Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Updates on Fiber Projects, Regulation etc

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

It’s been a year since I started my research into building fiber to my home to solve the problem of no willing providers (eg: Comcast, ATT) in my area.

I thought I’d provide some updates.

I no longer have a T1 at home, it has been replaced with a wireless link using the Ubiquiti Nanobridge M5. This allows me to bridge the 3 mile gap (shorter in another direction, but no line-of-sight that way) to pick up another connection. Cost savings: about $200/mo. Speed increase, roughly 10x. The link actually gets ~60Mb/s but the wired part of the network isn’t fast enough to allow those data rates.

I submitted data to the Google RFI, but don’t believe any project in Michigan will be successful. Despite high-ranking U of Michigan alums at Google, I suspect the state laws and climate will not be favorable to such a project.

A lot is being made these days about Comcast and their network management practices.  Constraining how much internet access they buy is a legitimate business action they can take.  I can defend their choice to make that decision.  The problem I have is the monopoly (or duo in some areas) for local internet access.  Some people may have little or no choice what access they receive.  Alternatives such as Cellular aren’t real alternatives with individual software updates around 1GB in size.

If you have a spare $1 to $50 million to spare, I would be interested in pitching the idea of a large fiber project to you. I think there’s benefit as well to provide infrastructure for smartgrid and other communications in parallel with a countywide wired network. If you tie in meter reading (electric, water, gas) there could be significant savings and value.  I do wish that the utility companies (eg: DTE, Consumers, etc) would leverage their existing RoW for placing fiber to deliver further competition to supplement their electric and natural gas business.  I think this combined with changing state laws is the only method that will be viable in the future.

Local schools and counties have unused fiber assets, but are unwilling to make them available as they were paid for out of school budgets.  I do wish they would reconsider to provide additional school funding, but also to make those routes available for less.

I doubt logic will prevail here, but there is hope.  If the current incumbents stumble in a major way, change will become necessary and possible.

Some networks unable to keep up

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

It’s no shock that some networking companies are having trouble keeping up with traffic growth and customer demand. It appears the current FCC broadband plan (should hit the US Congress in about 2 weeks) has a mandate to deliver services capable of 100mb/s to each home in the USA. I think this is a reasonable thing, and can be done for cheaper than most companies have determined in the past. The Active Ethernet and PON service offerings provide the ability to dump the old copper/POTS networks and attain these speeds for the same or nominal increase in costs.

What strikes me as most interesting is there are a few different responses to these trial balloons.

1) Comcast – We can do it, DOCSIS3 can bring the speed.
2) Verizon – We can do it, our GPON (FiOS) offering can deliver these speeds either with same hardware or through simple upgrades
3) AT&T – We can do it, but it’s gonna cost us. (AT&T has been a major player in breathing life into their copper plant with their U-VERSE offering/FTTN strategy). This would require a PON or similar architecture to be delivered to subscribers.
4) Qwest – (And I quote) – “A 100 meg is just a dream,” Qwest Communications International Inc Chief Executive Edward Mueller told Reuters. “We couldn’t afford it.”

The differences in network strategies are apparent. Verizon has been pushing their fiber build plans to capture subscribers, and has one of the highest levels of customer-satisfaction. I have believed in a FTTH strategy for many years, and if the FCC mandates 100Mb/s services either directly or through congressional action, we will see significant investment before long.

There currently exist a few classes of service today, I want to briefly touch on them in regard to the above….

Dial-Up – Max Speed – 56Kb/s (very narrow band, depends on line quality)

Basic Broadband – Max speed 5Mb down, 384k upload (useful for moderate local internet access; DSL based)

Broadband – Max speed 20Mb/s, 1Mb/s upload (useful for most common home users; Usually DSL based)

High Speed – Over 20Mb/s, over 5Mb/s upload (useful for home backups/restores of small volumes of data)

We need to attain the goal of having universal High Speed internet access.  Most hotels typically have lower speed access, on the order of something below Basic Broadband speeds.  Closing this gap is important to realize the value of the internet to small businesses and enterprises.  Setting for something less in a first-class economy and country is doing us a disservice.

Building municipial fiber

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

There are a number of different ways one can pay for building the infrastructure that we care about. The most well known model is the Municipal one. Here you have your water and sewer delivered to you at some point (usually when your home is built) and you pay utilization fees for access.

I’ve started to look at applying the same model to building fiber to every home in Washtenaw County. Let me start with my basic premises, so you have a reference of how I’m thinking before I am destroyed in any comments.

60-day review to be completed today

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Various news media are ramping up coverage of the federal networks “cybersecurity” policies. Personally I loathe anything starting with “Cyber”, but the review will be completed today and the report will be sent to the presidents desk.  Some other media coverage are items like:

There have been recent media reports of infiltration of water and power companies by attackers.  I’m not sure what the federal role would be without increased regulation.  This is likely to be met with resistance from industries that see pervasive compromises in their enterprise networks.  Government networks are just large enterprise networks, protecting their secrets the same way a company protects their secrets.

Protected: common carrier

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

CSIS Releases report to the president

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

A few days late, but the CSIS released their report to the president on how to secure cyberspace. It’s a bit long but available via their website and worth a review of at least the executive summary, if not a more detailed read.

McCain’s downward spiral?

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

The political maverick from 2000 has reshaped himself in 2008. His appearances on The Daily Show have declined, and with the current concerns surrounding the fiscal solvency of the USA and corresponding financial system he’s suspended his campaign. There’s numerous bits of analysis, including what I find the most telling article over at The Huffington Post. If a major event like a fiscal crisis where concerns over how to spend up to $700 billion (at once, it could be more than that over the lifespan if some securities are sold) cause him to need a time-out, I’m not sure he’s up for a 4 year rollercoaster ride as President. While action vs a lengthy deliberative process can be harmful if not balanced properly, it sure seems the right debates are happening in DC, including one robo-dialer call today asking me to call my local congressman (including his name and local office phone number). If McCain is unable to get a grasp on the deliberative process on “The Hill”, how has he lasted so long in the Senate? The challenges we face as a country certainly require a long-view. There’s plenty of analysis regarding the bailout package that can be found. We shall see if this is a bright move, or as I believe, a desperate move on his behalf.

cybercrime not prosecuted

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Not shocking for those of us in the industry, but cybercrime (aside from trying to arrange underage sex and child pornography cases) get very little attention.  There’s a report that was done by a few places, the report article is here with the Full PDF available for your perusal. Interesting to think about laws put on the books, but the lack of resources made available to prosecute new laws. Perhaps something like PayGo when it comes to these types of investigations. The assymetrical battle rages on. The internet brought you more than low-cost communications with family and friends, the cost is lower for the bad guys as well.

Comcast to be punished

Friday, July 25th, 2008

So, the long wait is coming to a close.  It is expected that next Friday there will be a ruling from the FCC that comcasts actions with regard to blocking file sharing software is outside of the scope of regular network managment tasks.  This will be interesting as we may see an increase in the peer to peer traffic on networks as the DPI p2p mitigation devices get removed from a variety of networks.  It may also mean the death of a few vendors or at least consolidation in the industry.  Article link can be found here.

Two network security articles worth reading

Friday, May 30th, 2008

I have come across two articles that have been well worth reading in the past 12 hours.  The first is a general article on the possible security implications of international travel and your personal electronic devices. The second is related to two blackouts that may be related to network intrusion activity. Both are well worth the read.