Right now there is DSL and cable but that is about all I see. What all other bandwidth options are on the table that sound feasable within a few years? I have heard of using things like high altitude zepplins to offer broadband WiFi to an entire city, using satellite broadband through your satellite TV provider and using power lines to transfer broadband. Are there other options that are feasable that may end up providing new methods of broadband other than DSL and cable?
FTTP (fiber to the premises) is the one of the new technologies being tested for residental braodband service:
You can pretty much forget powerline Internet. Top people have tried very, very hard to get it work and it’s still in the “we’re going to have something real soon, promise, for real, this time.” stage. It will happen, but it will be slow, flakey and 2 generations behind the competition. Might survive in semi-rural settings.
Satellite does exist and works semi-well now. The problems: thru the satellite is one way. You use your phone to send data to the ISP. So forget uploading large files quickly and the latency (the time between when you ask for a page and when you get it) is high. Forget online gaming too. It pretty much won’t get any better until it goes two-way, which will require another Iridium-class effort and given how much money that lost, not going to happen soon.
For home users:
WiFi. This is increasingly happenning. Cheap, semi-fast if all goes well, etc. Expect it to be killed dead, dead, dead by the Big Companies. The FCC is the Official Friend of the Big Companies.
Fiber to the home. This is what the Big Companies hope to eventually install “sometime” in the future. Mainly for high density areas.
WiMax. Like WiFi but run by the Big Companies. Better speeds and reliability. Expect high charges, a la cell phones. More flexible, density is not so much an issue. This is the “wildcard” of future networking. If Little Smart Companies are allowed to roll it out ASAP, then this will be great and cheap. But the FCC again…
Starband doesn’t require a landline.
We looked into this service last time we moved. It was pretty spendy compared to the price/bandwidth of DSL or cable.
It would be good if you lived in the middle of nowhere or Gilligans Island, but in the city you’d be wasting money.
Some of the new luxury condos downtown have fibre to the home… 100 megabits per second. It’s Telus’ showcase offering in the Toronto heartland of their arch-rival, Bell Canada.
I’m piping this over to GQ.
Yah, we’re getting a LAN connection from a provider here in Oz (Telstra), that’s capped at 5Mbs sychronus, but can be ramped up to 100Mbit if you need. We’re paying around $2000US per month for 5M, so I shudder to think what 100M costs!
Here there’s a lot of talk about ADSL2, which has faster speeds (up to 12Mbit?) for some reason, but you need to have certain equipment in your local exchange that ISP’s own. It’s on a three year roll out schedule.
We have had FTTH (fiber to the home) for about 4 years now; Sacramento was among the first cities in the nation to have it rolled out, AFAIK. $49.95 for 10Mb/s up and down.
Its great for the consumer, but very expensive for the ISP (at least it was here, as the company laid all of its own fiber in order to roll out the service). I don’t really see any other technology that can compete in terms of bandwidth. We currently have 10 Mb, we could get 20 Mb for another $10/month, and our connection is actually 100 Mb but throttled down. As there gets to be more and more competition in the very-high-speed Internet arena, I could see FTTH at speeds of 1 Gb quite easily. The major cost is in the initial install (digging trenches, laying conduit, etc.). This would not need to be repeated, so upgrades could be done fairly cheaply as soon as the price of hardware falls enough to make it worthwhile to the ISP.
Dunno about consumer level, but for business use pure satellite connections can give you broadband level speeds right now. Latency is going to get your ass kicked in a FPS, but everything else about them is great. I’ve tested Remote Desktop from a laptop in Calgary -> Satellite -> Calgary -> Edmonton -> my home machine, and found the it to be more than acceptable. Pricewise, the equipment ranges from many thousand to the same as a mid-range car, but the monthly charges are only hundreds of $$$.
I forget who is doing it, but there’s a group that will soon be able to provide you with a tranceiver the size of a large hardcover book that you can toss on a table in the middle of nowhere and get similar speeds. They have a satellite launching sometime this month IIRC to provide coverage to the Americas. (I think their Europe and Asia coverage is already up).
Our software runs on laptops on rig sites up north, and sends a bit of data back to head office every now and again. With this type of networking available, we’re probably going to increase what’s available to the rig guys on site, and their equipment is going to be rigged to automatically return a bunch of telemetry.
30 mbs? Pshaw! I’m getting 100 mbs in my apartment.
Adam internet have rolled out ADSL2 in several exchanges in Adelaide - a few of my cow-orkers have signed up onto it. It’s faster than ADSL, sure, but you’re just not getting the speeds they’re advertising, due to line quality and the inability of the equipment to actually provide those speeds. But for some reason it’s cheaper than a lot of normal ADSL plans from other providers, so it’s getting quite tempting (or it would be, if my current provider weren’t going to belt me for $400 to cancel at this point).
British Telecom are offering LANs across London, up to 1Gb. While the cost is aimed at business users, it wouldn’t surprise me if property developers start putting using such connections in upmarket apartment blocks.
Yikes. You shoud try WestNet (if the do ADSL2), they charge $55 to break out of your contract! Nice.
Verizon is starting a fiber to the home service (FIOS?).
Fixed wireless can cover about a 10+ (perhaps 20) mi radius from the transmitting tower, and will work well in sparsly populated areas, or areas w/ poor infrastructure.
Satalite will continue to be a nitch, like satalite phones, too expensive to compete w/ other alternatives, but sometimes the only way.
Cellular g3 service, or perhaps ‘g4’.
Also I suspect it may be possiable to construct a wireless open private network, where people will just install a repeater on their house. The user will get the benifit of tapping in, and the network will expand. This could replace standard phone/cable service.
Cable technology isn’t stagnant, either.
DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) is up to revision 1.1 for most markets, and is starting to roll out 2.0.
DOCSIS 1.1 throughput is around 10Mb upstream, 1Mb down. This, of course, can be capped by the provider.
DOCSIS 2.0 runs around 30Mb up, 5 down.
And finally, some providers are playing with using multiple channels with DOCSIS 2.0 to get 100Mb up, 20 down.
Source: various web pages agree with the DOCSIS specs, and my friend is a cable internet security specialist with Cablevision, who yesterday told me about the 100Mb trials