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Potential Impacts of Large-Scale Metaverses on Internet Governance: Bandwidth

Neal Stephenson’s foundational cyberpunk novel Snow Crash brought to the public the concept of a metaverse, a virtual reality in which people interact using avatars in a manufactured ecosystem, eschewing the limitations of human existence. More recently, Ready Player One capitalized on that idea and brought it back to prominence with a bestselling novel and subsequent film adaptation. Amid rebranding efforts and seeking a new way forward, Mark Zuckerberg has made it Facebook’s (now Meta Platforms) priority to build a platform that could enable the metaverse to become a mainstream technology with the sort of reach that their social networks and WhatsApp have. more

Fifty Years On – What to Expect in the Next 50 Years of the Internet

When did the Internet begin? It all gets a bit hazy after so many years, but by the early 1970s, research work in packet-switched networks was well underway, and while it wasn't running TCP at the time (the flag day when the ARPANET switched over to use TCP was not until 1 January 1983) but there was the base datagram internet protocol running in the early research ARPA network in the US. Given that this is now around 50 years ago, and given that so much has happened in the last 50 years, what does the next 50 years have in store? more

How Will Rural Chileans Use SpaceX Starlink?

The Chilean Undersecretary of Telecommunications (SUBTEL) has begun a year-long pilot study of SpaceX's Starlink satellite Internet service. I don't know how many test locations they are planning, but the first two have been selected. Last week I discussed the first, the John F. Kennedy school in Sotomó, an isolated town at 41.6° South on a fjord in Chile's Lake Region, and the second will be in Caleta Sierra on the coast about 1,200 miles north of Sotomó. SpaceX is also considering a European pilot study in Georgia and perhaps (hopefully) others. more

The Cuban Internet in the Aftermath of the Anti-Government Protests

In an earlier post, I looked at the use of the Internet by anti-government protesters last month and the government's attempt to block them. Now, a few weeks later, let's see how the Internet changed after my July 18 post. The protesters used messaging and social media services, which the government tried to block, and posted images and videos of protests around the island. more

Satellites and Cellular Backhaul

Elon Musk recently announced that he was going to be providing cellular backhaul from the Starlink constellation of satellites. This makes a lot of sense from a financial perspective in that it avoids the costly wired fiber networks needed to reach rural cell sites. This is clearly a shot across the bow for companies that currently bring fiber connectivity to rural cell sites. more

Computing Clouds in Orbit – A Possible Roadmap

Last week, I predicted that much of the Internet and most cloud datacenters would launch into space in the next ten years. Today the only part of the Internet in space is a very small amount of "bent-pipe" access: signals which go from a user to a satellite and bounce back down to a ground station which feeds them into the terrestrial internet where all processing is done and all queries answered by internet-connected servers, many of them in cloud data centers. more

The Internet and the Cloud Are Going Into Space

Unlike Bezos and Branson, they're going to stay there. Today we have space-based internet access and a terrestrial internet; within ten years, we'll have a space-based internet. Internet traffic will travel more miles in space than on terrestrial fiber. By that time, the great cloud data centers of Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and their competitors and successors will mostly be in orbit as well. Five years from now, this transition will be obvious, accepted, and well underway... more

5G Base Stations $13,000 in China

Most carriers don't order 200,000 5G base stations, so they will pay more, but that's the actual price for the joint procurement of China Telecom and China Unicom. The 200,000-300,000 cells the two jointly are upgrading are probably more than the entire rest of the world will add. The second Chinese network, jointly built by China Mobile and China Broadcast, is growing even faster. more

Elon Musk Interview: SpaceX, Starlink and His Motivation and Philosophy

Elon Musk packed a lot about SpaceX and Starlink into a 32-minute interview at the 2021 Mobile World Congress and ended with a discussion of his motivation and the roles of his three companies - SpaceX, Starlink, and Neuralnk. Let's start with the SpaceX and Starlink update and conclude with the philosophy and motivation. (Scroll to the end of the post for the video of the interview). more

An Attack on WiFi Spectrum

A little over a year ago, the FCC approved the use of 1,200 MHz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band for public use -- for new WiFi. WiFi is already the most successful deployment of spectrum ever. A year ago, Cisco predicted that by 2022 that WiFi will be carrying more than 50% of global IP traffic. These are amazing statistics when you consider that WiFi has been limited to using 70 MHz of spectrum in the 2.4 GHz spectrum band and 500 MHz in the 5 GHz spectrum band. more