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The Battle for IoT

There is an interesting battle going on to be the technology that monetizes the control of Internet of Things devices. Like a lot of tech hype, IoT has developed a lot slower than initially predicted -- but it's now finally becoming a big business. I think back to a decade ago when tech prognosticators said we'd soon be living in a virtual cloud of small monitors that would monitor everything in our life. According to those early predictions, our farm fields should already be fully automated, and we should all be living in the smart home envisioned by the Jetsonsmore

Is Technology the Problem?

We do live in turbulent times. There is such a lot happening, with many people feeling overwhelmed and lost. One of the reasons given why we do have these problems is technology. I would argue against that. In all reality, technology is a tool that we can use, and yes, we all know that we can use it for the wrong reasons (cars kill people, atom bombs, killer robots, chemical and biological warfare and so on). However, we have learned to live with it, and in general, the outcome from science, innovation and technology has been positive. more

Top Broadband Stories of 2021

Every year I write a blog talking about the trends that I think we're likely to see in the coming year. But 2021 was such an unusual year for all of us that I thought it would also be useful to talk about what we accomplished in the industry over the last year while fending off a pandemic. All in all, it was quite a year. more

Fixed Cellular Broadband Performance

One of the first in-depth reviews I’ve found for T-Mobile’s fixed cellular broadband was published in the Verve. It’s not particularly flattering to T-Mobile, and this particular customer found the performance to be unreliable – fast sometimes and barely functioning at other times. But I’ve seen other T-Mobile customers raving about the speeds they are receiving. We obviously can’t draw any conclusions based upon a single review by one customer... more

My Broadband Predictions for 2022

It's that time of the year for me to get out the crystal ball and peer into 2022... I have no idea why it took a year for the administration to tee up a new Chairman and recommend a fifth FCC Commissioner. But once a new Commissioner is seated, the new FCC will tackle reinstating some version of Title II regulation, accompanied by net neutrality regulations. For yet another year, this won't come from Congress, which is the only permanent solution. more

Why the Cloud Is the Solution for Telecom Upgrades

With so much "cloud-talk" across every industry -- many presume that every company with serious telecom operations has already moved there -- but they haven't. In fact, 20 to 25% of global companies are still using legacy PBX systems and MPLS networks and waiting to replace them and move over to SD-Wan/mesh solutions. These advancements can be done successfully after an infrastructure audit has been conducted to identify operational weaknesses and threat vulnerabilities and measuring efficiencies of each feature for usage optimization and increased productivity. more

Fixing the Supply Chain

Almost everybody in the broadband industry is now aware that the industry is suffering supply chain issues. ISPs are having problems obtaining many of the components needed to build a fiber network in a timely manner, which is causing havoc with fiber construction projects. I've been doing a lot of investigation into supply chain issues, and it turns out the supply chain is a lot more complex than I ever suspected, which means it's not going to be easy to get the supply chain back to normal. 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

Our New Infrastructure

Today, there is demand for more broadband as people realize the importance of being connected to the Internet, whether to access websites, stream entertainment, attend school, attend family events, work remotely, and so much more. This demand has been driven by the success of today's Internet. It is now time to recognize the Internet as infrastructure. The Internet's best-effort approach has allowed us to share the abundant capacity latent in the existing facilities by converting all traffic into packets. more

Improvements in Undersea Fiber

We often forget that a lot of things we do on the web rely on broadband traffic that passes through undersea cables. Any web traffic from overseas gets to the US through one of the many underwater fiber routes. Like with all fiber technologies, the engineers and vendors have regularly been making improvements. The technology involved in undersea cables is quite different than what is used for terrestrial fibers. A long fiber route includes repeater sites where the light signal is refreshed. Without repeaters, the average fiber light signal will die within about sixty miles. more

Better Protection of Essential Power and Communication Grids From Storm Damage

After every major hurricane, like the category 4 Ida that recently hit Louisiana, there is talk in the telecom and power industries about better protecting our essential power and communication grids. There was major damage to grids and networks in Louisiana from hurricane winds and storm surges and massive flooding in the mid-Atlantic from Western Maryland to New York City. One thing that we've learned over time is that there is no way to stop storm damage. more

An Update on Telemedicine

I’ve been keeping tabs on the news about telemedicine since it was touted throughout the industry as one of the big benefits of having good broadband. One piece of news comes from a survey conducted by Nemours Children’s Health. This is a large pediatric health system with 95 locations in Delaware, Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The company treats almost half a million children annually. Nemours released a report on Telehealth in July. The report was based on a survey of 2,056 parents/guardians of children. The survey had some interesting results, more

The Big Questions Facing the Telecom Industry

I took a pause the other day to think about the big issues facing the telecom industry. When I've done that in past years, I always came up with a few major issues and more smaller ones. But we are in such turmoil right now that I rattled off the following list quickly. I can't remember a time when our industry was wrangling with so many major issues at the same time. The industry's performance over the next decade is going to depend upon how we handle these issues. more

Ireland’s Solution to the Rural Divide

The pandemic has given the whole world a pause to consider if we should return to business as usual when the pandemic is behind us. Ireland has a unique reaction and is something that could make sense here. Ireland plans to provide incentives to lure people from cities back to smaller rural towns. Like much of the world, Ireland has seen decades of young people moving to cities to find work, leaving behind shrinking and aging rural towns. more