Archive for November, 2005

Macedonia to host world’s largest WLAN

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is to host the world’s largest WLAN. The wireless mesh network will cover the entire country. Within a year more than 90 per cent of the population will be able to go online and make telephone calls via the WLAN from their home.

The mesh network, supplied by US company Strix Systems, is the first nationwide wireless broadband system in the world. Although there are only 2 million people living in the former Yugoslav Republic, which was spared the inter-ethnic violence in the Balkans of the 1990s, the deployment will still be a huge task. The country is known for its mountainous terrain and deep valleys. For this reason, Strix will run separate radio channels for the mesh backbone and client access.

Strix has already deployed a WLAN for the Macedonian capital Skopje, where about one million people live. All of the country’s 460 schools already have broadband connections. How many people in Macedonia can afford to buy a PC and go online is not known. In 2003 only 40 per cent of the population owned a computer.

From an article in the Register.

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RadioShack to start selling Skype broadband phone starter kits

Electronics retail chain Radioshack and broadband phone sensation Skype (recently acquired by Ebay) signed an agreement today, for Radioshack to distribute Skype certified hardware and software in 3500 of its stores in the US.

Skype, a peer to peer VoIP service provider, will gain exposure in the large late-adopters crowd among the US shoppers. With live salespersons explaining what VoIP and Skype is all about, the deal will bring the technology one step closer to people who prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar shops.

Radioshack, with its 7000 outlets in the US, is one of the most recognized brands in electronics retail in America.

Skype is looking at innovative retail channels for distribution, and with 94 percent of the U.S. population living or working within five minutes of a RadioShack, we see them as an ideal partner through which to offer consumers access to Skype accessories” said Saul Klein, Skype‚Äôs vice president of marketing.

Skype, which has signed up 20 to 30 times more users than other broadband phone alternatives, offers software to allow users to call other computers or phones. It works like a music file-sharing service and needs no central network switches as Vonage does, making it cheaper to operate.

Radioshack provides a missing link by supplying phone headsets or handsets that most consumers will require to make calls, which cost only a few cents per minute or less for long-distance or international calling.

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Your friendly neighborhood Google Data center - or - How Google will take over the Internet

Google has been buying lots of dark fiber, a cheap commodity in the post Internet bubble era. According to Robert X. Cringely, Google is now putting together a Data-Center-in-a-box, cheap enough to be placed on virtually every street corner of the world, interconnected with all that previously unlit fiber.

So why buy-up all that fiber, then?

The probable answer lies in one of Google’s underground parking garages in Mountain View. There, in a secret area off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk, is a shipping container. But it isn’t just any shipping container. This shipping container is a prototype data center. Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We’re talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig. The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid.

While Google could put these containers anywhere, it makes the most sense to place them at Internet peering points, of which there are about 300 worldwide.

Cringely goes on about Google Web Accelerator, world wide Internet TV using Google infrastructure and how Google will own Web 2.0 with no competitors worth mentioning (Micro-who-now?).

Interesting read no doubt.

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FTTH, Fiber To The Home

Fiber to the Home (FTTH) or Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) refers to a broadband telecommunications system based on fiber-optic cables and associated optical electronics for delivery of multiple advanced services such as the tripleplay of telephone, broadband Internet and television to homes and businesses.

Fiber-optic technology deployment costs are decreasing, making this technology a competitor to existing services. KMI Research forecasts that the total FTTH market for equipment, cable, and apparatus will reach $3.2 billion in 2009.

Two competing FTTP technologies are Active FTTP and PON (Passive Optical Network) architectures.

Active FTTP networks utilize equipment in neighborhoods (usually 1 equipment cabinet for every 400-500 subscribers). This neighborhood equipment performs layer 2/layer 3 switching and routing, offloading full layer 3 routing to the carrier’s central office. The 802.3ah standard enables service providers to deliver 100 Mbit/s full-duplex over a single singlemode fiber to the premise. Service providers using Active FTTP technologies include SureWest, iProvo, Grant County, UTOPIA, and Broadweave Networks.

PON FTTP networks on the other hand avoid the placement of electronics in the field. PON networks use passive splitters to distribute fiber to individual homes. One fiber is optically split into 16, 32, or 64 fibers (depending on the manufacturer) which are then distributed to residential or business subscribers. In PON architectures, the switching and routing is done at the carrier’s central office. Service providers using PON include Verizon (FiOS) and several greenfield development networks.

Resources:
Fiber to the Home Council
FTTH Blog

From the Wikipedia article on Fiber to the Home/Fiber to the Premises

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AlienLovesPredator turns spam into fun

Alien Loves Predator is a very funny web comic, spoofing the Alien Vs. Predator franchise. It depicts the famous Alien (Abe) and Predator (Preston) characters, set as roommates in present day New York City.

The latest strip has some nice spam related fun in it.

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