Faster, More Symmetric Networking

Would you like to have a fat Internet connection to your home? If we can agree that 100 Mb/s in both directions would qualify as “fat”. you should be able to have your way in a year or two, three at the most. Here’s a quick survey of the alternatives.

First. we have a clue as to why Comcast still uses relatively pokey DOCSIS 1.1: it’s skipping the faster and more symmetric DOCSIS 2.0 and going straight to the nirvana of even faster connections with DOCSIS 3.0:

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) plans to have a Docsis 3.0 infrastructure in place in about 20 percent of its footprint by the end of 2008, teeing up cable modem services capable of delivering shared Internet speeds in excess of 100 Mbit/s.

The nation’s largest MSO will be 3.0-capable in one-in-five homes by the end of next year, according to Comcast Chief Technology Officer Tony Werner, the keynoter here Wednesday morning at the first CableNEXT conference.

(H/T Engadget)

This should make them competitive with FTTH for a good while, but not forever:

While we’ve seen all sorts of blazing feats over fiber here lately, it’s not often that such wide open bandwidth gets piped directly to a home, but a 75-year old Swede recently changed all that when she had a 40Gbps connection installed in her domicile.

She can download a DVD in two seconds.

Closer to home, Verizon is going faster and more symmetric with FiOS:

With the help of the symmetrical services, users can benefit from equally fast downstream and upstream connections of up to 15 megabits per second (Mbps) or up to 20 Mbps, based on the state where the service is sold.

DSL over copper isn’t sitting still either:

University of Melbourne research fellow Dr John Papandriopoulos is in the throes of moving to Silicon Valley after developing an algorithm to reduce the electromagnetic interference that slows down ADSL connections.

Most ADSL services around the world are effectively limited to speeds between 1 to 20Mbps, but if Dr Papandriopoulos’s technology is successfully commercialised that speed ceiling would be closer to 100Mbps.

Papandriopoulos is joining ASSIA, a company founded by DSL inventor John Cioffi (and named after his wife and EVP.) ASSIA currently develops tools, but I suspect that will change. (Assia, on the other hand, is an aesthete.)

And wireless is on the move as well. Corporate products conforming to the new ~100 Mb/s (real speed) 802.11n standard are starting to roll out in trials, 4G cellular network deployments are starting, and UWB for the home is available at multi-hundred megabit/sec rates.

One has the feeling that the residential network regulators are already fighting yesterday’s war, and that the network pessimists have no basis for their fears.

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