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IEEE Vet: Carriers Capping LTE Services To Avoid Fixed-line Cannibalization 118

alphadogg writes "Roberto Saracco isn't buying carriers' claims that they need to put data caps on their LTE services due to excessive traffic causing massive engineering challenges. Saracco, a senior member of the IEEE and the director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre, said during an interview Tuesday that the major reason carriers are placing data caps on their LTE services is to prevent users from going exclusively with wireless data services and ditching their landline connections. 'You're always going to want to make the maximum amount of value,' he said. 'And you don't want to have your fixed-line network being cannibalized by mobile.'"
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IEEE Vet: Carriers Capping LTE Services To Avoid Fixed-line Cannibalization

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  • collusion? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:31AM (#39720397)

    there's no guarantee that a wireless carrier would also be a particular customer's landline carrier..

    so, if tfa is even partially right, there must be some level of collusion among them all

    • Yes, this is what I was thinking.

      Granted, Verizon Wireless doesn't want to cannibalize the customer base for Verizon DSL or Verizon FiOS, but Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T don't have a horse in this race in my area, so . . . short of collusion, they have no competitive reason to cap, only engineering reasons.

      What's missing, though, is the the idea that additional capacity comes from adding cells, and you can only do so much of that from the existing towers before you have to find new sites. That costs. Th

      • by pla ( 258480 )
        Granted, Verizon Wireless doesn't want to cannibalize the customer base for Verizon DSL or Verizon FiOS

        Actually, they do.

        In my area (northern New England), Verizon sold off their entire land-line business to FairPoint explicitly for the purpose of focusing on wireless by ditching a dying market.

        Interestingly, while the public screamed "no" in every state affected, the various PUCs rubber stamped the deal grinning broadly the whole time. Yes, Virginia, many suspect hookers 'n blow had something to do
        • And even that, only until someone like Hulu manages to perfect the whole TV-over-the-internet thing, at which point cable TV will die almost overnight.

          Which makes me wonder if the terrestrial cable companies and Big Media are going to start partnering up in earnest over the next decade. The cable companies (most of which are ISPs as well) are already taking steps to try and stave off the whole-scale abandonment of traditional cable TV service with bandwidth caps (since bundling isn't working as well as it used to), and it seems like the next logical step in the chess match between format-shifting users and Big Media.

          The fact that so many of the big playe

          • by Svartalf ( 2997 )

            They might, but then they'll face demands for "fair" access by the wireless telcos.

            Biggest complaint I've got is the bullshit lines of "unlimited" that they keep using. It's not even "unlimited" data when they throttle- you don't get the theroetical maximum the un-throttled pipe will allow when they do that.

            It's because of two things, most likely, that they're doing this- oversubscription and not wanting to cannibalize things until they're ready for that. The subscriber ends with something like LTE can ha

        • In another decade, only power, cable TV*, and fiber will still use poles on the side of the road as their primary transport. Phone and consumer-grade internet will universally use wireless.

          God I hope not. Unless wireless providers have found a way to best physics, a hard line will always be the faster (higher bandwidth and lower latency) option and thus, for me, the preferred delivery channel.

          • by pla ( 258480 )
            God I hope not. Unless wireless providers have found a way to best physics, a hard line will always be the faster (higher bandwidth and lower latency) option and thus, for me, the preferred delivery channel.

            Just out of curiosity, to which physical limits do you refer?

            Light travels at better than 0.99c in open air, vs 0.66c in glass; and electricity "travels" at 0.8c (+/- 0.1) in copper. Thus, RF or open-air laser can always beat a wired/fiber connection for speed.

            That said, using current multipoint-
            • Just out of curiosity, to which physical limits do you refer?

              The limit is spectrum. A copper wire or optical fiber acts as a waveguide through which a set of multiplexed signals can propagate. Selectivity in a wired environment is (near) perfect, unlike the wireless situation where an antenna receives the interference (that is, sum) of wanted signals and unwanted signals.

            • For bandwidth, those of transmitting information on the same electromagnetic carrier frequency. You can use a given frequency for limitless* connections if each of those connections mediums is sufficiently isolated, but when they must all share the same transmission medium, you must use a method (TDMA, CDMA, etc.) to divide the usage appropriately. This means you only get a subset of the actual allotted carrier frequency rather than the entire available bandwidth. There are quite a few other problems wit

    • But is there not a guaranty?
      Access to the internet itself at a high level is controlled by very few people. In Canada it is just Bell and Rogers who offer it to the public and then numerous resellers through them.
      Pass Bell and Rogers I am not sure what it is like, I think Rogers might even have to lease some end hookup off of bell, or maybe they both go to some other company themselves.
      But the point is that, just because there are hundreds of ISPs does not mean that it is easy to have root access to the int

    • Except they obviously can't offer unlimited data to only people not using their landline internet, and capping those that use both. Neither is there a financial reason when they can simply charge overage fees/higher prices for high usage plans.

      That explains the current model and doesn't include any sort of collusion.
  • What?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by GaratNW ( 978516 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:31AM (#39720399)
    All those kind, honest and benevolent carriers, doing something to unduly distress consumer? Bless my soul, I need a chair, so I might sit a spell til the shock wears off.
    • by jhoegl ( 638955 )
      I dont know about this theory. I mean, Verizon isnt everywhere, but Verizon wireless is. If, in the interest of competition and driving competitors out, you would think they would have different programs and premiums in areas where Verizon exists vs areas where it doesnt. Thus, driving out the wired competition.
    • In Denmark I know several people going wireless internet only, but then again uncapped connections have been available for years, and many by carriers with no wired offers.

      I guess what you need is truly wireless 'wireless carriers'.

      • by mikael ( 484 )

        Same in Norway. Some apartments don't even have sockets for landlines. There were junction boxes with 4-way cable but the face plate was blank. All around the apartment were Data/TV/Satellite coaxial connectors. Skype over mobile offers better line quality than regular mobike phone (no echoes).

        • Same in America.

          We have unlimited wireless available for those who wish to pay the price (~$80/month). Personally I'd rather get the landline ($15/month) and save some cash. Is that an option in the EU states?

          • by mikael ( 484 )

            Depends on your country. In UK cities, you could get ADSL for as little as £10 / year, or go for 100 megabit broadband for £50/ year.

            In the cooperative housing I am in, wired internet is included in the rent, along with the central heating.

            • >>>ADSL for as little as £10 / year

              Is that a typo? That's only ~$1.50 per month! Even the old dialup internet is not that cheap in the U.S. (mine costs $7/month). I wonder if the pricing differential is like textbook publishing? $120/book in the U.S..... $12 if imported from India.

              • by mikael ( 484 )

                Yes, typo. Should be £10 per month. Mainly due to the demand from the student market.

    • by EnempE ( 709151 )
      I can't understand it either, I mean it isn't like they have billions of dollars invested in a carriage network that could become obsolete faster than they could pull it out and sell it. Or even that it lower the barriers to competition to market that they haven't had to seriously compete in before. Why on earth would they be putting roadblocks in the way of progress here?, big companies never try to halt innovation when their core business is threatened. I mean the slavers, railways, big oil, all helped
      • by swalve ( 1980968 )
        The problem is, fast wireless for everyone is a dead end. It would be nearly as expensive as wired connections because they would need to have radio cells every couple hundred feet. And still suck worse than a wired connection.
        • It would be nearly as expensive as wired connections because they would need to have radio cells every couple hundred feet.

          The infrastructure is there already, as wifi boxes at end of subscriber landlines.

          Now all we need is to figure out roaming in wifi...

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          A smart carrier can do it without capping data connections. They cap the data connectivity itself.

          E.g., a dataplan for a featurephone is really cheap - $5 for unlimited access to social networks, and email for example. For a blackberry, it's a bit pricier, smartphones more expensive still, and most expensive are laptop plans.

          The difference is that the service is differentiated already - the carrier proxies (non-transparently) featurephone data connections - the phone connects to carrier which then repackage

  • Not mobile (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:44AM (#39720443) Homepage

    Just because you are not mobile, why does that mean you should use wide-area air waves for internet access? The air waves are a finite resource that needs to be divided up. The more we can shift over to land based communications, the better.

    OTOH, we need to push the carriers into making more smaller cells. That's what can increase the air wave bandwidth. But we can also do that ourselves by using Wifi to our landline internet connections.

    Hey, I have an idea. Free landline internet to those that make their internet connection available to mobile users of the same carrier.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You touch on something I've wondered for a while: can the spectrum support it if, let us say, everyone started using cell carriers for internet connectivity?

      • Of course not. When you have fiber or cable or twisted-pair direct to your home, then you have the whole EM spectrum for your own personal use.

        But when you use wireless, then you have to share that spectrum with the neighbors, plus TV, plus radio, plus police and military radio, and so on. You get less bandwidth for each home, and slower speeds.

    • I'd suggest bundling landline and wireless access by any carrier together, so that they can avoid the cannibalization problem. In such a scenario, customers will automatically prefer landline due to higher bandwidth whenever they can, and only use wireless access when they have to
      • by zalas ( 682627 )

        I actually got this here in Singapore with my DSL from SingNet. Basically, they give you a free entry-level mobile internet plan if you sign up for DSL, although this is only with the DSL service and not with their fiber service.

        • by doston ( 2372830 )

          I actually got this here in Singapore with my DSL from SingNet. Basically, they give you a free entry-level mobile internet plan if you sign up for DSL, although this is only with the DSL service and not with their fiber service.

          Does SingTel cane your ass and post the action on their website, if you go over your entry-level data cap?

      • You must live in a city center with good landline coverage. I live in a town that SHOULD have fabulous connectivity. We (the town) were planning on every home having 10Mb lines by the late 90s (Blacksburg's Electronic Village model). The only reliable service I have is Verizon DSL, and the absolute peak speed they can deliver to me is 4.5/768k service. Comcast can theoretically provide 6Mb/1.5 service (at $60/mo), but the last time I used them I was without service for portions of 4-5 days a month (maybe

        • I was specifically talking about places where carriers have both good landline and wireless access, and don't want the former to be cannibalized by the latter. If their landline service sucks, as you describe, then looks like the choice is clear - they should just offer LTE. In either case, by bundling them together, in places like yours where LTE is the only reliable connectivity they can get, people would use that, while in metropolitan areas where landline access is good, people will find out that it's
    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:25AM (#39720629)

      There is just a limited amount of bandwidth you can have. Look up Shannon's Law and then realize that is what you are up against. To increase the amount of bits per second you get you can either increase frequency bandwidth, which is infeasible with wireless since you have to share with others, or increase SNR, which is infeasible with wireless since there is natural noise all around. So basically there is only so good it gets. Now technologies like MIMO (having multiple antennas on transmitters and receivers to get array gain) can help increase what you get, at the cost of more complex transceivers, but still, there's only so much. It isn't as though you can just say "Let's do 100 spatial streams, no problem!" and it'll work.

      Also that bandwidth? Shared with EVERYONE on the segment. So if you have 100mbps of effective WiFi throughput and you have 10 users on the AP, you all share it. It isn't like a wired connection where you each have that amount of bandwidth back to the switch, you all share the same 100mbps. So if four people are going full bore, you get only 25mbps each max (in reality, the more that share the less you get because of collisions).

      Only thing to be done is to build out the network, make segments smaller. That is feasible and a good idea to an extent, but can only be done so much. Remember that you have to have antennas and hardware for each segment, there are a limited number of places you can stick all that. Also you have to have a cable going to it. The ultimate in segmentation might be Picocells, little devices you can hook to your net connection to provide local coverage for your house. Of course you need a wired network connection so...

      All that and the best wireless can't compare to wired at all. Take the consumer space: The best you can get right now is 802.11n. If you have a 5GHz network (which reduces range) 40MHz channel you will get at best 150mbps of raw signaling per stream, with 4 streams max, though in actual practice I've never seen equipment with more than 3. So 450mbps raw signaling best case. Effective throughput you see probably 150-200mbps tops, wireless has a lot of overhead between link rate and effective rate. Oh and all that applies in a homogenous n network only, no older clients on it. Also not really anything faster for general use, this is as good as it gets right now.

      Wired? 1gbps, full duplex no problem. Getting hard to buy equipment that doesn't support that speed anymore. So long as you cables aren't too long (100 meters or less) or kinked/broken, you'll really get it too. You can come very close to the theoretical speed without much difficulty. Works fine in a heterogeneous network, older clients don't mess with newer ones.There's faster out there too, 10gbps is real and working well. At this point it is still too expensive for consumer use, but price is the only barrier, the tech is finalized and released. Price has been dropping rapidly too.

      What it comes down to is wired is a good idea, if we want to be able to have lots of bandwidth. On wireless connections, we need to be nice and share more which means less heavy bandwidth stuff. The wider area the wireless connection, the more true that is. WiFi isn't bad, its range is pretty short, you don't tend to have a ton of people on one AP (though at an office it can get heavy at times). Still though if you regularly do large file transfers with servers, you'll want to go wired as WiFi will start dragging, particularly with multiple users doing it.

      LTE, you need to be share even more. On a 20MHz channel, if you are lucky enough to have that big of one for your service in your area, you can get 802.11n like data rates (in ideal conditions) but you share with many more people. You could easily have 100+ people on the same segment, meaning that you have to share that much more. If all those people try to go full blast, speed will quickly plummet.

      If you had everyone using LTE in their homes and trying to do something like stream Netflix HD, it just wouldn't work. The cells would

      • by fnj ( 64210 )

        Not to be too pedantic, but it's not exactly true that noise limits your SNR. It's a ratio. You can increase SNR by either decreasing N or increasing S. I'll grant you that there are tradeoffs and practical limits to increasing S.

        That said, I wouldn't dream of ever using wireless unless wired is not available. At home I practically never use wireless. In fact I don't even have my AP turned on most of the time.

        Oh, as far as performance on gigabit: it's true that you can get full bandwidth in terms of raw dat

        • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @06:22AM (#39721057)

          SSH isn't bad anymore if you have a new Intel chip, and software smart enough to make use of it. AES-NI is no joke, if you've a CPU with it you get amazing amounts of throughput with little usage. If you have an AES-NI capable processor (any 32nm Core i series except i3, and the new 22nm Ivy Bridge chips basically) you can test it real quick with Truecrypt. Have it run a benchmark and be amazed at the AES speeds.

          Also with regards to SNR you can't increase S, at least not in the US. Power limits are set by the FCC. Never mind any technical problems (and there are many with trying to use powerful transmissions) you just aren't allowed to do so for cell networks. They have low power caps.

          • That's nice if you have a selected Intel chip, but many sold today lack such modern extensions, including the i3 you mention.

            For the rest, it would great if SSH supported high-speed software crypto like Salsa20 [] or the improved ChaCha [] variant. Even on my ancient Athlon 64 fileserver, Salsa20/8 and ChaCha8 would give me perfectly usable crypto at < 5 cycles/byte. That is roughly 400MB/s, and modern chips get closer to 2 cycles/byte and at twice the clock rate with more cores. At this point, aggregate cr

          • Also with regards to SNR you can't increase S, at least not in the US. Power limits are set by the FCC. Never mind any technical problems (and there are many with trying to use powerful transmissions) you just aren't allowed to do so for cell networks.

            There is a way to increase apparent S and reduce N simultaneously by using a directional antenna [] , thus increasing effective cell network capacity several fold by vectoring rf signals.

            My dedicated t-mobile hotspot, (like many others), has a provision f

        • Not to be too pedantic, but it's not exactly true that noise limits your SNR. It's a ratio. You can increase SNR by either decreasing N or increasing S. I'll grant you that there are tradeoffs and practical limits to increasing S.

          Indeed there are. For example radio transmitters leak somewhat to other parts of the spectrum (perfect filters are physically impossible) and most modern wireless networks rely on spacial re-use of spectrum. The result is that one user's signal is another user's noise and beyond a certain point increasing signal doesn't have any significant impact on SNR.

          Also note that logrithm in shannons law. If you double your transmit power and noise stays the same you only get one more bit per symbol.

          • by swalve ( 1980968 )
            I wonder if they have thought about using an asymmetric network- use the near-field wireless for device -> network transmit, and use a completely different system for network -> device "broadcasts".
      • While it's true that the bandwidth in a particular spot is capped by the laws of physics (to a certain extent), it's also worth remembering that this is relevent in the following ways:

        1. It's critical to the amount of bandwidth an individual can get
        2. It implies extra expense when improving the bandwidth a group of individuals can get

        The reason for the difference is that in many cases, you can simply solve the bandwidth-per-group problem by putting up more towers. This, indeed, is exactly the principle behind

        • by Svartalf ( 2997 )

          In fact, in rural areas, Verizon's beginning to roll out fixed service LTE with similar bandwidths to the mobile service with data tiers that reflect what they view as typical use (i.e. They offer a 30Gb tier for $120, etc. with the same $10/Gb block over the included data consumption...).

      • >>>Look up Shannon's Law

        As far as I know, Shannon's Law only applies to analog signals. It explains why an analog modem can only go 34 kbit/s over the ~4 kHz wide telephone system. BUT if you switch to digital, then shannon's limitation is no longer relevant, and the same space can handle 56k (7 bit PCM). Cellphones operate in digital space.


        • by tepples ( 727027 )
          Cellphones are digital up until they hit the radio, at which point a modem converts the data to an analog signal.
    • Re:Not mobile (Score:4, Informative)

      by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:39AM (#39720913)

      Free landline internet to those that make their internet connection available to mobile users of the same carrier.

      At least one UK broadband provider provide WiFi routers that present two networks: a private one, and a less-private one. The less-private one is available for use by anyone with that provider (so in return for potentially sharing your bandwidth, you can potentially get free WiFi. But probably only in residential areas.) [] is one, but I think there's another.

      • I thought FON [] was doing this worldwide already. You install custom firmware on your router, share your Wifi with the community and then you can use other people's Wifi. They even have a google map with available FON locations. In my town of 100K people they have around 20 FON spots, which is not enough for blanket coverage, but better than nothing.
    • by mikael ( 484 )

      Land based communications rely on ancient copper wires installed 50 to 100 years ago. The resistance/cspacitance values don't match the requirements for high speed broadband. The only real solution is fibre optic cabling, and a wifi router at the end for mobile devices.

      But you can cut the middle-man out by just having wireless internet.

      • However while the channel offered by those ancient copper wires isn't great it is a dedicated channel to each property. So it may only be able to deliver a few megabits per second to each property but (provided the backhaul is available) it can deliver that to all properties at the same time. The only technical justification for any caps is backhaul congestion.

        Wireless OTOH is great when only a few people are using it at once but benig a shared channel it breaks down quickly if you get too many heavy users

  • All of the U.S. carriers have been doing this from the start. They are all about the double-dipping. Unlike the wired home phone, they've always charged for both the incoming calls as well as the outgoing calls. Now some of the carriers are also the wired internet service providers to many homes as well as our mobile phones. This is now simply just another means for them to continue double-dipping our wallets for the sake of their own.
  • Idiot (Score:4, Informative)

    by HornyBastard ( 666805 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:55AM (#39720503)

    With any wireless service, you have a limited amount of bandwidth. That bandwidth is shared by everybody connecting to a tower.

    If you have more than 1 person trying to use as much bandwidth as they can, it will just degrade the service for everyone.

    You could get another frequency to operate on, or use more directional antennas so that less people connect to each transmitter, but that will only delay the inevitable.

    In these days of ever increasing bandwidth demands, there is no way that wireless can supply that demand.

    With a wired connection, you can add more cables.
    With a wireless connection, that is not an option.

    • With a wireless connection, that IS an option. If you have twice as many towers running at half the transmission power, you have effectively doubled your bandwidth. This is of course assuming the towers use either wired or highly-direction wireless to connect to the main trunk line.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Unless you use different frequencies for neighboring towers (keep in mind that it would be extremely expensive to do so), you will just be causing another problem.
        Where the towers overlap, you get a lot of interference, which degrades the service.
        If you want to cover the same area, you will have a lot of overlaps.

        Personal experience: I live on top of a hill with line of sight to 4 cellphone towers. Voice is fine, because that is relatively low bandwidth. But when I try to use HSPA, It's almost as bad as GPR

        • Unless you use different frequencies for neighboring towers

          You do realize that that is exactly how the cell phone system works, right?

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            You do realize that that is exactly how the cell phone system works, right?

            You do realize that putting up more cell towers is expensive, right?

            • His point is that they are *already* doing that, and they are already running out of "frequencies". There is a limited breadth of frequency that is useful for communication. Too low and you can't get any bandwidth out of it, too high and it doesn't go farther than 100 meters. A lot of the spectrum is also already licensed for other purposes (gps, consumer devices, VHF, UHF, government, etc).
    • Also (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:38AM (#39720693)

      The bandwidth is just lower period. When you compare wired to wireless wired is always way, WAY ahead.

      I mean take common consumer wireless and wired. Best you can get for wireless is 802.11n. If you run a 5GHz network, pure N mode, 40MHz channel, 3 antennas in the station and laptop (theoretically it supports 4 in the standard, never seen it in reality), with good signal you get 450mbps raw data rate max. Now with wireless, there's a heavy overhead so that raw rate equals 150mbps, maybe 200mbps effective data rate. That's as good as it gets in the home right now. That is shared between all devices, and degrades rapidly.

      As an example my laptop has a 2 antenna card, not 3. In my bedroom, about 40 feet from the base station, I'm lucky to see a raw rate above about 72mbps.

      Wired? 1gbps, no problem. Hard to even buy a NIC or switch that isn't gig these days. That is 1gbps, full duplex, to each device on the switch. So long as you don't damage the cable, anywhere with 100 meters can have that, as many devices as you like. 10gbps is perfectly doable too. It isn't pie-in-the-sky, it is a finalized, released, working standard. Only issue keeping it out of the home is cost and that is falling. Oh and in all cases legacy 100 or 10mbps devices are fine, they inter-operate and don't slow the whole system down.

      So never mind even adding more cable, wired is way ahead of wireless, always has been and probably always will be. Same thing on the high end too. Lest someone go find a proprietary wireless standard that allows for faster point-to-point links, please go have a look at what you can get on DWDM fibre optics. At any level, wired is a ton faster and then as the GP says, you can always add more cable.

      Wireless is nice because of the convenience, but wired will always rule for high bandwidth. LTE is nice and fast when people don't use it a ton. When someone goes and grabs a webpage and then sits quietly and allows others to use it, ya it is nice and fast, like cable modem fast. However if you all try to stream HD Netflix, the network will fall over, not enough bandwidth.

      • Have you every tried getting 1Gbps on a home network? You won't get it. And your typical home network is likely to have a hub, or in the best case a single server for data, which means you're still sharing that 1Gbps (usually closer to 200-300Mb peak without jumbo frames, which most devices are NOT setup to use out of the box) over all of your devices.

        I like your "you can always add more cable" comment, too. Do you know how expensive it is to run physical wires to existing buildings? I'll give you the answe

        • Do you realize how difficult it is to find a 1 Gbps hub? I'm not sure it's possible without going to old enterprise equipment. It's very

          unlikely that anyone with a 1 Gbps network at home is running anything but a switch.

          Now, the backbone of the switch may be considerably less than 2 Gbps per port, and probably is, but that's another matter entirely.

        • by Svartalf ( 2997 )

          Heh... You won't FIND a 1Gbit hub. 1Gbit switch, yes. The switch will allow you to see 800-900 Mbits of the theoretical signalling bandwidth, peer to peer, with the switch typically having an aggregate capacity within it of something like 4-6Gbits for consumer gear. That means the switch can provide a peak somewhere around 2-3 full duplex sessions or 4-6 half duplex actions. Pretty much everyone in the house will have "one gigabit" worth of bandwidth within the network backbone itself.

          As for the singl

          • True, but sometimes you don't need that much backbone throughput in the switch. At least in my situation, I had a client that was already on a 100mb/s network. I needed to perform a server migration from an old box to a new one. To accomplish this as quickly as possible on a cheap budget, I found a TP-Link branded (model TL-SG1005D) 5-port Gig switch for under 20 bucks. I was extremely skeptical of the performance. Sure enough, I managed to get a sustain rate of 99% gigabit link utilization on both ends of

  • I don't believe that (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I might believe it if there weren't any carriers that offer mobile data but not landline services. But when I look at Clear (formerly Clearwire) or even T-Mobile, I just don't buy that. They would offer totally wireless service, if they could.

    • by Svartalf ( 2997 )

      In Clear's case, it's that they don't have adequate backhaul or tower coverage for what they're subscribing for.

      In T-Mobile's case, it's the same thing.

      In AT&T's case it's a mix of the alleged by TFA combined with the former I mentioned.

      In the case of Verizon it's the same as AT&T, though with them, they've apparently got better backhaul such that they're rolling out rural fixed LTE service in some locations. It's not cheap, but it's on a par with Excede (ViaSat's new service that allegedly has as

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As an engineer for an ISP, I can't say that I blame them. Netflix, and video streaming in general, has caused massive leaps in traffic trends. Netflix alone consumes about 45% of our total bandwidth, other streaming (hulu, youtube, etc) consumes another 20%. While most companies saw this coming, I don't think many predicted the scale and expediency. Operators are scrambling to upgrade equipment / technologies to meet this demand. You almost have to reign in the usage, or increase costs to the consumer.

    • Re:Video Streaming (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:07AM (#39720799) Homepage

      Please explain, then, why some countries (European and Asian) are able to give 100Mbps UNLIMITED access to the home for vast swathes of people and have been doing so for years.

      Are those companies somehow "cheating" on their backend? Are they in bed with Netflix and other large content distributors?

      Surely, if you put a 100Mbps line to someone's door, you'd expect them to use 100Mbps at some point. Maybe not today, maybe not next year, but surely before they move up to any other product they will max it out. If all your estimates that you made when you install it are unchanged five or ten years down the road, surely that's naivety?

      And if you are properly planning for everyone to expand over time (which, surely, must have been a lesson learned by now), why is the associated amount of backend peering not in place in time? Why aren't your costs reflecting what it would cost you to do that? What, precisely, have you been doing with that percentage of profits that you set aside for future planning?

      A lot of UK ISP's have a similar "problem" with BBC iPlayer. My last ISP said it alone consumed 50% of their traffic at peak times (far outweighing anything done by P2P programs by a factor of 5 or 6 - and yet they limited P2P but not iPlayer!) and that had been a growing trend since the day it was introduced.

      So why haven't your growth estimates taken into account that people want more data, people buy more data, people will eventually start to use every ounce of the data they have already bought, and all these lovely increases in traffic will have a knock-on effect on all your infrastructure?

      And then, why have other countries and their ISP's not struggled similarly when their customers are connected to the same "Internet" as you are? And how have they been able to offer 100Mbps+ services for the last, what? Decade?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I don't know the business models of the European markets, so I won't begin to touch on that. Suffice it to say though, the US is a much larger footprint to cover with large rural distances in between, which inherently makes infrastructure costs quite a bit more.

        It's simple to "advertise" a max information rate as "burstable" that's the name of the game in the ISP industry. I promise you though, any ISP offering 100mbps (European or not) is not offering it as a commited information rate. That's the max in

        • by chihowa ( 366380 )

          I don't know the business models of the European markets, so I won't begin to touch on that. Suffice it to say though, the US is a much larger footprint to cover with large rural distances in between, which inherently makes infrastructure costs quite a bit more.

          This is such a bullshit excuse, and I'm tired of hearing it. There are metropolitan areas in the US that are as populated as entire European countries, yet we can't even get similar broadband speeds in these limited areas. I'm square in the middle of one of the top 20 cities, which has a population and population density higher than some places in Europe and Asia, yet I'm stuck with 1.5Mbps DSL or 12 Mbps cable.

          There are enough people in these cities to make a business off of fast broadband, the entire cou

          • by snadrus ( 930168 )
            This is why Wireless will always have a decent chance to beat hardwired access: more providers. A tower, permits, "minimal" hardware investment, and a backbone connection and you're a (poor) ISP. The bandwidth of a fiber optic cable may be huge, but it only goes to one monopolistic, throttling destination.
      • by swalve ( 1980968 )
        I'm sure there is a communications law of some kind that says when you double the number of connections, you quadruple (or something) the network complexity.

        If the UK were a US state, it would only be the 12th biggest state. It is smaller than Michigan. Yet there are 62 million people there, nearly double the # of people in the most populous state. That's a lot of people to spread the costs of installing a new network over. I'm sure the same applies in much of Europe.
      • I recall Europe having worse caps than the US, and in Asia (really, only Japan and I've heard SK), high bandwidth internet is only available in a handful of major cities and in no way represents the norm.

        The rest are just gilded road rumors.
        • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

          what you mean with high bandwidth? 10mbit? 20? 100? handful of major cities isn't really like it.

          and caps? sure, most of europe has transfer caps on _wireless_ connections, however there's entire countries where there's no transfer connections on wireless that costs 20euros a month and delivers your torrents at 150kbyte/s+.

          also in other news, wireless carriers are lobbying for nefarious ways to get a cut of your skype calls. because they want more money and can see where things are headed. nefarious becau

      • Please explain, then, why some countries (European and Asian) are able to give 100Mbps UNLIMITED access to the home for vast swathes of people and have been doing so for years.

        That's easy: it's government subsidized. So is ours, of course, the only difference is, here in the States we just give large amounts of taxpayer money away to major corporations without requiring anything in return for the people because the right palms are getting greased in Washington D.C.. In Europe, they actually require something in return, i.e., 21st century internet connectivity. Try that here and you'll get called a "soshulist" within minutes...God Forbid we regulate an industry, even one that g

    • Honestly, I'd fully support metered billing for internet connectivity, provided internet was once and for all declared a public utility subject to regulation in much the same way as the terrestrial telephone companies are, or at least, they open up the lines like they did with telephone service in the 90's so that consumers can shop around for their carrier and not be locked into the local monopolies we deal with today concerning our ISPs here in the States. For instance, our local power company can't just

      • I recall the common-carrier and public utility arguments going on in the Seventies; forty years on and still no resolution. (Finding common talking points is difficult enough and often... pointless.)

        An electric company sells you juice with defined characteristics and charges you for how much you use. A cable company sells you an "information pipe" of flowing bits using just enough standards such that things mostly work and charges ever more for only slightly bigger/faster pipes while doing their damnedest

    • by Svartalf ( 2997 )

      So long as the metered rates are relatively sane then it'll be fine. Right now, Verizon's charging me $80/mo for 10Gb of un-metered service and $10/Gb metered past that. Not TOO bad, really, so long as you don't have some idiot game yanking 10Gb worth of updates OTA (Yes, I had a game try that...we'll revisit it when I can afford to be eating an additional $100...which means probably never while it's sitting at the Hotel I'm staying at...).

      I'm managing fairly well on this and would do even better with the

    • Welcome back to the Compuserve model - where it's only metered if you don't bribe the ISP to put you on their whitelist. It is a model that was buried ages ago and needs to stay buried even with the pressure to bring it back.

      The only sane solution is flat rate(read:no caps or metering) data and make the differentiation be the speed. Metering only makes things worse when you make it a public utility; see Australia's Telstra for an example of why not to do metering on a public utility (or to meter at all).


  • Advertise the services offered on the phone or tablet such as TV, video streaming, etc to show how great the device is then cap the data, so if someone really wants to take advantage of those services telcos will be reaping the profits from the over cap usage fees.

  • That blows out the wireless towers. Or jamming. I know everyone loves wireless connectivity, but I'm more of a throwback to security 1st, convenience 2nd. That was kind of the entire reason DARPA buried hardline connections all those years ago.

  • In the US at least, wireless services are also exempt from the neutrality requirements that the telcos negotiated with content providers.

    So, switching to wireless-only for your home internet may, depending on your provider, mean opening yourself up to all that non-neutral stuff -- deep-packet inspections, throttled torrenting, blocked or throttled access to non-ISP-provided streaming video, and so forth. As far as I know, none of the LTE carriers are doing any of this now, but Verizon fought pretty hard for

  • If he gets the "big Office" what he needs to do is

    1 fix OCare so that it will actually work correctly
    2 fix the economy (or at least make sure it doesn't crater in the US)
    3 keep us out of any more "wars"

    and the one that all of US can back
    4 require that all the local carriers have fiber to 80% of households (with say a 5 meg minimum bandwidth available) by 2015.

    then i think he will be a lock on getting a second term.

  • Then they wouldn't implement caps, they'd bite the bullet and charge by the GB or TB.

    The real reason they want data caps is because they think eliminating all-you-can-eat will alienate more customers than data caps will.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger