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John Solit

@johnsolit

June 26, 2015


Broadband & Internet

Behind the Numbers: Where American Broadband Stands

@johnsolit

June 26, 2015

This week Akamai released their latest State of the Internet report with updated broadband speeds from across the world. The report revealed that three of the top five fastest regions worldwide are US states. Peak broadband speeds in the US increased 31 percent year-over-year to 53.3 Mbps.

We highlight average peak connection speeds because Akamai contends it’s a better, more accurate measure of the Internet’s capacity than average connection speed.

The map below shows where to find the country’s top Internet speeds:

AveragePeakSpeeds-2015-980

And the chart below proves just how competitive American broadband is on a world scale. Delaware, Virginia, and Washington, DC all either beat or tied the peak average connection speed of the oft-lauded-for-broadband South Korea.

TopTwentyRegions-2015a-652

For more stats and facts about broadband Internet, visit our new page: Broadband By The Numbers.

NCTA

June 25, 2015


Industry News

New Energy Conservation Agreement Reached for Broadband Equipment

June 25, 2015

Today, NCTA and CEA announced a new voluntary agreement among major equipment manufacturers and companies representing 90 percent of the residential broadband market to improve the energy efficiency of routers, modems, and certain other devices (collectively known as small network equipment, or SNE) that consumers use to access the Internet. You can get the details here, including the full list of signatories, but the good news for consumers is that this new agreement is expected to help reduce energy consumed in SNE devices by about 10 to 20 percent compared to current models.

Broadband already delivers significant overall energy savings for consumers and the environment simply by facilitating telecommuting. While modems and routers are not the number-one energy consumers in your home, their use has surged. In fact, ninety percent of American homes use three or more Internet-connected devices. Improving their energy efficiency can add up to real power and cost savings.

The SNE agreement follows the path of earlier work done by the cable and consumer electronics industry to adopt and implement a similar Voluntary Agreement aimed at making set-top boxes more energy efficient.

This prior agreement has already led to tangible results and, as estimated by independent auditor, reduced national set top energy consumption by 4.4 percent in just the first year of the agreement. This has saved consumers roughly $168 million in energy bills.

Like the earlier set-top box agreement, the SNE Agreement demonstrates the progress that can be made through industry collaboration. Compliance will be assured through independent audits and lab tests, and the auditor’s published annual reports will enable the public to measure progress.

CableLabs, the cable industry’s non-profit research and development consortium has made a significant contribution to the development of the technical specification in the SNE agreement. The support of its professional testing staff, use of the CableLabs Energy Lab, and its coordination of the many contributors to the technical specification were paramount in creating this voluntary agreement.

As the cable industry continues in its quest to offer world-class Internet products and services, we’re confident this latest SNE Agreement is good news for consumers and will continue the trend of more energy efficient devices in American homes.

John Solit

@johnsolit

June 24, 2015


Broadband & Internet

Today's Specials Include Incredible Television

@johnsolit

June 24, 2015

Today, you can watch premium TV with a cable package, through OTT services like Netflix and Hulu, or by buying single episodes and full season passes of your favorite shows on iTunes or Amazon. No matter how you watch it, it’s going to be great content. But if you’re looking for value, the way to go is the cable package. It’s simply more content for less money.

Print

 

John Solit

@johnsolit

June 18, 2015


Technology & Devices

What is 802.11ac and Why Do We Need to Protect Wi-Fi for It?

@johnsolit

June 18, 2015

It’s expected that by 2020, the world will have 50 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices. Everything from baby monitors and tablets to things we can’t even imagine today will be voraciously feeding off of the wireless broadband in our homes, cafes, and even in our public parks. It’s practically ubiquitous now, but the seemingly magical technology that enables Wi-Fi is barely fifteen years old.

When it was first deployed, wireless Local Area Network (LAN) systems were designed to serve a limited number of business applications under controlled environments. Picture a storage facility floor where employees check inventory with a wireless scanner. Today, wireless LANs fuel everything from the biggest billion-dollar businesses to your iPhone.

Today, people are using Wi-Fi on so many devices and for such data-heavy applications that the frequency utilized to transmit Wi-Fi is becoming saturated.

The current standard, 802.11n, has largely operated in the 2.4 GHz band. 802.11n is capable of a theoretical maximum 300 – 450 Mbps per transmission point. This may seem pretty fast, but looking towards the future, it’s not going to be enough. That’s where 802.11ac comes in. It’s capable of 1Gbps and operates in the 5 GHz band, which means it can handle more users, more devices, bigger apps, and pull more of the burden off of cellular networks.

But just as exciting as new super-speeds is the ability of 802.11ac to support multiple devices in open spaces. The older 802.11n was capable of four spatial streams while the new 802.11ac is capable of eight. This means that if 10 people are using 30Mbps on a public 802.11n Wi-Fi system, 20 could use the same amount on the new 802.11ac system, even if the maximum speed of the new system was the same as the old one.

This works because of 802.11ac’s multiple-user multiple-input multiple-output capabilities (thankfully abbreviated as Multi-User MIMO). The old system supported a single-user MIMO per access point, which could only offer full benefit to one device at a time. The new smarter system allows an equal amount of bandwidth to be assigned to multiple users simultaneously. The graphic below shows how Single-User MIMO has to switch “attention” between multiple devices in order to deliver a connection, but Multi-User MIMO can simultaneously connect.

wifi6

What this all means is that 802.11ac is perfect for outdoor public Wi-Fi applications where many people are accessing the network on a variety of devices. This is particularly exciting for cable because of the already 400,000-plus public Wi-Fi hotspots we’ve installed across the country. They’re available for no extra charge to cable broadband customers and while they’re revolutionizing how broadband is accessed outside the home, they’re also testing the limits of what the old 802.11n can do – especially in densely populated areas like New York City and Washington, DC. In order to keep up with demand, we need to transition to the new 802.11ac standard.

Unfortunately, transitioning to 802.11ac isn’t as easy as installing new hardware. It’s really about two things: (1) providing additional access to the 5GHz band that allows 802.11ac to work to its full potential, and (2) protecting unlicensed spectrum from technologies like LTE-U that are not currently designed to share the band fairly.

This is why it’s imperative that the FCC not only remove barriers to use of the 5 GHz unlicensed band for next generation Wi-Fi, but also make sure that new entrants into the unlicensed bands play by “polite” rules of spectrum sharing. You can learn more about LTE-U and spectrum sharing on a blog we wrote recently.

As a country, we have the opportunity to establish ourselves as a global leader in public Wi-Fi availability, speed, and scale. By both ensuring access to unlicensed spectrum the 5 GHz band and by making sure all users of unlicensed spectrum co-exist politely, we can protect what has quickly become the most utilized (not to mention useful) platform for Internet access.

John Solit

@johnsolit

June 15, 2015


Industry News

Fierce Competition in the Video Marketplace

@johnsolit

June 15, 2015

Over the last two decades, we’ve gone from relatively few ways to get video at home to literally dozens of choices. See how much the marketplace has changed:

NCTA

June 11, 2015


Public Policy

Unless the FCC Acts, A New Technology Could Disrupt Wi-Fi

June 11, 2015

Wi-Fi is popular. Really popular. 4 billion devices popular. So popular that more broadband data is carried over Wi-Fi than all other platforms combined. But is the miracle of Wi-Fi in jeopardy? It may be because the lifeblood of Wi-Fi – unlicensed spectrum – is potentially at risk by the deployment of a new technology…


Industry News

How We're Changing the Stereotype of the Cable Guy

@chairmanpowell

June 9, 2015

Originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse on June 8th, 2015 The cable industry faces many challenges, but most of them provide exciting opportunities to remake the industry for the Digital Age and better serve the changing desires of consumers. That transformation is now underway. We continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible over our networks,…