Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Local entrepreneurs provide cellular broadband in rural Pennsylvania for virtual learning needs


WJLA7 and Sinclair sponsored a report in their “Spotlight on America” series, about a local effort to build a high-speed Internet access cellular tire in central Pennsylvania, on Stone Mountain, on the border of Huntington and Mifflin counties, east of Altoona, more or less north of Fort Littleton on the PA Turnpike and the Sideling Hill area.

Technical-ly reports here.

Offers from Verizon and Comcast were too expensive.

The locally sponsored construction became an emergency because of virtual learning in the Covid crisis.

The picture shown here is Happy Valley (over State College), Sept. 2010. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Virginia Senate race debate stresses the broadband access issue


The US Senate candidate debate for Virginia between Mike Warner (D, incumbent) and Daniel Gade (R) , former military officer, covered the topic of improved broadband in rural areas.

Gade wants to look at unused frequencies, 5G, and low orbital satellites to improve low-income broadband.

This article has the text.

The debate was aired Sept 22 on NBCWashington at 7 PM and pre-empted the normal nightly news.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Vox promotes giving everyone the equivalent of free fiber-optic cable

Emily Stewart has a lengthy article (Sept. 10, 2020) on Vox Recode, “Give Everybody the Internet”, with tagline, “We need to get the Internet to everyone in America; Here’s what it would take to do it.”

She discusses the technical capacity of fiber-optic, cable, and DSL.  Many people have one of the latter for the last few miles, at least.

She argues that natural free market economics don’t argue for providing optimal Internet for everyone. So now we are in a pickle with virtual learning and the pandemic.

She gives the example of the Post Office, which would not serve everyone unless it had to (and we know there is controversy for the election).  But the USPS has pretty good competition from FedEx and UPS.

The other part of the discussion would be providing high quality hot spots (eventually maybe 5G) to everyone.

You could also look at the question as to whether lower income families have stable laptop hardware and security (and the inclination to use things properly and not get infected with viruses). 

You could compare this to discussing UBI.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

WSJ reviews 5G setups from a van -- in downtown Jersey City


Joanna Stern, reporting for the Wall Street Journal, inquires as to whether 5G can replace your home cable network.

She already lives in Jersey City, one of the places where it is being rolled out by some companies.

So she equips her RV van with all kinds of gadgets and games.  This sounds like something Tim Pool would try with his fully equipped cross-country van.

She describes the two technologies of mmWave and sub6.

Friday, August 28, 2020

How will 5G compare with Cable? Could this help with virtual learning?


Lon TV Snippets, in Jan. 2020, asks if 5G can compete with cable Internet in speed?

With Verizon, on the downstream it was about 6 times as fast as 4GLTE, but the upstream (uploading) was not nearly so impressive.

Lon is also concerned that since not many areas offer it yet to many neighborhoods and not many people have 5G smartphones, we don’t know how they will behave when more people have it. The story will be interesting if virtual education, especially in public schools, strains networks the first quarter this fall. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Wire Mesh home routing technology said to help with increased bandwidth demand for virtual learning


Today, station WJLA7 in Washington talked about strengthening home networks for families face with both work-from-home and virtual homeschooling or college.

It recommended a technology called Wire Mesh, which is discussed in PCMag.  Routers have to be placed at appropriate places on different levels in the home, for both parents and kids.

The presentation suggests that cable and fiber-optic companies are prepared to support the heavy demand.

I have noticed more instability with Cox in the past month, and this may be related in part to network upgrades at night to increase throughput.  One tip: one firmware upgrade got caught in a loop because the cable box got corrupted.  The tech told me that my UPS was faulty.  It is two years old (not very old) and I have bought a backup.  But it has not acted up since then (and seems to measure correct voltage now).  He said that brief (surge-related) power failures sometimes corrupt boxes even if you have a UPS.

Picture: Maryland Piedmont. 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Telecom companies providing efficient cellular wireless to rural areas to support virtual schools


Telecom companies are making quick progress to provide broadband to students in rural areas, as in this Fredericksburg VA newspaper story on Stafford County VA students (survey required). 

Families were using smart phone hot spot, which wears down phone batteries (although I used to do that).

A Fiber-optic cable provides service to a broadcast point in the area.