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Posted: 1/30/2006 12:49:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 12:53:38 PM EDT by thompsondd]
I won't go into the reasons that I ask this question, but would like to hear your thoughts on what you might expect or like to see in the next 5-10 years regarding the convergence of data, voice, and video networks.

Is it or will it ever 'ALL' come together? High speed internet (data), VoIP (voice) and video (content, DVR, Video on Demand, etc) all on one homegenous 'network' in your home?

Will your TV have an ethernet port on it? Will it have a CD/DVD drive built into it?
Will you be able to have a single device, such as a cable modem, and take in multiple video signals such as cable and redisplay channel 5 to port 1 and HBO to port 13 of a data network?

Just imagine having a single source into your home for everything, data, voice, and video. Imagine hanging off that device something that looks like a computer, but with tons and tons
I mean, gigs and gigs of drive space that holds all your movies, music, photos, etc. Imagine that box pulling content down (or having it pushed down) as bandwidth allows so that it is there when you are ready to watch it. Push this MP3 stream out to a home speaker system (no more need for seperate tuners, cassette, DVD players, etc except to support 'legacy' material), a video stream out to a monitor, a different video stream out to a different monitor, etc. And what about those 'monitors'? How much longer before your front window, wallpaper or a 'piece of art' hanging on the wall can frost over and display content?

What about audio like radio stations?

Just curious.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 12:55:34 PM EDT
Woo hoo! I can finally talk about my job!

Convergence is already a reality in much of the corporate world. As it pertains to voice, traditional TDM PBX's are going the way of the dodo. I would be suprised to see any major telecom players left doing anything other than VOIP in the next 10 years. Cisco is dominating this market right now, and dragging companies like Avaya and Nortel behind them (flame suit on).

Convergence is already here, and I'm having a ball preaching it's virtues.

I've never given much though to consumer/residential applications, however.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 12:58:21 PM EDT
It IS coming together. Local phone companies are FUCKED. The future is wireless/packages. In fact, the company I work for has stated they are moving away from being known as a "phone" company and want to push to be known as a "content provider".
We dont sell you a phone, we sell you a cell phone, a home phone and cable. And it all rides 1 peice of coax dropped to your house. We offer news and videos streamed to your phone. We are upgrading our cell towers to run from roughly 9 miles coverage areas to 70. 70 miles coverage from 1 site!

Its happening, today. Local phone companies are still running under FCC laws which determine rates and access areas. VoIP technology is not covered under these rulings, and the FCC wont touch it for a minimum of 3 to 5. Essentially, we have a non regulated market taking on a regulated market. What do you think will happen?

We offer phones that serve as your cell and homephone. When your out and about your on our cell network, when you get home you plug your phone into a base station and it becomes your home phone using VoIP on your coax.

The future is really exciting, if your a techy geeklike me in the industry. You'll get more options, more packages, more coverage, better media, faster internet and you'll get it cheaper and in a more streamlined package via 1 bill from 1 company.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:00:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:
Woo hoo! I can finally talk about my job!

Convergence is already a reality in much of the corporate world. As it pertains to voice, traditional TDM PBX's are going the way of the dodo. I would be suprised to see any major telecom players left doing anything other than VOIP in the next 10 years. Cisco is dominating this market right now, and dragging companies like Avaya and Nortel behind them (flame suit on).

Convergence is already here, and I'm having a ball preaching it's virtues.

I've never given much though to consumer/residential applications, however.



Hey, you do it to eh?

I think most telecomm players are looking to get rid of the local FCC ruled access's are quickly as possible. Its a dead end for them.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:02:20 PM EDT
Convergence? I already have networked media servers with 2 terabytes of available storage just for music & DVDs on the home network.

I am not interested in watching my cellphone. This micropayment per view crap on a cellphone is completely stupid.

I am not sure about movies on demand either via DVR boxes through the cable companies are going to be the permenant solution. They only have so much available storage.

After we go to power line data transmission and have many gigahertz of bandwidth, I can see companies like NetFlix becoming the distribution source of cataloged content.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:03:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:
Woo hoo! I can finally talk about my job!

Convergence is already a reality in much of the corporate world. As it pertains to voice, traditional TDM PBX's are going the way of the dodo. I would be suprised to see any major telecom players left doing anything other than VOIP in the next 10 years. Cisco is dominating this market right now, and dragging companies like Avaya and Nortel behind them (flame suit on).

Convergence is already here, and I'm having a ball preaching it's virtues.

I've never given much though to consumer/residential applications, however.



I ask specifically as it relates to the upcoming Cisco acquistion of Scientific-Atlanta and the potential that it could have. There is a blending of enterprise and consumer markets to a degree. The extent and depth can be argued. Will this further blur the division and what will come from it.

Scientific-Atlanta is mostly known by consumers for the set top cable boxes that sit in your house. They also make all the transmission gear (amplifiers, encoders and decoders, etc) for the providers. They also do all the subscriber/content stuff on the boxes (guides/programming, etc) I see the set tops playing in the consumer market much like Linksys type gear. But what of the transmission side? Will video go IP? If so, video is video and IP is IP and there will not be much distinction between consumer and enterprise.

Will Cisco finally drop the Linksys name and just be Cisco, across the board in enterprise, service provider, and consumer? Surely they won't maintain the Linksys AND Scientific-Atlanta names as well as Cisco?

Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:05:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:
Woo hoo! I can finally talk about my job!

Convergence is already a reality in much of the corporate world. As it pertains to voice, traditional TDM PBX's are going the way of the dodo. I would be suprised to see any major telecom players left doing anything other than VOIP in the next 10 years. Cisco is dominating this market right now, and dragging companies like Avaya and Nortel behind them (flame suit on).

Convergence is already here, and I'm having a ball preaching it's virtues.

I've never given much though to consumer/residential applications, however.



Cisco is officially the #1 name in telephony. Not just IP telephony, but telephony as a whole. That is VoIP and traditional TDM based PBX's combined.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:08:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Specop_007:

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:
Woo hoo! I can finally talk about my job!

Convergence is already a reality in much of the corporate world. As it pertains to voice, traditional TDM PBX's are going the way of the dodo. I would be suprised to see any major telecom players left doing anything other than VOIP in the next 10 years. Cisco is dominating this market right now, and dragging companies like Avaya and Nortel behind them (flame suit on).

Convergence is already here, and I'm having a ball preaching it's virtues.

I've never given much though to consumer/residential applications, however.



Hey, you do it to eh?

I think most telecomm players are looking to get rid of the local FCC ruled access's are quickly as possible. Its a dead end for them.



Well, I think my job is a little different. I replace traditional analog PBX's with IP-equivalents. Everything runs on your existing data network (video included). It's all Cisco gear. More specifically, I spend most of my time implementing call centers (Cisco IPCC). I work for the finest Cisco IP Communications partner in existence (in my humble opinion ), and it's all corporate/enterprise stuff. We're not a phone company or content provider.

Go to Cisco's web site and use "AVVID" as a search query, if you ever get bored.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:10:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BenDover:
Convergence? I already have networked media servers with 2 terabytes of available storage just for music & DVDs on the home network.

I am not interested in watching my cellphone. This micropayment per view crap on a cellphone is completely stupid.

I am not sure about movies on demand either via DVR boxes through the cable companies are going to be the permenant solution. They only have so much available storage.

After we go to power line data transmission and have many gigahertz of bandwidth, I can see companies like NetFlix becoming the distribution source of cataloged content.



You are one step ahead of 99.997% of the rest of the modern world and 99.999% of the rest of the entire world. But to fill those drives is a manual process, am I correct? You still must buy/rent the video content, bring it home, and copy it, etc. What I am getting at is changing how it gets to you. Opening those silos and creating more of a one-stop 'entertainment' bucket that is automated, on-demand, centralized, etc.

Will new housing start having a mini-IDF (a wiring closet) built in with 'content' servers wired into them? Just think of how things are about to change again.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:10:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By thompsondd:

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:
Woo hoo! I can finally talk about my job!

Convergence is already a reality in much of the corporate world. As it pertains to voice, traditional TDM PBX's are going the way of the dodo. I would be suprised to see any major telecom players left doing anything other than VOIP in the next 10 years. Cisco is dominating this market right now, and dragging companies like Avaya and Nortel behind them (flame suit on).

Convergence is already here, and I'm having a ball preaching it's virtues.

I've never given much though to consumer/residential applications, however.



Cisco is officially the #1 name in telephony. Not just IP telephony, but telephony as a whole. That is VoIP and traditional TDM based PBX's combined.



Absolutely, based on size and market share.
As for #1 in quality........
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:13:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Specop_007:

Originally Posted By thompsondd:

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:
Woo hoo! I can finally talk about my job!

Convergence is already a reality in much of the corporate world. As it pertains to voice, traditional TDM PBX's are going the way of the dodo. I would be suprised to see any major telecom players left doing anything other than VOIP in the next 10 years. Cisco is dominating this market right now, and dragging companies like Avaya and Nortel behind them (flame suit on).

Convergence is already here, and I'm having a ball preaching it's virtues.

I've never given much though to consumer/residential applications, however.



Cisco is officially the #1 name in telephony. Not just IP telephony, but telephony as a whole. That is VoIP and traditional TDM based PBX's combined.



Absolutely, based on size and market share.
As for #1 in quality........



It's all in the implementation. If SBC had anything to do with an install you're referring to, my heart goes out to you.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:13:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 1:14:25 PM EDT by thompsondd]

Originally Posted By Specop_007:

Originally Posted By thompsondd:

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:
Woo hoo! I can finally talk about my job!

Convergence is already a reality in much of the corporate world. As it pertains to voice, traditional TDM PBX's are going the way of the dodo. I would be suprised to see any major telecom players left doing anything other than VOIP in the next 10 years. Cisco is dominating this market right now, and dragging companies like Avaya and Nortel behind them (flame suit on).

Convergence is already here, and I'm having a ball preaching it's virtues.

I've never given much though to consumer/residential applications, however.



Cisco is officially the #1 name in telephony. Not just IP telephony, but telephony as a whole. That is VoIP and traditional TDM based PBX's combined.



Absolutely, based on size and market share.
As for #1 in quality........




If it is deployed correctly on a solid infrastructure, quality is a non-issue. And it is so much more than just dial tone. Ever done a 4 digit dialed video conference? Taken attendance in school on the phone screen? Clocked in using a phone? The XML apps make it so much more than JUST a phone.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:14:43 PM EDT
Convergence is the future. No doubt. However, total convergence for the household is going to hit a wall (not a brick wall mind you, more like a really well made gingerbread wall, maybe with about a 3 meter thick chunk of jello behind it) when we get to the limits of the bandwidth that the existing cable plant can carry.

Wireless is nice (go WiMax!), 3G is rolling out (in Metro areas), and some cablecos are replacing their infrastructure with fiber. But, the amount of work to be done to bring significant bandwidth improvements to the outlying customers is mind-boggling.

Think about pulling up every last piece of copper that Ma Bell ever laid down and replacing with fiber. It's a non-starter. It will take decades (as it took to build it out in the first place). PowerLine data transmission is a possible fix for remote areas but it plays merry hell with Ham radio bands. How far out are you willing to build a 3G or WiMax coverage infrastructure?

I work in the space and I see Business customers merrily converging (thus keeping me merrily employed!) but I can't help but look 5 to 10 years down the road and see a real divide rising between those who live in Metro areas with excellent wireless and fiber coverage, and those in the 'flyover' areas that are left starving on 1.5Mbit DSL (if that!) and legacy coax cable plants.

I don't see an easy solution. And this will be much worse than the last time we faced this - when the initial cable television buildouts left much of america behind for 20 years. That was a matter of 3 channels versus 25. Not a big deal. This will be a matter of limited DSL Internet versus TOTAL INFORMATION AVAILABILITY. I don't want to be on the wrong side of that one. Might influence the location of the next house I buy.

Futuristic

P.S. Cisco Rocks! (This statement legally required of all Cisco Certified Professionals.)
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:18:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Futuristic:
I don't see an easy solution. And this will be much worse than the last time we faced this - when the initial cable television buildouts left much of america behind for 20 years. That was a matter of 3 channels versus 25. Not a big deal. This will be a matter of limited DSL Internet versus TOTAL INFORMATION AVAILABILITY. I don't want to be on the wrong side of that one. Might influence the location of the next house I buy.

Futuristic

P.S. Cisco Rocks! (This statement legally required of all Cisco Certified Professionals.)



That is EXACTLY what I am talking about. Yes, it will take years and years and decades for everyone to get it (look at indoor plumbling and electricity). I'm just talking about what the industries can and will be ABLE to do in certain areas.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:23:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:

Originally Posted By Specop_007:

Originally Posted By thompsondd:

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:
Woo hoo! I can finally talk about my job!

Convergence is already a reality in much of the corporate world. As it pertains to voice, traditional TDM PBX's are going the way of the dodo. I would be suprised to see any major telecom players left doing anything other than VOIP in the next 10 years. Cisco is dominating this market right now, and dragging companies like Avaya and Nortel behind them (flame suit on).

Convergence is already here, and I'm having a ball preaching it's virtues.

I've never given much though to consumer/residential applications, however.



Cisco is officially the #1 name in telephony. Not just IP telephony, but telephony as a whole. That is VoIP and traditional TDM based PBX's combined.



Absolutely, based on size and market share.
As for #1 in quality........



It's all in the implementation. If SBC had anything to do with an install you're referring to, my heart goes out to you.



You havent used there data products have you? They may have fine VoIP solutions, but the data side is less then admirable.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:24:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Futuristic:
Convergence is the future. No doubt. However, total convergence for the household is going to hit a wall (not a brick wall mind you, more like a really well made gingerbread wall, maybe with about a 3 meter thick chunk of jello behind it) when we get to the limits of the bandwidth that the existing cable plant can carry.

Wireless is nice (go WiMax!), 3G is rolling out (in Metro areas), and some cablecos are replacing their infrastructure with fiber. But, the amount of work to be done to bring significant bandwidth improvements to the outlying customers is mind-boggling.

Think about pulling up every last piece of copper that Ma Bell ever laid down and replacing with fiber. It's a non-starter. It will take decades (as it took to build it out in the first place). PowerLine data transmission is a possible fix for remote areas but it plays merry hell with Ham radio bands. How far out are you willing to build a 3G or WiMax coverage infrastructure?

I work in the space and I see Business customers merrily converging (thus keeping me merrily employed!) but I can't help but look 5 to 10 years down the road and see a real divide rising between those who live in Metro areas with excellent wireless and fiber coverage, and those in the 'flyover' areas that are left starving on 1.5Mbit DSL (if that!) and legacy coax cable plants.

I don't see an easy solution. And this will be much worse than the last time we faced this - when the initial cable television buildouts left much of america behind for 20 years. That was a matter of 3 channels versus 25. Not a big deal. This will be a matter of limited DSL Internet versus TOTAL INFORMATION AVAILABILITY. I don't want to be on the wrong side of that one. Might influence the location of the next house I buy.

Futuristic

P.S. Cisco Rocks! (This statement legally required of all Cisco Certified Professionals.)



And now we see the bueaty of wireless.
Why sink money in theinfrastructure when you can just upgrade your cell site, cover10 times the effective area and give more bandwidth at half the price of running fiber.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:34:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 1:36:05 PM EDT by SubnetMask]

Originally Posted By Specop_007:

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:

Originally Posted By Specop_007:

Originally Posted By thompsondd:

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:
Woo hoo! I can finally talk about my job!

Convergence is already a reality in much of the corporate world. As it pertains to voice, traditional TDM PBX's are going the way of the dodo. I would be suprised to see any major telecom players left doing anything other than VOIP in the next 10 years. Cisco is dominating this market right now, and dragging companies like Avaya and Nortel behind them (flame suit on).

Convergence is already here, and I'm having a ball preaching it's virtues.

I've never given much though to consumer/residential applications, however.



Cisco is officially the #1 name in telephony. Not just IP telephony, but telephony as a whole. That is VoIP and traditional TDM based PBX's combined.



Absolutely, based on size and market share.
As for #1 in quality........



It's all in the implementation. If SBC had anything to do with an install you're referring to, my heart goes out to you.



You havent used there data products have you? They may have fine VoIP solutions, but the data side is less then admirable.



Yes I have, which is why I said "My heart goes out to you", i.e. "I feel sorry for you".

Most Cisco partners like to pick on SBC, since they're such a huge player. It's all in good fun.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:35:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By thompsondd:

Originally Posted By Specop_007:

Originally Posted By thompsondd:

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:
Woo hoo! I can finally talk about my job!

Convergence is already a reality in much of the corporate world. As it pertains to voice, traditional TDM PBX's are going the way of the dodo. I would be suprised to see any major telecom players left doing anything other than VOIP in the next 10 years. Cisco is dominating this market right now, and dragging companies like Avaya and Nortel behind them (flame suit on).

Convergence is already here, and I'm having a ball preaching it's virtues.

I've never given much though to consumer/residential applications, however.



Cisco is officially the #1 name in telephony. Not just IP telephony, but telephony as a whole. That is VoIP and traditional TDM based PBX's combined.



Absolutely, based on size and market share.
As for #1 in quality........




If it is deployed correctly on a solid infrastructure, quality is a non-issue. And it is so much more than just dial tone. Ever done a 4 digit dialed video conference? Taken attendance in school on the phone screen? Clocked in using a phone? The XML apps make it so much more than JUST a phone.



HUGE +1.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:38:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 1:46:27 PM EDT by jblachly]
I am in the process of wiring (and un-wiring in the case of WiFI) my house for VoIP using SIP telephones and an asterisk server with an IAX trunk to a termination and DID provider!

Anyone else using asterisk and/or SIP phones?

eta: Now that I'm here, does anyone have any firsthand reviews of the following models:
Polycom 501 (or 301 i s'pose)
Snom 360 (or 320 I s'pose)
Linksys SPA941

The Aastra phones look like they have too many little chicklet buttons.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:43:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jblachly:
I am in the process of wiring (and un-wiring in the case of WiFI) my house for VoIP using SIP telephones and an asterisk server with an IAX trunk to a termination and DID provider!

Anyone else using asterisk and/or SIP phones?



A couple of guys I work with have been using asterisk, with a SIP phone load on Cisco 7940/7960's.

I run CallManager, myself. Use what you know.

I've been wanting to look at asterisk for quite some time, though. It just gives a voice geek like me warm fuzzies to think about an open source solution. Besides, SIP phones are CHEAP anymore!
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:48:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SubnetMask:
Yes I have, which is why I said "My heart goes out to you", i.e. "I feel sorry for you".

Most Cisco partners like to pick on SBC, since they're such a huge player. It's all in good fun.



Well, lets just say SBC is a competitor.
Pick away.

What bothers me even more then Ciscos half assed data solutions is the knuckleheads using it.
"Cant be OUR equipment"
"Cant be OUR equipment"
"Cant be OUR equipment"

I want to throttle them. Look asshole, I'm using carrier class equipment, you have some dinky dink entry level peice of shit Cisco router at your prem. Dont fucking tell me its my shit thats broke. And no, dont bother getting Cisco online cause last time I worked with Cisco *I* had to tell *THEM* how test procedures work because they didnt fucking know either.
Grrr....
Customers. I tell ya, if this shit didnt pay as good as it does.......
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 2:00:31 PM EDT
The future? Internet everywhere, everything running on it. Digital on demand content available to everyone. Television broadcast networks a thin shadow of their former selves.

My team is in charge of installing Cisco's VPN over our company's 3500 nationwide sites using a mixture of cable, DSL, and high speed satellite. It is a pain in the ass largely because of the ISPs.

The last mile is always going to be the worst part of the equation. Broadband internet is such a disjointed, mismanaged mishmash to the telco's. That will continue to be the case until someone develops the next generation of cheap, universal broadband access (most likely wireless).

One problem with total convergence is that when you run everything over a public digital network like the Internet, you are exposing the whole enchilada to the same security threats.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 2:49:51 PM EDT
Don't discount direct line of sight and satellite wireless for remote areas. I've played with some Wavecom stuff for line of sight. It's fun.

No, you aren't going to put a NOC in Wheatville, Montana, but you can gain reasonable up and down speeds.

Link Posted: 1/30/2006 3:00:48 PM EDT
http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20040930.html


September 30, 2004
The Limits of SpongeBob SquarePants
One Canadian's Wireless Neighborhood Network Could Someday Serve Us All

By Robert X. Cringely

Like many of us, Andrew Greig put a WiFi access point in his house so he could share his broadband Internet connection. But like hardly any of us, Andrew uses his WiFi network for Internet, television, and telephone. He cancelled his telephone line and cable TV service. Then his neighbors dropped-by, saw what Andrew had done, and they cancelled their telephone and cable TV services, too, many of them without having a wired broadband connection of their own. They get their service from Andrew, who added an inline amplifier and put a better antenna in his attic. Now most of Andrew's neighborhood is watching digital TV with full PVR capability, making unmetered VoIP telephone calls, and downloading data at prodigious rates thanks to shared bandwidth. Is this the future of home communications and entertainment? It could be, five years from now, if Andrew Greig has anything to say about it.

The advantage Andrew Greig has over most of the rest of us is that he works for Starnix, an international Open Source software and services consultancy in Toronto, Canada. Starnix, which deals with huge corporate clients, has the brain power to get running what I described above. And it goes much further than that simple introduction.

Somewhere in Andrew's house is a hefty Linux server running many applications, including an Asterisk Open Source VoIP software PBX. There is no desktop PC in Andrew's house. Instead, he runs a Linux thin client on a Sharp Zaurus SL-6000 Linux PDA. Sitting in its cradle on Andrew's desk at home, the Zaurus (running a special copy of Debian Linux, NOT as shipped by Sharp) connects to a full-size keyboard and VGA display, and runs applications on the server. Another cradle, monitor and keyboard are at Andrew's office, where he also doesn't have a PC. Walking around in his house, the Zaurus (equipped with a tri-mode communications card) is a WiFi VoIP phone running through the Asterisk PBX and connecting to the Vonage VoIP network. Walking out of his house, the Zaurus automatically converts to the local mobile phone carrier, though with a data connection that still runs back through Vonage. At Starbucks, it's a Wifi Vonage phone. At Andrew's office, it is a WiFi extension to the office Asterisk PBX AND to Andrew's home PBX. That's one PDA doing the job of two desktop PCs, a notebook PC, and three telephones.

Yeah, but what about that wireless TV? How does that work? Andrew's server runs Myth TV, an Open Source digital video recorder application, storing on disk in MPEG-4 format (1.5-2 megabits-per-second) more than 30,000 TV episodes, movies and MP3 music files. "As each new user comes online, I add another TV card to the system so they can watch live TV," says Andrew, "but since there are only so many episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants, nearly everything that isn't news or sports is typically served from disk with full ability to jump forward or back at will. We've reached the point now where the PVR has so much in storage already that it is set to simply record anything that isn't already on disk."

Think about it. These folks up in Canada can not only watch everything we can watch on TV, on a whim they can watch every episode of the original Star Trek in the order they were broadcast ALL ON ONE WEEKEND. I wouldn't do that, true, but I also CAN'T do that.

At this point, intellectual property lawyers are supposed to start reaching for their telephones to call Canada, but it won't do any good because all this content is perfectly legal and here's how. With the exception of local channels, which come from an antenna, all of Andrew's video content comes from a C-band (big dish) satellite receiver (receivers, actually), and is fully paid for. "I buy the channels just like a cable system does or a motel that wants to offer HBO, from the National Programming Service," says Andrew. "And as a result I pay wholesale prices. People don't realize how much of a markup there in is the cable business. The Discovery Networks, for example, cost me $0.26 per customer per month. The IP laws in both the U.S. and Canada say that if I have legal access to this content I can store and use it. And the over-the-air channels, of course, are free."

Remember how in the go-go Internet days of three to four years ago, we used to talk about "disintermediation?" That was using technology to remove middle men from transactions. Well, what Andrew Greig is doing is dis-intermediating both the telephone and TV cable companies. And he'd like to dis-intermediate the Internet Service Providers, too.

Starnix is getting ready to take its technology on the road, so to speak, selling and licensing it to all comers. One plan is to create a wireless ISP offering these services, growing it around what Andrew calls "wireless sweet spots." The difference between a "hotspot" and a "sweet spot" is that a sweet spot is both hot AND cheap. "We were installing a wireless network in a large hospital and showed them that there were economies of scale to be gained from lighting four of the fiber pairs coming-in from their ISP, rather than two. Their costs go down and we benefit from that lower pricing and pick up the additional bandwidth for wireless service outside the hospital." Since Starnix installs wireless networks all over (other Starnix sites include the Time-Warner intergalactic HQ in New York), this is a provisioning model that could be used over and over.

Unlike most other wireless networks, Starnix uses 802.11a, which matches the 54 megabits-per-second speed of 802.11g, but does so in the five GHz band where there is less interference. Even more important, while 802.11g (and -b) have a maximum of only three non-conflicting channels, 802.11a in North America supports 24 non-conflicting channels for at least eight times the total bandwidth.

This would all be just an interesting and very nerdly proof of concept except that Starnix has a global reputation (one of their wireless network customers is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police -- Canada's more colorful version of the FBI), and the Canadian Government is putting some money into helping establish the wireless ISP.

But there is an industrial or commercial side to this, too. Right now, OEMs are lining-up to bring this Starnix model of hardware, software, and connectivity to the workplace. "It's the six percent solution," says Greig. "Businesses don't want to admit this, but they spend up to 12 percent of gross revenues on IT including communications. By going to Open Source and thin clients and VoIP we could cover all their needs for half that cost -- six percent. No separate hardware, software, bandwidth, or support costs, just a flat six percent. We have large partners right now who are getting ready to take this proposition to market."

What's happening in Andrew Greig's neighborhood is going to happen in three to five years in many neighborhoods. The look will be slightly different with technologies like WiMax wireless networking playing a role. Moore's Law, too, is going to have a significant impact on bringing down the cost of implementing this dream. That Starnix thin client needed to drive your TV costs $250 in volume today but three years from now it will cost $70. Or maybe the thin client will be in the TV, itself. With Linux proliferating in consumer devices that's almost a sure thing since even if Sony doesn't do it some firmware hacker will.

That's the big lesson here, not that some guys up in Canada can run their own Star Trek marathon, but that Open Source software is leading to digital devices being used in large volumes in ways their designers never envisioned. This takes control of the network out of the hands of the providers and into the hands of the users. And the outcome doesn't have to be some socialistic information economy. On the contrary, it means that whole new business models will appear to take advantage of the fact that all types of communications and all types of content will be able to reach all parts of the market with almost no friction. Following that line of thought, even I might find a way to make a living.

Maybe.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 4:05:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 4:25:43 PM EDT by thompsondd]

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20040930.html


September 30, 2004
The Limits of SpongeBob SquarePants
One Canadian's Wireless Neighborhood Network Could Someday Serve Us All




Now that is what I am talking about!!!!! I don't really buy completely into the last couple of paragraphs though. Getting the masses to understand, accept, and adapt Open Source isn't likely to happen in our lifetime. There is a reason most peoples VCR still blinks "12:00". They aren't technical enough to deal with technology on their own. You would have a better chance of teaching Chingy to read and write Mandrian Chinese fluently.

Andrew sounds like a whiz bang jam up smart f&^%$&# guy and all, but he can't put billions into R&D. Just think of the possibilities when the big boys start playing!!

Is it possible for Cisco to acquire Canadian kids? Is that legal?
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 6:02:02 PM EDT
You boys need to clean up after yourselves.

Never gonna happen. Most the IP "owners" are going to start figuring out ways to charge for every little piece of shit they call "content". And they'll try to figure out ways to charge you for it again and again and again.

I don't want TV on my damn phone. I just want to talk on it once in a while. And it'd be nice if it worked (ie. COVERAGE) in more places than it does.

I doubt most people will pay for the ever increasing CRAP that passes for infortainment these days. Sure it'll be hot for a while, but then it's going to burn off big time.

I predict "convergence" will be talked about for years. Just like it's been talked about for the last four. Sure some consultants will make a pile off it. Others will make a buck off of being "visionaries". But once they've fleeced this out, they'll move to the next big thing.

Cranky old luddite? No, I do this crap for a living. And it's not that exciting anymore in fact the whole arena seems to be full of "ex-enron" types, know what I mean?
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 6:02:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BenDover:
Don't discount direct line of sight and satellite wireless for remote areas.



We're using the HNS legacy VSAT system now, and it's been a very long lived system. We are buying their DW7700 boxes now, and in a word, they're great. Expensive compared to DSL, but great.

Latency will always be a problem with satellite but there are tricks to mitigate that.
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