26 Jan Not up to speed: What real broadband is all about
Did you know at the beginning of the year, Japan announced their objective for broadband connectivity by 2010 is 10 Gigabits? In some recent discussions I have had, some industry pundits think that 1 Gigabit is too high to aim for.
A couple of megabits or even 30 to 40 Mbps to the premise as a design goal is an obsolete objective, unless you are aiming us into a third-rate infrastructure for the future.
As I have been saying at national conferences, regional seminars like the recent one with SimpleTel in Madison, Wis. featuring Dantel, Connect802, and Matisse Networks, as well as within my columns for years, “Broadband connectivity today means providing gigabit speeds.” Period.
The only people that do not want to hear this are those tied to products and network services that have sub-gigabit maximums. These people do not want to hear that what they are supporting is obsolete and not globally competitive. Why is this such a hard thing for some industry executives and supposed network infrastructure vendors and designers to accept?
Now I know how Columbus felt in front of the Academy of Science, when he tried to tell all the learned experts and academics that the Earth is round, not flat. Am I that far on the leading edge? I really don’t think so, but after talking with some, I feel like Captain Kirk talking with Fred Flintstone.
Are you beating a dead horse?
Last week, I spoke at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando at the annual Building Industry Consulting Services International (BICSI) Winter Conference, and my presentation on Intelligent Business Campuses discussed new high-tech parks that must be supported with multiple network carriers as well as multiple gigabit speed network infrastructure was well-received. There were still a couple of attendees that bristled when I said we must get into gigabit network infrastructures immediately and anything in the planning stages today should reflect an infrastructure that can handle multiple gigabit speeds on day one.
The real experts came up and agreed that we need to have gigabit speeds within cities’ network infrastructures and that the issue of broadband connectivity being defined as gigabit speeds today was right on target. It was refreshing to hear that at least some of today’s equivalent “Academy of Science” people bought into the concept.
How many times must I point out that just putting DSL over copper is like putting a vinyl top on a stagecoach and trying to sell it as “a real fast alternative” in the era of the space shuttle? Fewer and fewer people are buying into copper-based capabilities when they see other countries talking about multiple gigabit speeds while we are debating whether or not 20 to 30 Mbps on copper is adequate for the next five to seven years.
In my seminar, we also debunked some of the pseudo-expert euphoria about installing T1s into a business and claiming that it made them “really up-to-date” as far as network connectivity.
Some basic connectivity questions were asked as part of the presentation including this one:
Did you know when the first T1 was installed? (Answer: 1963)
That question stumped just about everyone in the room. Many thought it was much later in the 1980s. So anyone claiming that they just installed a T1 and think they are “state-of-the-art” are really installing technology that has been around for 45 years.
Critical infrastructure through the ages
Infrastructure has always played an important part in developing and sustaining global commerce. In all stages of economic development and trade throughout the ages, various layers of infrastructure helped build new commerce.
My presentation pointed out the historical layers of critical infrastructure for commerce and trade:
All of these examples created new routes for commerce, transportation, and trade. We have built trade routes to develop and sustain regional viability. Now with the Internet and other network services, trade routes have become electronic.
Today, broadband connectivity is the latest layer of critical infrastructure that is needed to provide new electronic trade routes to support economic development and regional sustainability.
The slide from Matisse Networks show where connectivity is going. (See PowerPoint attachment) It is a switching configuration that maximizes fiber connectivity into multiple gigabit segments. The switching gear can dynamically allocate bandwidth as network traffic is routed around the metropolitan area.
Nodes that provide up to 160Gbps on a Metropolitan Area Network are the latest iteration of urban connectivity using fiber. It is a big step beyond SONET (Synchronous Optical Networks), and 10Gbps will be the norm and fractional gigabit services will be available. Hopefully, this puts an end to the discussions by those contemplating lesser speed networks that do not have the raw bandwidth to sustain major metropolitan networks.
If you are truly building for the future, no one should be talking about megabit speeds to subscribers. If you are truly building for the future, you are building multiple gigabit speeds with a minimum of one gigabit to a subscriber.
“Do not quote a megabit rate, when discussing network infrastructure after 2008.” This should be adopted by anyone who professes to know what the typical metropolitan network infrastructure should evolve to. States as well as metropolitan areas should be looking at this for economic growth and regional sustainability.
Anyone with less than a gigabit as a goal for network infrastructures must be uninformed or trying to protect an obsolete product or service. In either case, they are not up to speed (pun intended).
CARLINI-ISM Aim high or be shot down by the competition.
Recent articles by James Carlini
• James Carlini: Sluggish economic predictions and lessons from Michigan
• Jim Carlini: Readers get a charge out of presidential critique
• James Carlini: Network infrastructure and holiday cocktail parties
• James Carlini: Broadband and other blowback from frustrated voters
This article previously appeared in MidwestBusiness.com, and was reprinted with its permission.
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