCaw, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal were early investors and Boeing was both an investor and the prime contractor. Teledesic hoped to offer global Internet connectivity using a constellation of 840 satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 700 km... Teledesic failed. Twenty seven years later three companies SpaceX, OneWeb and Boeing are trying to do what Teledesic could not do. Will they succeed? more

IPv6 Over Satellite: Pie in the Sky?

I am writing this from the Satellite 2008 conference in Washington, D.C. As I make my way through the exhibits, I see many vendors advertising IP capabilities in their hardware products or network services. But when asked about IPv6 support, the common reply is a not so believable "it is on our roadmap" followed by a somewhat vague delivery date. Although IPv6 development has been slow across the board, it appears to be moving even more slowly in the satellite world... more

The Future of Home Networking: A Problem Statement

I'm a network engineer, and like many engineers I often gravitate to the big projects; large networks with problems of scale and complexity in my case. However, I also consider myself a student of Occam's razor and often quote Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: "perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." In this spirit of "less is more" I have recently become intrigued by the problems appearing in home networking. more

Google Fiber Project: Programming Key to Success

Google has officially rolled out its long-touted Google Fiber Project showcasing what broadband should look and feel like to all users. Yes, it sets the new standard for broadband connections with a 1Gig speedster, over 100 times faster than current broadband offerings in the U.S. Not-withstanding, just speed will not be the determining success factor; the availability of competitive programming will become the deciding judgment in Google's move to tout reasonable costs to bundled broadband. more

Simulation of OneWeb, SpaceX and Telesat's Proposed Global Broadband Constellations

Inigo del Portillo and his colleagues at MIT have run a simulation comparing OneWeb, SpaceX and Telesat's proposed low-Earth orbit Internet service constellations. The models are based on the initial FCC filings by the companies and demand and data-rate estimates by the authors. I will mention subsequent amendments to the filings below later in the post. more

IPTV vs IPTV+RF

The further we move into discussions about the implementation of national broadband networks the more issues crop up that need to be discussed in this context. One topic that is currently getting a great deal of attention is the need (or not) for an RF video layer to be deployed over the fibre network. Both business and technical elements are involved in this, but let's start with some of the business elements... more

Akamai Reports Record Streaming, Web Content on Obama's Presidential Inauguration

Web traffic delivery surged to record levels during President Barack Obama's inauguration yesterday, according to content delivery network provider, Akamai. As the largest day ever for the delivery of concurrent live streaming over Akamai's global servers, the company reported it delivered a peak of over 7 million active simultaneous streams (the majority being live streams) at approximately 12:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday, January 20, 2009. Typical simultaneous streams on an average day are less than 1 million. more

Google Voice Dispute Highlights an Opportunity for Mobile Network Operators

The recent row between Google, Apple and AT&T concerning the removal of Google Voice from the Apple iPhone store highlights the friction existing between network operators and so-called over the top (OTT) application providers. Most observers believe that AT&T initiated the blockade because Google Voice (which offers free or highly discounted calling rates) is a direct threat to AT&Ts call revenue (Google Voice users need only pay AT&T for access to the Internet). more

The Internet: Missing the Light

Today's Internet is wonderful for solving hard problems such as connecting to Amazon to buy goods or for using Netflix. Amazon and Netflix, among others, demonstrate what is possible if you put in enough effort. Yet if we are to understand the Internet we need to look beyond those applications to the simplest application such as sending one bit of information from a light switch to a light fixture. more

Online Video Watching Among Young Adults Near-Universal; Nine in Ten

According to a study by Pew Internet, nine in ten (89%) of young adults aged 18-29 are now watching videos online in a regular basis. Additionally, the study indicates that the share of online adults who watch videos on sites such as YouTube and other video-sharing sites has nearly doubled since 2006. "Fully 62% of adult internet users have watched a video on these sites, up from just 33% who reported this in December 2006," according to the report. more

FCC's Comcast Ruling Inconsistent and Incoherent

After voting on the Comcast order today, Kevin Martin and his Democratic Party colleagues issued press releases telling us how they saved the Internet from Comcast's discriminatory practices, but they've failed to release the actual order they adopted and subsequently re-wrote. Commissioner McDowell wasn't allowed to see the revised order until 7:00 PM the night before the meeting. Rumor has it that high-level spin doctors are still trying to remove all the rough edges, inconsistencies, and factual errors. more

700 MHz Update: Will VZ Comply with the Rules?

Last Friday (HT: IPDemocracy), Google filed a petition [PDF] asking that the Commission ensure that Verizon understands what those "open platform" requirements for the C Block really mean. Verizon has taken the position in the past that its own devices won't be subject to the "open applications" and "open handsets" requirements of the C Block rules, and Google says it is concerned that Verizon doesn't plan to follow those requirements in the future. This is big. Here's the background... more