Telecom / Most Commented

We Urgently Need a New Internet

Let's be honest about it. Nobody -- including those very clever people that were present at its birth -- had the slightest idea what impact the internet would have in only a few decades after its invention. The internet has now penetrated every single element of our society and of our economy, and if we look at how complex, varied and historically different our societies are, it is no wonder that we are running into serious problems with the current version of our internet. more

Bandwidth: Why Fast is Important in a Global Economy

Bandwidth is the basic foundation for Internet traffic as a connector to everything important in our lives. Whether it is basic bandwidth for connecting to family and friends, or a super fast highway for global reach and competitiveness in the business world, bandwidth constitutes the speed at which we connect as a global presence within the expanding sphere of Internet communication. ... To understand why bandwidth is important to all Americans, including personal and business uses, we must understand the different types Internet traffic. more

Crawford Likes Aussie Utility Network

Susan Crawford, special assistant to the president for science, technology and innovation policy and a member of the National Economic Council, is reported to be favorably inclined towards a U.S. network much like Australia's recently announced $33B broadband plan. Of course, the U.S. is some 15 times bigger than Australia, and that'd make the price tag closer to $500B by straight multiplication. But the U.S. would get a fiber network done right... more

Deep Packet Inspection: When the Man-In-The-Middle Wants Money

Say you're walking down the sidewalk having a talk with your best friend about all kinds of things. What if you found out later that the sidewalk you were using wasn't really a sidewalk -- but instead a kind of false-front giant copying machine, unobstrusively vacuuming up what you were saying and adding to its database of information about you? Or, say you send a letter to a client of yours (to the extent you still do this), and it turns out later that your letter was intercepted, steamed open, and the contents were read... more

Note to John McCain: Technology Matters

One would think that, in 2008, the significance of the Internet and information technology would be universally acknowledged. That makes the recent news from the Presidential campaign a bit shocking. After ignoring technology issues for the past year, John McCain is poised to announce his great insight: tech policy isn't worthy of attention from the President of the United States. This is what I draw from the announcement that former FCC Chairman Michael Powell is drafting a technology plan for McCain, to be released shortly... What concerns me most is what the McCain plan apparently leaves out... more

Up to 300 Megawatt Worth of Keepalive Messages to be Saved by IPv6?

The Time Square Ball bringing in 2008 had more than 9,500 LED bulbs displaying 16 million colours while consuming power equivalent to about ten toasters. This compares to 600 incandescent and halogen bulbs adorning last year's Ball. Easy to forget that most mobile devices used by Time Square revelers were behind IPv4 NAT's and that always on applications such as Instant Messaging, Push e-mail, VoIP or location based services tend to be electricity guzzlers. It so happens that applications that we want always to be reachable have to keep sending periodic keepalive messages to keep the NAT state active... more

The Fragile Network

One of the more persistent founding myths around the internet is that it was designed to be able to withstand a nuclear war, built by the US military to ensure that even after the bombs had fallen there would still be communications between surviving military bases. It isn't true, of course. The early days of the ARPANET, the research network that predated today's internet, were dominated by the desire of computer scientists to find ways to share time on expensive mainframe computers rather than visions of Armageddon. Yet the story survives... more

Net Neutrality Is As Silly As So-Called Internet Governance

From the perspective of Internet security operations, here is what Net Neutrality means to me. I am not saying these issues aren't important, I am saying they are basically arguing over the colour of bits and self-marginalizing themselves. For a while now I tried not to comment on the Net Neutrality non-issue, much like I didn't comment much on the whole "owning the Internet by owning the Domain Name System" thingie. Here it goes anyway. Two years ago I strongly advocated that consumer ISP's should block some ports, either as incident response measures or as permanent security measures... more

Twenty Myths and Truths About IPv6 and the US IPv6 Transition

After hearing over 350 presentations on IPv6 from IPv6-related events in the US (seven of them), China, Spain, Japan, and Australia, and having had over 3,000 discussions about IPv6 with over a thousand well-informed people in the IPv6 community, I have come to the conclusion that all parties, particularly the press, have done a terrible job of informing people about the bigger picture of IPv6, over the last decade, and that we need to achieve a new consensus that doesn't include so much common wisdom that is simply mythical. There are many others in a position to do this exercise better than I can, and I invite them to make a better list than mine, which follows. more

An Open Letter to Big Tech CFOs: Save the Internet Before You’re Forced

Dear Chief Financial Officers of tech giants, the internet is in crisis, and you can lead your organization to help solve the problem. You'll be well compensated, and you'll enjoy massive public relations benefits. I fear that if you don't, global governments will force your hand. There is a shortage of available IPv4 addresses but we are years away (possibly a decade or more) from IPv6 viability and adoption in North America. more

The Directory Dilemma - Why Facebook, Google and Skype May Win the Mobile App War

As much as I am enjoying the new Wire app, there is a fundamental dilemma that Wire faces... as well as Talko, Firefox Hello, Subrosa and every other Over-The-Top (OTT) or WebRTC application that is seeking to become THE way that we communicate via voice, chat and/or video from our mobile phones and desktops. That is: How do they gather the "directory" of people that others want to talk to? more

Planning for the Ugly End of the Phone Network

Consumers who have a choice are quickly deciding they don't need the old copper-based phone network, often known as POTS for Plain Old Telephone Service. We use our cellphones for talking even when we're not mobile. The cell phones have built in phone directories, easy ways to return calls, the ability to call a number on a web page; and we don't share them with our parents or children... It's a good year for traditional phone companies when they don't lose more than 10% of their POTS lines. more

Are Google, Microsoft and Apple the Next Utilities in Telecoms?

Over the last few years the increasing amount of discussion about telecoms reveals that the real competition for telecoms companies is not from other telcos, but companies such as Google and others. While I agree with this, obviously it is important to analyse it further. more

Net Neutrality and the Obama Stimulus Package

As long as US telecom is duopoly dominated, a neutral Internet is endangered if not impossible; regulation of this kind of concentrated power is necessary but is unlikely to be sufficient. The solution, IMHO, is to dilute the power of the duopoly so that consumers can buy whatever kind of Internet access they want. Countries like the UK with a competitive ISP market do not seem to have net neutrality problems nor require net neutrality regulation and have better Internet access than we do at lower prices. more

Study Assesses Potential Impact of DNSSEC on Broadband Consumers, Results Not Good

Recent collaborative test by Core Competence and Nominet have concluded that 75% of common residential and small SOHO routers and firewall devices used with broadband services do not operate with full DNSSEC compatibility "out of the box". The report presents and analyzes technical findings, their potential impact on DNSSEC use by broadband consumers, and implications for router/firewall manufacturers. Included in its recommendations, the report suggests that as vendors apply DNSSEC and other DNS security fixes to devices, consumers should be encouraged to upgrade to the latest firmware. more