After a pretty successful rollout of uber-fast internet access, Google has announced it has plans to "pause" the expansion of its Fiber rollout into 10 more cities, as well as a 9% cull in Fiber staff.
Google's current Fiber customers will not be affected, but those that were expecting the high-speed Fiber goodness to hit their neighborhood will not want to even read the end of this sentence. The confirmed rollouts in San Francisco, Irvine, Huntsville and San Antonio are all unaffected, but the planned Fiber rollout for Chicago, Dallas, Portland, Tampa and San Diego will have residents disappointed.
The reason behind Google's sudden "pause" in its Fiber rollout? Google said it needed to "stay ahead of the curve" in providing gigabit internet service, with the company recently acquiring high-speed wireless ISP, Webpass. If we end up seeing Google push into providing high-speed internet access wirelessly, it would explain why it stopped the future Fiber rollouts because physical hardware being installed all across the US is expensive compared to a new wireless system.
I feel like a king with my 100Mbps fiber connection, and when I talk to friends like Ryan Shrout over at PC Perspective who has 2Gbps fiber - I can't help but feel like I'm about to cry. First world problems aside, Nokia has teamed with SK Broadband to test a new broadband service capable of bursting up to 52.2Gbps.
SK Broadband needed to use multi-dwelling units (MDUs) from HFR and Nokia's universal next generation passive optical network (PON) technology. SK Broadband and Nokia used the following tech:
- TWDM-PON: 40Gbps symmetrical
- XGS-PON: 10Gbps symmetrical
- GPON: 2.5Gbps symmetrical
SK Broadband's network division boss Yoo Ji-chang explained: "As a new era looms that demands gigabit Internet, ultra high definition video and virtual and augmented reality services, SK Broadband will establish a network infrastructure that provides the best customer value. Following the world's first commercialization of an ADSL service and the two-pair LAN cable 500M service, we will establish a top-class optical Internet platform to create the best gigabit broadband service environment for our customers".
Over the last couple of weeks I've been complaining that my 1Gbps network connection to my NAS was too slow, as I was only transferring to and from my Thecus and QNAP NAS at 100MB/sec - well, 5Gbps networking is on the way, promising 500MB/sec.
The new 5Gbps Ethernet standard has been finalized, with IEEE 802.3bz ready for the job - soon, at least. We've been sitting at a wall for a while now on gigabit ethernet, because 10GbE requires much more expensive cables in the form of fiber optic, or more expensive Cat6a or Cat7 cabling. It's not backwards compatible with previous standards, as well as routers, switches, and network cards for 10GbE networking being much more expensive than the normal GbE products.
This is where the new 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T standards step up, both "specifically created to use 10GbE signaling, but at a rate that would be compatible with existing runs of Cat5e and Cat6 cable out to 100 meters. The 2.5Gbps standard can run on Cat5e out to 100 meters, while the 5Gbps standard requires Cat6 cable to run 100 meters. Both should be far easier - and cheaper - to bring to market than current 10GbE technologies", reports ExtremeTech.
Now we need to see AMD and Intel bringing out chipsets in the near future with 2.5/5GBASE-T compatibility, so that our SSDs that push 500MB/sec can now do it over our networks. Oh boy.
Google is mere days away from unveiling its new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, as well as their new Andromeda operating system which is said to be an infusion of Chrome OS and Android, and could be the next big thing which will be ready in 2017.
The upcoming hardware-focused media event should see a bunch of new devices unveiled by Google, with notorious leaker Evan Blass teasing the Chromecast Ultra. Google's purported Chromecast Ultra is a 4K-ready device, which will have the same form factor as the current Chromecast, but it not features a "G" insignia, with the Chromecast logo removed.
The new 4K-ready Chromecast rocks a physical button, which could be used as a reset button, or an on/off switch. Google will reportedly be shipping the new 4K-powered Chromecast Ultra in October, for just $69.
As I type this, I'm connected to a 100/40Mbps fiber connection with the National Broadband Network (NBN) here in Australia. It's one of the fastest connections you can get, but 1Gbps seems like a distant goal for most people - and now we're already hearing about 1Tbps connections.
Recently, Nokia Bell Labs with the help of Deutsche Telekom and the Technical University of Munich have teased 1Tbps connectivity in a field trial that involved "real conditions" like varying channel conditions and traffic levels. The difference here was a new modulation technique called Probabilistic Constellation Shaping.
Engadget reports that instead of using "all the networking's constellation points (the "alphabet of the transmission") equally, like typical fiber, it prefers those points with lower amplitudes -- the ones that are less susceptible to noise. That helps transmissions reach up to 30 percent further, since you can adapt the transmission rate to fit the channel. It's so effective that the team got close to the theoretical peak data speeds possible for the fiber connection".
We all hate data caps, and it seems Netflix isn't a fan of breathing internet under water, through a straw, either.
The streaming giant wrote a very strongly worded letter to the FCC, saying: "Data caps on fixed line networks do not appear to serve a legitimate purpose: they are an ineffective network management tool. Data caps on fixed line networks do not serve a traffic management function... the Commission should recognize that data caps and UBP on fixed line networks are an unnecessary constraint on advanced telecommunications capability".
There are some ISPs with 1TB data caps, which are okay for now, but what about constant 4K video streaming through Netflix and YouTube? Netflix notes this in their letter as well, adding: "A data cap or allotment of 300 GB of data per month or higher is required just to meet the Internet television needs of an average American. An above average television watcher, a multi-occupant household, or a consumer wishing to watch in 4K requires a much higher cap".
T-Mobile is preparing to unleash its next big thing: 400Mbps LTE speeds for specific smartphones, in one of 319 cities.
First off, you'll need Samsung's new Galaxy S7 or S7 edge smartphone, and secondly there'll be an update towards the end of October that will provide up to 400Mbps over LTE. The new speed boost is thanks to 4x4 MIMO, which doubles the upload and download speeds by increasing data paths between the smartphone, and the cell tower.
T-Mobile teases that the service is already active in 319 cities, and that it will be pushed down onto Samsung's two flagship smartphones after a software update later this month.
It looks like 5G could become a reality sooner than we think, with the FCC wanting to cut through the usual red tape to make things happen quicker.
A new deal has been signed with the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau that will see them skipping over the usual historic preservation reviews for small 5G cell sites throughout the US. As long as these sites won't "adversely impact" historic locations, 5G will be here faster.
The FCC will also take in some "welcome input" on how to make things even better, but this doesn't mean you will be getting a 5G-powered plan or smartphone in the next 12-18 months. We still haven't had the telecommunications industry agree on a 5G standard, and we don't have any smartphones that have 5G modems in them yet. So we're still a few years away for now.
Last year, Google announced Fiber was making its way to another American city in Charlotte, North Carolina. Today, sign-ups for residents and businesses begin: anyone living in Highland Creek can put their name in for Fiber 1000 + TV, Fiber 1000, or Fiber 100 plans ($130, $70, and $50/mo, respectively), with a Fiber phone option for all plans. Meanwhile, eligible small businesses can benefit from one of three new business plans, each debuting in Charlotte.
Google says it will of course expand coverage to more neighbourhoods in the city, but it will take time.
The company is also working on bringing a budget 25mbps service for just $15/mo to financially challenged citizens in Charlotte, as well as gigabit internet free of charge to select public and affordable housing buildings. Google says this venture will "build on existing investments, like our support of digital inclusion fellows at the Urban League, Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library."
There's a huge change coming to Wi-Fi technology, with the industry body behind Wi-Fi meeting, and signing off on a new level of performance that's going to blow the walls off of your house. The only issue is it won't roll out instantly, as we'll need new smartphones, tablets, routers, and Wi-Fi adapters to be upgraded to this super-quick new standard.
The new standard is 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which has individual 5GHz channel speeds of up to 867MHz. The update known as 'Wave 2' is coming, pushing the Wave 1 speeds from 802.11 to new heights, including technologies like MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input multiple output) and wider channel bandwidth that will allow for faster than ever Wi-Fi transfers.
The Wave 2 update to 802.11ac Wi-Fi has maximum channel widths of up to 160MHz, which provides twice the potential throughput of the current 802.11ac devices on the market. Previous chips used up to three input/output streams, but the new standards can do four input/output streams.