It may not look like much at first glance, but a map created by University of Wisconsin computer science professor Paul Barford and about a dozen colleagues took around four years to produce. He believes it could make the Internet more resilient to accidents, disasters, or intentional attacks.
The map shows the paths taken by the long-distance fiber-optic cables that carry Internet data across the continental U.S. The exact routes of those cables, which belong to major telecommunications companies such as AT&T and Level 3, have not been previously publicly viewable, despite the fact that they are effectively critical public infrastructure, says Barford.
Companies such as Consumer Cellular are known as mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs. Essentially they’re marketing and customer service operations, leasing network capacity from the Big Four U.S. carriers and reselling it under their own brands. Switching carriers typically saves customers at least $20 a month (some base their charges on use), and MVNOs often target niche audiences—seniors, kids, immigrants.
Years ago, the iPhone killed a lot of these companies, which couldn’t keep up with consumer demand for increasingly data-hungry smartphones. Times have changed: It’s a lot cheaper and easier to run an MVNO than it used to be, and more customers are seeking an alternative to the Verizons and AT&Ts of the world. MVNOs account for 36 million (1 in 10) U.S. wireless subscriptions, estimates researcher Strategy Analytics, roughly double their 2009 numbers. During that time, subscriptions at the Big Four rose 28 percent.
Google announced the Loon launch at a press conference in Mountain View, California, on Wednesday alongside executives from Indonesia mobile network operators Indosat, Telkomsel, and XL Axiata. The four have signed a memorandum of understanding to begin testing Project Loon airborne base station technology over Indonesia in 2016.
Estimates of Indonesia's internet penetration vary. Indonesia is home to 256 million people spread across more than 17,000 islands and official calculations are that roughly one third of the population are connected. However, internetsociety.org estimates Indonesia has 15.8 percent internet user penetration, ranking it 135th in the world, ahead of many nations in Africa and parts of Asia.
Still in “Early Access” (invite only) Google’s foray into a wireless service is interesting for several reasons. From the Google blog
“We developed new technology that gives you better coverage by intelligently connecting you to the fastest available network at your location whether it's Wi-Fi or one of our two partner LTE networks. As you go about your day, Project Fi automatically connects you to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots we've verified as fast and reliable. Once you're connected, we help secure your data through encryption. When you're not on Wi-Fi, we move you between whichever of our partner networks is delivering the fastest speed, so you get 4G LTE in more places.”
“…for $20 a month you get all the basics (talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in 120+ countries), and then it's a flat $10 per GB for cellular data while in the U.S. and abroad. 1GB is $10/month, 2GB is $20/month, 3GB is $30/month, and so on. Since it's hard to predict your data usage, you'll get credit for the full value of your unused data. Let's say you go with 3GB for $30 and only use 1.4GB one month. You'll get $16 back, so you only pay for what you use.”
This month Walker introduced his company’s big play, a service called Switch that replaces workers’ desk phones and numbers with an app that works across whichever devices they want. If your boss calls your number, you can take it on your cellphone while walking from your car and then transfer it to your PC-connected headset at your desk. And when Switch connects to Google Apps it pulls in whatever data the apps have on the caller, such as e-mails, calendar meetings and shared files.
It’s about time – introduced with the new iPad Air 2
“The Apple SIM gives you the flexibility to choose from a variety of short-term plans from select carriers in the U.S. and UK right on your iPad. So whenever you need it, you can choose the plan that works best for you—with no long-term commitments. And when you travel, you may also be able to choose a data plan from a local carrier for the duration of your trip.”
Actually, UPS delivery staff have had it with their DIAD (their Honeywell device) - on the fly switching between GSM and CDMA networks, leading to improved network coverage and lower costs from standardized device provisioning and deployment – for years now
Gogo had become the name most associated with the ability to check email in the sky, much as TiVo Inc., the pioneer of digital video recording, was once synonymous with the ability to fast-forward through commercials. Like TiVo, Gogo effectively invented its category.
But increasingly with in-flight Internet services, "the resources of a small, independent company may not be enough to carry this through," said connectivity consultant Tim Farrar, the head of the consulting-firm TMF Associates Inc. "Ultimately the big boys are going to dictate how this technology gets adopted."
In an effort to expand access nationwide, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachoski in January 2013 issued a "Gigabit City Challenge" calling for all 50 states to have at least one community with gigabit Internet access by 2015.
Since then, it's become a bit of a race between private and public providers. Google, of course, kicked it off with the announcement that it would provide its gigabit Google Fiber to Kansas City for just $70 per month. Later, The Wall Street Journal reported that a small telco in rural Vermont, Vtel, planned to halve Google's offer, providing gigabit services for just $35. Some cites, like Seattle, have already given up the fight.
We've found 16 areas that have or plan to offer Gigabit access (or close to it).
Experiencing the ViaSat Ka Band satellite service on my Jetblue flight to Boston.
The rollout is gradual – only 20 A 320s have the bulge – the radome with the antenna - and the distinctive livery.
The download speed on the basic Simply Surf plan (free through June) is the best I have ever encountered on a flight – GoGo (air to ground) on Delta, Row 44 (air to satellite) on Southwest etc. For $ 9 an hour you can upgrade to the Plus plan for much faster uploads and web streaming.
The nav using Google maps is fairly high res with drill down to every minor streets.
For now, it will be a guessing game if your flight will have wifi. Delta has saturated availability throughout its domestic fleet (and last week I caught the service for 3 hours starting in Canada on a flight from Europe) and so it is more predictable. Southwest emails you night before if your flight offers it – not ideal but the advance notice is somewhat helpful.
“It is well known that America’s military dominates both the air and the sea. What’s less celebrated is that the US has also dominated the spectrum, a feat that is just as critical to the success of operations. Communications, navigation, battlefield logistics, precision munitions—all of these depend on complete and unfettered access to the spectrum, territory that must be vigilantly defended from enemy combatants.
Having command of electromagnetic waves allows US forces to operate drones from a hemisphere away, guide cruise missiles inland from the sea, and alert patrols to danger on the road ahead. Just as important, blocking enemies from using the spectrum is critical to hindering their ability to cause mayhem, from detonating roadside bombs to organizing ambushes. As tablet computers and semiautonomous robots proliferate on battlefields in the years to come, spectrum dominance will only become more critical. Without clear and reliable access to the electromagnetic realm, many of America’s most effective weapons simply won’t work.
Yet despite the importance of this crucial resource, America’s grip on the spectrum has never been more tenuous. Insurgencies and rogue nations cannot hope to match our multibillion-dollar expenditures on aircraft carriers and stealth bombers, but they are increasingly able to afford the devices necessary to wage spectrum warfare, which are becoming cheaper and more powerful at the same exponential pace as all electronics.
“Now anybody can go to a store and buy equipment for $10,000 that can mimic our capability,” says Robert Elder, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who today is a research professor at George Mason University. Communications jammers are abundant on global markets or can be assembled from scratch using power amplifiers and other off-the-shelf components. And GPS spoofers, with the potential to disrupt everything from navigation to drones, are simple to construct for anyone with a modicum of engineering expertise.”