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Disappearing Telephony

I'm just stepping back a minute to think about what Emerging Telephony actually is. You might have seen my earlier musings on the different philosophical underpinnings of "Western" telephony and "Eastern" thought. In an oversimplified nutshell, the Western approach puts the individual in the centre of the universe. The Eastern idea is to put the group in the middle. more

IPv6: Extinction, Evolution or Revolution?

For some years now the general uptake of IPv6 has appeared to be "just around the corner". Yet the Internet industry has so far failed to pick up and run with this message, and it continues to be strongly reluctant to make any substantial widespread commitment to deploy IPv6. Some carriers are now making some initial moves in terms of migrating their internet infrastructure over to a dual protocol network, but for many others it's a case of still watching and waiting for what they think is the optimum time to make a move. So when should we be deploying IPv6 services? At what point will the business case for IPv6 have a positive bottom line? It's a tough question to answer, and while advice of "sometime, probably sooner than later" is certainly not wrong, it's also entirely unhelpful as well! more

The Search for Net Neutrality

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, freely available version) examines the growing trend toward a two-tiered Internet, which upends the longstanding principle of network neutrality under which ISPs treat all data equally. I argue that the network neutrality principle has served ISPs, Internet companies, and Internet users well. It has enabled ISPs to plausibly argue that they function much like common carriers and that they should therefore be exempt from liability for the content that passes through their systems. ...Notwithstanding its benefits, in recent months ISPs have begun to chip away at the principle. more

Flushing the ‘Net Down the Tubes

Doc Searls has written a brilliant piece framing the battle for the 'Net at Linux Journal. The piece is long, but if you take the time to read just one essay on the 'Net and the politics surround it this year, read this one. If you're involved in public policy, it's especially important that you take the time to understand what's at stake here. One of Doc's main points: we haven't framed the conversation correctly and our poor choice of words makes the argument seem overly technical and arcane when it's really about freedom, markets, and innovation. 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

Vint Cerf Speaking Out on Internet Neutrality

In a U.S. congress hearing held yesterday November 9th, significant focus was projected on "network neutrality" and a new telecommunications bill affecting the Internet. "This bill could fundamentally alter the fabulously successful end-to-end Internet," says Alan Davidson in the post on Google blog. Vint Cerf was not able to testify because of the Presidential Medal of Freedom award ceremony at the White House, but submitted the following letter to the hearing... more

Welcome to the Root, .MOBI

mTLD's .mobi entered the root zone on Tuesday, quietly contrasted amidst all of the recent ICANN/VeriSign announcements. The .mobi mTLD is a Dublin, Ireland based joint venture between the Nokia Corporation, Vodafone Group Services Limited, and Microsoft. The .mobi domain was granted to service a sponsored community, consisting of: Individual and business consumers of mobile devices, services and applications; Content and service providers; Mobile operators; Mobile device manufacturers and vendors; IT technology and software vendors who serve the mobile community, and there are numerous benefits of .mobi to this community. more

Neustar and .GPRS

Ever since Neustar announced they signed a deal with GSMA to oversea global database for the mobile operators last week (see also Washington Post), there are many debates about the deal online. "Neustar, a company that should certainly know better, has announced that they're going to create a .gprs TLD to serve the mobile phone industry This, of course, requires creation of a private root zone, against the very strong warnings in RFC 2826" said Steven Bellovin. To the more supportive John Levine: "This isn't quite as stupid as it seems. The GSM industry needs some way to maintain its roaming user database, the database is getting considerably more complicated with 3G features, and it looks to me like they made a reasonable decision to use DNS over IP to implement it rather than inventing yet another proprietary distributed database." more

The Great Internet Transformation? A First Stab

Is it just a coincidence that some of the leading Internet-based application companies are pushing aggressively into network connectivity at exactly the same time the major telephone companies are pushing into content? Or are we witnessing the end of the Internet as we know it? Think back to the online world fifteen years ago. There was AOL, there was Compuserve, there was Prodigy, and there was Apple's eWorld. Sure, there were researchers and students posting to Usenet newsgroups and navigating through Gopher sites, but the Internet was a sideshow for individuals and business users. ...the online world of those days was fragmented and small. Every online service was an island. Are we going back to those days? more

Whither DNS?

The Domain Name System is often though of as an integral part of the Internet. Without it, how can you ever locate anything? Well, quite easily, thank you very much. DNS is used implicitly for many services, such as web browsing. It also includes explicit extensions for a few applications such as e-mail. (I'm talking here about DNS the system, not DNS the technology that can be re-purposed to things like ENUM.) But the most notable thing about DNS is its receding importance... more