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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

In Praise of Relatively Dumb Pipes

Comcast's furtive and undisclosed traffic manipulation reminds me of a curious, red herring asserted by some incumbent carriers and their sponsored researchers: that without complete freedom to vertically and horizontally integrate the carriers would lose synergies, efficiencies and be relegated to operating "dumb pipes."... Constructing and operating the pipes instead of creating the stuff that traverses them gets a bad rap. It may not be sexy, but it probably has less risk. But of course with less risk comes less reward, and suddenly no one in the telecommunications business is content with that. So incumbent carriers assert that convergence and competitive necessity requires them to add "value" to the pipes. more

Exploring the Roots of Wireless Spectrum Controversy (eComm Panel)

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the The Emerging Communications (eComm) 2009 conference in San Francisco which was packed with 3 days of fascinating conversations about the future of communications. I absolutely enjoyed talking to various speakers and attendees giving me a deep level of appreciation and perspective on technical, commercial and political issues at hand -- and what is likely to come in the next few years. And speaking of politics, Lee Dryburgh, who founded eComm in early 2008, has generously allowed us to share with you a fascinating panel discussion which took place on day 3 of the conference called "Spectrum 2.0 - What's really happening?" 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

Questions on the Impact of Trees on SpaceX Starlink

The Starlink Web site says, "Starlink is targeting service in the Northern U.S. and Canada in 2020, rapidly expanding to near-global coverage of the populated world by 2021," but the rollout will not be uniform. The initial coverage will be centered around 53 degrees latitude, and locations with unobstructed views of the sky will have an advantage. Like many folks, I wonder about coverage at my particular location in a wooded mountain area at 34.8462° N latitude. more

Squirrels Are the Number One Culprit for Animal Damage to Aerial Fiber

These cute rodents are the number one culprit for animal damage to aerial fiber. To a lesser degree, fiber owners report similar damage by rats and mice. Squirrels mainly chew on cables as a way to sharpen their teeth. Squirrel teeth grow up to 8 inches per year and if squirrels aren't wearing their teeth down from their diet, they look for other things to chew. more

China Continues to Add 30M Broadband Subscribers Per Year

China continues to add broadband subscribers at a rate of about 30M per year. MIIT puts the January growth at 2.5M to a total of 152.5M. Of those, about 1.5M were DSL. They don't release fiber counts, but Jeff Heynen of Infonetics is reporting tens of millions of lines of fiber gear are in the pipeline. China has been consistently at 2-3M net adds per month. Two key policy moves are likely to maintain or even increase the growth rate. 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

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

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

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 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

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

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

Industry Updates

i2Coalition and DNA Merger Creates North America's Largest Internet Infrastructure Advocacy Group

i2Coalition Launches Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Internet Infrastructure Providers

Currents of Change: Empowering the Growth and Interplay of Subsea and Interconnection

i2Coalition Statement on FCC Passage of "Restoring Internet Freedom Order"

Ofcom Benchmarking UK Broadband Performance Welcomed, But Needs Considerable Improvement

Neustar Chief Technology Officer Appointed to FCC's Technological Advisory Council

Neustar Labs Innovation Center Grand Opening (Video)

How Secure is Your Mobile Network? And Does It Even Matter? (Webinar)

Neustar and University of Illinois Launch the Neustar Innovation Center

Nominum Launches World's First Purpose-Built Suite of DNS‐Based Solutions for Mobile Operators

72 Confirmed Talks - If You're Attending, Now is the Time to Register

eComm 2009: Discussions on Restructuring Global Telecoms

Ben Scott and Free Press in the Network Age

Supernova Interview: David Isenberg

Wendy Seltzer Interview: How Law Impacts the Network Age