Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Quantum Faster

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  • Paul Campbell,

    I'm in 2 minds about the IPTV as killer-app - living in Dunedin, full of hills, cable of some form makes sense for lots of people - really though it depends on what 'dark fibre to the home' means if it's dark fibre back to some colo then I guess it depends on what my ISP provides and will route to (and if they can handle the load), on the other hand if the fibre goes to a cabinet with more limited backhaul then a more traditional ATM ring containing broadcast TV makes sense.

    But suppose the fibre goes past my house, I race out with a shovel, dig a trench, hook up a cool fast modem - it's still dark fibre until there's someone at the other end .... one real problem we have is that the ISPs probably don't have the capital to hook up the other ends of the fibre - look at the current ADSL+ build out - most of the country is still waiting - my ISP (Orcon) has managed to build out some of Auckland, and a little bit if Wellington - the rest of us are waiting - much as i like them I'm starting to look to jump

    Oh yeah and a quantum .... it's a really really small thing

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Evan Yates,

    I also confess to luddism here, but can someone tell me whether wireless could conceivably work, and whether that would be cheaper?

    Stuart, that's not Luddism. You'd have to start smashing things to qualify.

    Wireless is certainly an option for areas to where fibre cannot be economically justified, but if you can lay fibre then you should lay fibre.

    There was an initiative to supply rural folk with broadband wirelessly, but it all seems to have gone quiet lately. Fonterra and Livestock Improvement have always been interested in it for their customers/suppliers but it just never seems to gain momentum (probably due to costs)

    Hamiltron, Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Nov 2006 • 197 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Eh? Voice uses a few K of bandwidth, but it does need to be prioritised over other traffic (so that opening a web page doesn't make your call break up). The telcos are already moving to a system that will send voice up a DSL line in IP format.

    That future is here now. Xnet's VFX for example. It is noticeably poorer quality than our standard landline though. And router you need to run it has built in QoS to prioritise voice. I haven't bit the bullet and ditched the landline yet however (it currently seems too convenient having pre-paid cells attached to the homeline account).

    And aren't telecom moving to IP-based telephony themselves from 2012? Oh wait, they're being very vague about the timeline.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Stuart Coats,

    Stuart, that's not Luddism. You'd have to start smashing things to qualify.

    Well, there was that incident involving me, a wall and a recalcitrant laptop but that was probably more frustration.......

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Thanks for the warning on what kind of movie Kung Fu Panda is.

    Looks like when I get it out on DVD when released (as promised) it’ll be time to scrub the house down or something.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Wireless has a lot going for it in terms of being no longer tied to a location and not having to configure local wireless / wired connectivity for all your stuff.

    Also, with Twitter being the way of the future, the need for lots of bandwidth drops away. I see that the Guardian is switching to all-Twitter publication and our cash-strapped, content-lite papers cannot be far behind.

    I guess I should rephrase that:
    @Evan - wrless p4wns yr fiba!

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Kung Fu Panda is a lot of culturally insensitive fun. Trust me on this.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Kung Fu Panda is a lot of culturally insensitive fun. Trust me on this.

    So the “Today is a gift” thing is a spot of adult-orientated irony?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Hamboy,

    How exactly will high-speed internet improve the economy?

    Simple. When I finally get a tolerable internet connection, there is gonna be some serious deathmatch pwning.
    Resulting in a happier more productive worker.
    That or a more tired less productive worker.

    Of course I will be retired before anything of the sort happens in my neighbourhood and I live in the Christchurch CBD.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 162 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    <i>So the “Today is a gift” thing is a spot of adult-orientated irony?</i>

    In context, it's actually pretty cool. And that's coming from somebody who would rather eat fortune cookie notes than read them.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Also, somebody who hasn't mastered tags in PAS after two thousand-plus comments.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Rick Shera,

    There are significant regulatory issues and even greater tax ones with Telecom disposing of Chorus (as adverted to by Telecom itself in its alternative opsep submission around para 109 (note this is a link to a large-ish pdf).

    Seems to me therefore that Telecom either needs to dispose of its retail piece or will not be able to play in this new sandpit ... unless of course its operational separation undertakings are to be amended (see para 113 of the Government paper) or the prohibition on being a retailer drafted in such a way that opsep of Chorus and Telecom retail is sufficient.

    On that note, ensuring separation of the wholesale and retail businesses sounds like the anti cross involvement provisions that apply in the electricity industry. These focus on both ownership (10% limit) AND "material influence" so, if the same rules were to be applied to Telecom, op sep would not be sufficient.

    Assuming that, then the only way to "integrate" Telecom into this new mix is for the LFC's to come to commercial arrangements for access to Telecom's existing and new networks. Those will be interesting discussions.

    Final point Russell, whilst you are right that "peering" is not mentioned, I assume that this is what the paper means when it talks of "interconnection at neutral points of presence".

    Auckland • Since Feb 2008 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    OK, there're a bunch of different questions in here and I CBF going through and explicitly answering them with quotes. So this is a bulk answer to various people.

    1) What economic benefits accrue?: Well, for one thing, the point about broadband being of minimal value to primary producers isn't entirely accurate. Federated Farmers are distinctly unimpressed with how long it's going to take to get their members attached to something faster than low-grade dialup, and since they're the ones who should understand rural needs I'll accept that they have good grounds. It doesn't take much thought to see why farmers might be keen to have an always-on internet connection that doesn't tie up their phone line, and that's just for starters. Live weather data, real-time reports from various commodity trading floors, mapping and statistical data from the gummint... That's just the stuff I can think of.
    Next rebuttal is, if we're ever going to get away from our absolute reliance on farming we need to get into tertiary production. We have a literate, English-speaking population. We do great work on movies, and could probably get a lot more post-prod work if it didn't take days to send a single cut or render output back to clients in other cities/countries. Teleworking, centralised services for healthcare (imagine if all the DHBs outsourced their radiography to a single location, for example, and sent radiographic images over a network) and other industries, remote commercial imaging (think building x-rays, for example), and the rest. Nascent industries that will never get a chance to grow without some significant improvement in our national internet infrastructure.

    2) Wireless: for all the hype, wireless has big limitations. It's a shared medium, for one thing. You and I in the same room on the same access point instantly shares the available bandwidth to the AP, never mind what's behind the AP. It gets caught by the usual radio wave propagation issues, like hill shadows and building reflections. And as a general rule, practical data rate is at best about half the headline rate. Fibre is expensive to deploy (the fibre itself is much, much cheaper than copper), but it has none of those limitations. In fact, fibre's biggest limitation is that being a physical carrier makes it expensive to roll out. Wireless might be faster, maybe, than ADSL2+, but it's very definitely not faster than fibre. Yes there are wireless technologies in development that can equal the speeds the fastest wired ethernet (ATM continues to piss all over wireless, and will forever courtesy of multiplexing), but that's in development not in production. Given how many years it's taking just for 802.11n to be finalised and released, I have zero confidence in any suggestion that wireless will deliver higher speeds than fibre. After all, in the time that n has been in development we've seen 10GbE proposed, standardised, deployed widely, and 40GbE and 100GbE working their respective ways through the standards process.

    3) IPTV: This is what IP multicast is for. You don't replicate the same stream to every user, you just send one stream and people pluck it from the ether as they desire. Don't try and overlay unicast problems onto IPTV, because there are existing, well-considered solutions. Multicast is already in deployment, but there aren't too many apps that take advantage. Ubiquitous, high-speed broadband will change that. Even with our crap domestic internet we've still got the likes of R2 doing multicast streaming of the commercial videos they make, so it's obviously a solution that works and can be utilised in NZ.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    [Eric] has a child, most likely a male child, aged four to ten. That is all I'm going to say.

    I have the mind of a ten year old child so I got the reference straight away.

    @LB Kung-Fu Panda quite correctly kicks ass. It's the best of the CGI animal bunch.

    As for quantum... big and small are relative terms, hence while quantum is the smallest measurable difference, it could still be quite big to us (especially if you have a useless ruler). How's that for a kung-fu tortoise?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Willmott,

    John Key: "speeds which are quantum faster"

    dictionary.com for "quantum":

    –adjective
    6. sudden and significant: a quantum increase in productivity.

    The noun 'quantum' initially referred to a discrete amount of something. The implication of something small comes from the fact that matter or energy is packaged in discrete quantities, albeit on very small scales. Hence "quantum physics" (a branch of physics) and the meaning of the noun which refers to Planck's constant.

    I think Key's meaning was perfectly correct, although not so sure about the sentence structure.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    whilst you are right that "peering" is not mentioned, I assume that this is what the paper means when it talks of "interconnection at neutral points of presence".

    We appear to be having some communications difficulties. If I were cynical, I might say that the report was written in dense jargon to conceal the absence of any real ideas.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    PPS: Internal Affairs minister Richard Worth has been assiduously removing unflattering news from his own Wikipedia article. There's plenty more here. Oh dear.

    Do we know it's him? Has anyone checked.

    Hands up those who think Richard Worth has heard of wikipedia.

    In other news: RussellBrownNZ has been editing his own wikipedia page as well. Imposing the Microsoft hegemony on everyone ... I don't know =)

    In further news: I knew wikipedia was easy to sign up to, but I didn't remember it being that easy. A username and a password. Awesome.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Final point Russell, whilst you are right that "peering" is not mentioned, I assume that this is what the paper means when it talks of "interconnection at neutral points of presence".

    That's how I read it also. Removes the temptation for lawyers to be, well, lawyers, and try to argue the toss over what "peering" means. After all, we'll be dealing with Telecom and TCL and their entrenched (particularly in TCL's case) anti-peering attitude. Removing interpretive wiggle room is a very smart move, though I doubt that that was actually the intent.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I think Key's meaning was perfectly correct, although not so sure about the sentence structure.

    Indeed. His meaning was obvious, but his grammatical construction was appalling. Maybe he started off wanting to say "a quantum leap faster"?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Rick, I agree on the anti cross involvement similarities - but is the 10% ownership limit you refer to the limit in the electricity industry? Or is that what is proposed for this fibre governance? I thought I just read "non-majority voting rights" in the fibre document.

    I would be pretty stunned if Telecom disposed of retail - seems to me their new mindset is much more heavily wedded to that end of things than the asset management side.
    Thanks for the Telecom submission - it's what I was referring to earlier. So clearly they have a view around Chorus as a separate business, but you're right - the regulatory framework mentioned to make it work are substantial. However, I wonder if many of those same hurdles are going to exist anyway in the governance of the PPP regional fibre companies?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    though I doubt that that was actually the intent

    The PAS readership: being reluctant to give credit to Tories since 2006.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    farmers might be keen to have an always-on internet connection that doesn't tie up their phone line

    How does giving town dwellers fibre help in getting broadband (of some sort) to Eketahuna?

    In terms of *business* fibre access, this is already available in CBDs and for big customers like hospitals and film studios that can justify a dedicated link.

    Also, I can see how IP multicast allows fibre to replicate the functionality of satellite and digital terrestrial, but what benefit does this give us? I don't see how it enables me to decide that right now, at 1333, I want to watch Goodbye Pork Pie in Wellington when nobody else does. Doing that efficiently requires big caches of content fairly close to the end users, and that isn't cheap.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    DPF is being extremely disingenuous about the difference between what National said last year and what it says now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Stuart Coats,

    Maybe he started off wanting to say "a quantum leap faster"?

    Which he probably didn't say so as to stop his constiuents getting confused

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • Hamboy,

    DPF is being extremely disingenuous

    Really?
    You mean people actual read what he says.
    I thought they just go there to bitch about non tories.
    Or to laugh at the commenters bitching about non tories.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 162 posts Report Reply

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