broadband Engineer

Well Done, Rob Evans @rhe #Janet

janet_office_speedDay two in the big brother house new office (spoken with  Geordie accent) and I’ve just done a broadband speed test. For the moment my network connection is a WiFi hotspot on a 4 year old iMac which is in turn connected to an Ethernet socket in the wall. Tomorrow we will be bringing in a router.

With this setup I’ve just done a speed test and as you can see got 66Mbps down with an equally good 40Mbps up. Impressivo. Remember this is through the iMac.

speed_fast_smallThe iMac itself connected directly to the Ethernet port gets even better speeds. On this occasion 141Mbps down and a whopping (the Sun says) 208Mbps up.

This must be a GigE LAN. Will have to investigate. I’m told that in the wee small hours when most of the whole wide world is fast asleep it gets even faster. It’s likely constrained by the speed of the Ethernet card in the Mac. Clearly it’s must be locally shared bandwidth.

This is all because the network is run by the University of Lincoln who of course will be attached to Janet.

At this point I’d like to thank Rob Evans (@rhe), who runs the Janet network, for his efforts here. Rob doesn’t mess about down at 1Gbps speed I know. He is more into 100GigE but nevertheless thanks Rob 🙂

I had intended to do some trade study work into various broadband services as part of being able to recommend providers. In the case of the office this would be futile so I will at some point do it on my home connection. I currently use Timico and see no real reason to change seeing as I know the network.

However I sense that I will want to move to FTTP on demand and also as a consumer might want to avail myself of TV and or sport bundles which as a B2b pureplay Timico doesn’t offer so watch this space for news on that score.

Engineer internet

100GigE std ratified but 10Gig is still where it is at

The IEEE has just ratified the 100GigE standard. We all knew it was coming. It was foretold.  I’m not that excited though.  I doubt that many people are because 100GigE is currently in the domain of the few. Not many networks have enough traffic to merit using it.

What I am excited about is our own plans to roll out 10GigE across our core network. For me this is a big step forward. Having started an ISP 5 years ago with a 1Gig core it is quite  a momentous event. It is being driven by the amount of high speed Ethernet connections being sold to businesses in the UK. There is literally an explosion of them. I have more bandwidth orders in provisioning for the next three months than sold in the previous 5 years.

We are in the UK, I believe, currently seeing a new wave of connectivity in the same way that broadband has grown over the past few years.  Broadband has levelled off but in the business world there is a hunger for faster and more reliable connections.

For us the 10Gig investment actually gives us up to 40Gig of capacity and represented a major board level decision. This is not a low cost play. The decison on where to spend valuable capital is sometimes a gamble, albeit one based on careful research. I don’t think this one is such a risk.  There is a lot of business out there.  You just have to have the right funds to buy into the game.

Engineer internet

100GigE – 5 years from initial idea to standard

Day1 of LINX69 had networking equipment vendor Brocade giving an interesting talk about the rollout timescales for the 100GigE standard.

The 100Gig standard has taken 5 years from initial ideas to fruition with ratification being expected in June 2010. Coincidentally the 40Gig standard will have taken the same amount of time with a parallel development aimed at the server market.

40Gig kit reuses some 10Gig elements which is what should allow it to fit in the appropriate part of the price/performance curve.

Whilst a number of vendors have announced 100Gig products it remains to be seen how rapidly some of these will be rolled out and adopted. During the last wave of network upgrades (1Gig to 10Gig) many equipment vendors had their fingers burned as industry uptake took a lot longer than anticipated. Nortel, for example had apparently predicted 2 million 10Gig port shipments by 2002 but actually took another 7 years to hit that volume. Somewhat symptomatic of the problems the Nortel business found themselves in methinks.

The upshot is that vendors are unlikely to rush out 100Gig products.

We expect of course that next gen technologies result in lower per port costs. Currently this is not the case for 100Gig due to high optics and component costs. Based on historical trends these are expected to drop in 2011/2012. For the moment 100Gig is therefore very much one for the early adopter.

The chart below shows the timeline between adoption of the standard for each technology. Considering that it takes 5 years to develop a standard and looking at the 2002 dot com bubble bursting date that the 10Gig standard was ratified  it is perhaps no surprise that 100Gig was delayed.

Ethernet technology adoption timeline - courtesy Brocade Networks
Ethernet technology adoption timeline