Recommended Reading: The Master Switch By Tim Wu

the master switch-200A few weeks ago I finished reading “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” by MIT Professor and outspoken network neutrality advocate Tim Wu. Professor Wu starts with a historical examination of various industries that he considers to be “information industries.” This starts with the telegraph, telephone, movies, radio and television before moving onward to consider the internet.

In each case he traces the evolution of the business, key innovations, notable rivalries, competitive pressures, corporate alliances and government involvement. Each little tale is entertaining and informative on its own, revealing something of the great men and companies of an earlier era.

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Happy World IP V6 Day!

Yes, today has been declared World IP 6 Day by the Internet Society. What’s that mean you ask?

On 8 June, 2011, GoogleFacebookYahoo!Akamai and Limelight Networks will be amongst some of the major organisations that will offer their content over IPv6 for a 24-hour “test flight”. The goal of the Test Flight Day is to motivate organizations across the industry – Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies – to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out.

As it happens I was not able to participate from the perspective of testing the use of IP v6 in my home office. Comcast, who is my primary ISP, has made considerable strides regarding IP v6 deployment.

I took a quick moment to try the Comcast IP v6 Readiness Test. It reported that I would not be able to browse any IP v6-only web sites, but that my ISP is running an IP v6 capable DNS server. So as I suspected, there’s some work required at my end of things to make IP v6 capable hereabouts.

Be that as it may, I’d still like to offer everyone who comes by this page a hearty, happy World IP v6 Day!

Covad & AT&T: The Odd Couple Of DSL Make Good

DSL-ProvidersMy belief is that since your home office network is your network, and under your control, it should actually be more reliable than the network that your office-bound associates a) enjoy or b) suffer. If you operate from a home office on anything more than an occasional basis I think that you should give some serious consideration to maintaining redundant sources of IP connectivity. This is especially true if you rely upon VoIP for your office phones, as we have here for many years.

Redundant IP connectivity can be achieved in a variety of different ways, each with advantages and disadvantages. Performance and price vary widely depending upon the access methods available in your area. For us the best solution has been to use Comcast Business Class cable as our primary internet access, with backup provided by a dry loop DSL circuit from Covad.

It’s important that your two sources of connectivity are different modes of connection, in our case cable & DSL. We could bond a couple of DSL lines and achieve higher speeds, but we’d be susceptible to a single mistake with a backhoe taking out both of our circuits.

I’ve walked down the street, examined the lines and know that the copper goes south down the street while the coax cable goes another direction. No one silly mistake will take them both down.

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Mythbusting HD Voice: Frequency Response vs Data Rate

snom_820_links_hoch_perspektive_200pxOne common misconception that keeps coming up is the assertion that the higher quality audio available through the use of wideband telephony (aka HDVoice) requires more bandwidth on the network. This is simply not true.

The terminology gets confusing for some folks. On the one hand we’re talking about frequency response of the audio channel being much greater, 50 Hz to >7 KHz for most wideband codecs, as compared to 300 Hz to 3.4KHz for the reference standard G.711. All that extra information has to go somewhere, right?

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VoIP Spear: New VoIP QoS Monitoring Service

Earlier this week I found a newly launched VoIP QoS monitoring service called VoIP Spear. It works by sending a ping to the end-point in question at a certain interval, then analyzing the timing of the resulting responses. The service is free for monitoring a single end-point so I setup an account and pointed it at my office IP address.

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Updated Home-Office Network Diagram

I puzzles me how to see how many people find the diagram of my home/office network interesting. Yet it consistently gets a lot of traffic, so here’s an update to the original one I posted in March.

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