100 Gpbs Internet – 802.3ba   Leave a comment

Ars Technica reports that the Higher Speed Study Group has settled on a specification for 802.3ba and submitted it to IEEE for formal approval, which will support both 40Gbps and 100Gbps speeds. You can see the Project Authorization Request here.

The IEEE standards process is highly entertaining, since it represents the most colossal collision for agendas on the tangent point between the academic, business, and technical spheres. I wish the process could be a bit less entertaining and more focused, but the current iteration is preferable to the alternative. However, the projected 2010/11 ship date mentioned in the Ars article is getting close to too late.

In 2000, we were purchasing 6-10 GB hard drives. Now, you can get 1 TB desktop drives. Prior to 1990, people’s data files were mostly plain text. As the web became popular, pictures and audio files became more common; by 2000 I’d see a GB or so of photos and .mp3s on someone’s computer frequently. In the last five years, the trend has accelerated alarmingly – now people fill up their 80 GB iPods not just with photos and music, but television shows and movies. My own .mp3 collection, (ed note- ripped at 386 bit rate from my own 700+ CD collection, completely legally) fills up about 60 GB of data space and the home server has another 20 GB or so of photos. Digital cameras used to be VGA (.3 megapixels, or 640×480), now they’re WQUXGA (9.2 megapixels, or 3840×2400) or better. In 2003, my wife’s digital camera snapped photos that averaged out between 300 and 600 KB, now with the new N80 SLR camera, the raw photos are between 2 and 2.5 MB, and unlike the old digital cameras, you can snap a dozen pictures in seconds, trying to get the perfect shot. You may pick out one of those dozens to re-size for your personal web page, but you’re going to keep the others lying around.

In fact, the limitations now in what people store aren’t on the technical side, they’re on the legal side. It’s difficult to easily encode NTSC television shows without using proprietary equipment (yes, I know people that do it, but it’s not point-click-store-move-share). HDTV is going to be more difficult, simply because broadcasters are ornery when it comes to protecting what they believe to be their rights over their intellectual property. Ripping your own DVDs to another video format also can be done, but again, it’s a pain. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD movies are huge, but media companies are going to make it difficult/annoying to get those movies off of those discs.

People are still going to do it, though… and if nothing else, the standard home digital video camera is going to be producing HD recordings as HD camcorders become more popular. People aren’t going to shell out enough money for a sweet HDTV plasma/LCD setup at home to watch HDTV over cable or DirecTV and be happy with the quality of the current digital video recorders, especially now that you can get HD camcorders that do 1080i for under $1,000.

Digressions aside, what was a perfectly “normal” expected amount of digital data for people to store up in 1993 fit on a few 1.44 MB floppies. In 2003, it was a few gigabytes. In 2007, we’re into the hundreds of gigabytes. At this rate, by 2010, multi-terabyte home data stores are going to be not uncommon.

And if there is one thing that is known to be true, it’s that people want to share their data with other people. If someone wants to share home HD movies with grandma, right now it takes forever over ADSL. Broadband connectivity in the US is wretched, compared to the rest of the plugged-in world, which is still astonishing to me. 100 Mbps should be common by now. It takes more than a day to download the Mandriva 2007.1 DVD .iso off of bittorrent, why is our intra-continental network still so dang slow? (ed note – I actually know why it’s so slow, I’m just griping).

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Posted July 25, 2007 by padraic2112 in networking, news, tech

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