dondigitalia

Wireless Networking

22 posts in this topic

I just got a new laptop, courtesy of the best boss I've ever had, who bought it so that I can continue doing work for him after I move to San Franicisco. It's fantastic. I can have my computer with me anywhere! As I type this, I am sitting in my favorite recliner, preparing to watch a movie while I do my online deeds.

Thank you, technology!

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I just got a new laptop, courtesy of the best boss I've ever had, who bought it so that I can continue doing work for him after I move to San Franicisco. It's fantastic. I can have my computer with me anywhere! As I type this, I am sitting in my favorite recliner, preparing to watch a movie while I do my online deeds.

Thank you, technology!

It's so great to read this sort of joy and appreciation. Good for you!

By the way, since you say "anywhere," do you mean within your home and "hot spots" outside, or is there a connection similar to cell phone coverage?

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In my house and places that offer wireless networking, like Starbucks. Although cellular internet would be even better!

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I can have my computer with me anywhere!

Thank you, technology!

Same for me! It's great. I enjoy checking my email, the Forum, and surfing the net in bed before I go sleep at night. I bought the hardware at Wal-Mart for around $40.00 that broadcasts the cable signal throughout my house. It has been worth every penny.

I was also pleasantly surprised that I could get on the net from my motel rooms on my last vacation. Most of the rooms had free connections and there were hot spots in the lobbies.

Is the Internet signal transmitted from satellites yet?

gmartin

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Is the Internet signal transmitted from satellites yet?

I think satellite service is relatively expensive and restricted in coverage. But I noticed that Verizon recently started offering broadband wireless service with a special card that you put in your pc. It has its own telephone number, just like a cell phone. They claim 300-500 kbs speeds. Unlimited internet service for $79 month; seems fantastic to me. Makes me want to get a new laptop now.

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I think satellite service is relatively expensive and restricted in coverage.

I recently switched from cable to Directv (for television, and DSL for internet). I see a lot of ads on Directv for something called D-WAY, which is billed as high-speed internet via satellite. They claim full coveraget across the U.S. as long as you have a clear view of the southern sky. Don't know the cost or the speed, but it is an existing satellite internet service.

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I recently switched from cable to Directv (for television, and DSL for internet). I see a lot of ads on Directv for something called D-WAY, which is billed as high-speed internet via satellite. They claim full coveraget across the U.S. as long as you have a clear view of the southern sky. Don't know the cost or the speed, but it is an existing satellite internet service.

The cost is several times that of internet cable systems and, though I do not know the exact speed, I always see them comparing themselves to dial-up, not broadband cable. Not a good sign. But, regardless, until they come up with a portable receiver you are stuck to your home.

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Residential satellite is comparable to ADSL1 in speed.

Coverage is actually it's strongest suite. Even the most remote areas of Australia are covered cheaply as long as they can see the sky.

But there is a huge drawback that limits what you can do with it, latency.

As a result, some things such as most online computer games or VOIP are virtually unusable.

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But there is a huge drawback that limits what you can do with it, latency.

As a result, some things such as most online computer games or VOIP are virtually unusable.

Unless something has changed recently, satelite connections also require that you be connected to a phone line to send signals upstream.

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Residential satellite is comparable to ADSL1 in speed.

DIRECWAY shows a speed comparison between their satellite and dial-up connections, leaving out DSL or cable. That made me suspicious. The comparison they show here has the satellite downloading a 4mb file in 1.1 minutes. Isn't any ADSL several times faster than that?

Coverage is actually it's strongest suite. Even the most remote areas of Australia are covered cheaply as long as they can see the sky.

Satellite must be a godsend for those in remote areas who would otherwise not be serviced by other alternatives. But when you say "covered cheaply," I can understand that for remote areas, but what about built-up areas such as major cities? The costs shown here are substantially more than readily available DSL or cable broadband.

I wonder, though, if things are different in Australia?

But there is a huge drawback that limits what you can do with it, latency.

As a result, some things such as most online computer games or VOIP are virtually unusable.

I think there is also a problem with a VPN client. I remember Caltech offered to set me up with a VPN client for remote access, so I wouldn't be surprised if VPN is being used quite a bit nowadays.

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Unless something has changed recently, satelite connections also require that you be connected to a phone line to send signals upstream.

Evidently that has changed. DIRECWAY has a FAQ entry here on that question. Their answer:

"There is no phone line or dial-up data modem required to use your DIRECWAY service."

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By the way, since you say "anywhere," do you mean within your home and "hot spots" outside, or is there a connection similar to cell phone coverage?

There is a relatively new wireless protocol, 802.16, that supports speed up to 100 Mb/s and has a range of 30 miles. A typical cell phone has a range of 4-6 miles.

Once the infrastructure is in place, [which seems simple, they could just use existing cell phone towers] cell phone-like broadband internet access will become a reality.

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There is a relatively new wireless protocol, 802.16,  that supports speed up to 100 Mb/s and has a range of 30 miles.  A typical cell phone has a range of 4-6 miles. 

Once the infrastructure is in place, [which seems simple, they could just use existing cell phone towers] cell phone-like broadband internet access will become a reality.

Unless I am completely confused about the service (would not be the first time :P ) I thought that the currently existing service I mentioned in this post was based on the existing cell phone towers. Isn't 300-500 kbs a decent broadband rate?

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Doing the math in here to save fetching a piece of paper and also so that anyone curious can follow it.

A 4MB file is 4,194,304 bytes. It took 1.1 minutes to download which is 66 seconds.

That works out to be 63,550 bytes per second. :P

For some obscure reason, computer network bandwidth is measured in bits, not bytes.

Anyway, there is 8 bits in a byte so that transfer speed for that file works out to be

508,400bits per second. Or in other words, once the data addressing information is factored in, the speed for that test is equivalent to a 512kb ADSL connection. ;)

Or approximately 10x a good dialup connection.

----

Australian cities are generally extremely spread out. Cable is prohibitively expensive to install in a lot of the areas because there isn't enough customers per hundred metre cable run to justify the rollout costs.

A lot of the phone networks have their exchanges spread out too, using special amplifiers for people farther out from the exchange to carry the voice signal. Those amplifiers are incompatible with ADSL, to many peoples frustration.

As a result, a lot of people are left with no choice but satellite if they wish to have broadband.

The situation has been improving a lot in the past year with some local inventions being rolled out that change the way how ADSL is handled, in order to make it work better over a longer distance.

Another recent change down here is that some ISP's have managed to jury rig a wireless broadband solution. They purchase room on the roof of a local building that is on top of a hill in each suburb and stick a wireless network router there.

Off the shelf wireless network cards have multidirectional antennas on them. The ISP's chop off the old aerial and replace it with a unidirectional aerial that focuses the signal into a tight beam. That beam can send the signal for several kilometres to the roof the ISP has rented, which relays it to the next roof until it gets to the ISP home building.

That solution if implemented correctly provide speeds that are even better than cable. :)

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I just thought that I would add quickly something else, a huge value to me. :P

The main communications connection to the world that Australia uses, is the Southern Cross Cable. It spans across half the world from the east coast of Australia to the west coast of the USA. It has approximately 29,000km of undersea fibre optic cable in it.

Privately built by a joint venture between several communications companies that normally compete with each other in every other area and financed by 24 banks, it cost $1 billion USD to construct. In the time that it has been operational, it has earned one hell of a big profit. ;)

I used the internet and communications in general(international phone calls) before that cable was built. Everything was so slow and incredibly expensive.

That cable coming online, has given the country enough internet bandwidth for years to come. It has also caused the cost of international phone calls between Australia and the civilised world to plummet to just 0.5c USD (yes, you read that correctly, not even a full cent) per minute.

I do not know the name of the people who thought up this project, I wish I did.

They are some of those forgotten heroes that are often taken for granted. But their vision of what communications could be like has changed my country and my life significantly for the better so I offer them my thanks.

Southern Cross Cable

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Or in other words, once the data addressing information is factored in, the speed for that test is equivalent to a 512kb ADSL connection. :P

Is this figure, which shows ADSL at more than twice as fast as the satellite time for a 4mb download, wrong?

A lot of the phone networks have their exchanges spread out too, using special amplifiers for people farther out from the exchange to carry the voice signal. Those amplifiers are incompatible with ADSL, to many peoples frustration.

I was right at the edge of the distance from the central station for DSL, so they installed some sort of amplifier, trying to get me as a customer. It failed to increase the speed by enough, which is why I wound up staying with cable broadband.

What do you think about the cell phone broadband I mentioned in a previous post? It is here now.

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The thing that is complicating things is that both Satellite and DSL have theoretical top speeds far in excess as to what is actually delivered.

The ADSL top speed is 7Mb/sec, the satellite can scale much farther. (Corporate customers can gank down 100Mb/sec easily off satellite internet).

They are selling a 512Kb link for the satellite. But the ADSL plans that you were comparing it to, had the language of "Upto 1.5MB" which basically means that it has that top of the range plan showing the download time of half that it offers, as well as lower priced plans with various speeds.

The ISP's decide on the top speed that they offer their customers not based on the technologies theoretical top speed, but instead based off how much people their wholesale pipe can fit on it without getting too congested.

Generally the amount of speed that is sold to the customers, is far in excess to what they actually have in the wholesale pipe so they rely on everybody not using it at the same time in order to deliver a fast service.

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The ISP's decide on the top speed that they offer their customers not based on the technologies theoretical top speed, but instead based off how much people their wholesale pipe can fit on it without getting too congested.

Thanks for the clarifications, Michael. So, if I understand your overall point correctly, it is your experience that the actual service delivered to the average satellite customer is on the same order as the actual service delivered to the average ADSL customer, right? (I don't doubt your conclusion. Mine is based on very limited knowledge.)

I would still love to hear your thoughts on that cell phone broadband service that I mentioned. It seems rather phenomenal to me that Verizon has it available now. I mean, my cell phone works in huge area, not just Starbucks hot spots, so a cell # card in my laptop looks like it will give me the same portability with a computer that I have with my cell phone.

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Speaking of wireless and cool toys from bosses, my Verizon wireless card allows me to go online anywhere I can get a cell signal. It works virtually anywhere, so I was able to go online during my trip to NYC and even in traffic driving around Texas.

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Thanks for the clarifications, Michael. So, if I understand your overall point correctly, it is your experience that the actual service delivered to the average satellite customer is on the same order as the actual service delivered to the average ADSL customer, right? (I don't doubt your conclusion. Mine is based on very limited knowledge.) 

Yes, it is on the same order. It depends more on what the telco have throttled the connection back to than on the technology itself. The latency restricts the uses.

But if you are an average user who looks at web pages, downloads the occasional big file and sometimes listens to streaming broadcasts from CNN(or the ARI site), satellite won't hold you back at all for those uses.

I have no personal experience with the mobile phone broadband technology. As far as I know, it isn't available in Australia so I have not used it or witnessed it's operation. If it is cheap, it certainly sounds intriguing. :P

Since it covers a wide area, something that does bother me about it is security. Wireless networks are notorious for being insecure. ;)

Does anyone know the security protocols that 802.16 uses to prevent the signal from being tapped or hijacked?

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I have no personal experience with the mobile phone broadband technology. As far as I know, it isn't available in Australia so I have not used it or witnessed it's operation. If it is cheap, it certainly sounds intriguing. :P

Verizon is charging $79.99 a month for unlimited use, which is more than twice the usual price for other broadband services. But, considering that it enables you to use your computer at broadband speeds wherever you can use your cell phone, ithe price seems reasonable indeed.

Since it covers a wide area, something that does bother me about it is security. Wireless networks are notorious for being insecure. ;)

Does anyone know the security protocols that 802.16 uses to prevent the signal from being tapped or hijacked?

Here is Verizon's FAQ question and answer on security. It doesn't say very much.

Question: Is my company's proprietary data secure traveling over the Verizon Wireless NationalAccess and BroadbandAccess network?

Answer: Verizon Wireless NationalAccess and BroadbandAccess service uses CDMA technology, which provides authentication and inherent data protection. Verizon Wireless always recommends you use a VPN and firewall software to secure your information.

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Unless I am completely confused about the service (would not be the first time  ;) ) I thought that the currently existing service I mentioned in this post was based on the existing cell phone towers. Isn't 300-500 kbs a decent broadband rate?

That post managed to slip under my radar :P. I am unsure of the protocol that Verizon uses for their wireless broadband network, but I don't think it's 802.14. It appears that it is directly dependant on cellular technology.

The new 802.14 protocol works exactly like the current wireless networks used in homes, offices and hot-spots [based on the 802.11 protocol], but it has a longer range and higher speeds. Not only could ISPs use it to distribute wireless broadband access, but individuals could use it to set up private networks that span across the city, with no cables!

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