Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

“The dream behind the Web is of a common information space in which we communicate by sharing information. Its universality is essential: the fact that a hypertext link can point to anything, be it personal, local or global, be it draft or highly polished.”

– Tim Berners-Lee

Wi-Fi Does the Metropolitan

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

WiFi marches on. Ad-supported made me think Google, but see the note at the end of the article that Google’s offer to build wi-fi out in nearby Mountain View apparently did not call for advertising. Not to look the gift horse in the mouth, but I just can’t believe that. The street light mounting makes me think of cable television network development, which ultimately depended on legislated access to telephone poles (the Pole Attachment Act of 1978). Is this a return to local regulation of telecom – the trend of the last 25 years has been way in the other direction.

“Mountain View-based MetroFi is expected to announce today that it plans to bring free, advertising-supported wireless Internet service to all 130,000 residents of Sunnyvale… Those citizens can get free online access using MetroFi’s network if their computers can pick up wireless Internet, or WiFi, signals. For free access, customers must accept a half-inch advertising strip — much like “banner” ads commonly found on Web pages — at the top of their Web browser at all times.

MetroFi uses a technology called mesh networking, where hundreds of transmitters installed on street-light poles create Internet hotspots like those found at many coffee shops.”

Grid Bucks

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

You know the neurosphere is real when people are making money off it hand over fist.

“Oracle grid customers achieve 150% ROI over 5 years in independent study

Today’s new architecture—grid computing—offers an opportunity to improve your existing IT infrastructure while lowering costs. Oracle’s grid infrastructure pools your IT resources into a single virtual computer that analyzes demand and adjusts supply accordingly. Oracle 10g is the first infrastructure software designed specifically for enterprise grid computing. How much can you save with Oracle Grid Computing? An independent study examining real-world grids found an average Return on Investment (ROI) of 150% over five years among Oracle 10g grid customers.”

Cheap Computers and Cheapskates

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

Another entry in the computer-for-the-rest-of-the-world contest.

“Novatium – Computers for the Next Billion. Novatium has built a simple and secure technology platform that provides the user with an array of comprehensive computing solutions. Novatium’s access devices are ‘Thin’ because their complexity has been moved from the device to a central server. So, the user finds an appliance-like simplicity in using Novatium devices.”

And a self-serving wet blanket.

“Potential computer users in the developing world will not want a basic

$100 hand-cranked laptop due to be rolled out to millions, chip-maker

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq:INTC – news) chairman Craig Barrett said on Friday…Barrett said similar schemes in the past elsewhere in the world had

failed and users would not be satisfied with the new machine’s limited

range of programs.”;_ylt=Apq1sBouHlw02IPLKOvJu4pU.3QA;_ylu=X3oDMTA3MXN1bHE0BHNlYwN0bWE-

Baby Steps

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

Drops in the bucket – note this “grant” is actually dependent on “donation of bandwidth”. There has to be a better way to attract capital to the developing world.

“This SGER proposes to develop a plan to extend international high bandwidth Internet connectivity to a group of up to four countries in sub-saharan Africa. The lack of such connectivity has been a major impediment to the development of the Internet in Africa. To accomplish this, it will investigate a unique opportunity to obtain a donation of bandwidth on fiber optic submarine cables that are currently being installed…Linkages will be developed with scientific and health/medical communities that have research projects involving US/African collaborations. Partnerships will also be explored with US agencies that fund research in the target countries.”

Financing the Third World Neurosphere

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

If I may be politically incorrect, this effort is going nowhere. The Digital Solidarity Fund is a drop in the bucket, and likely to remain so. The Bush administiration is not going to spend significant money here when their posture in the U.S. is that the private market will provide for all needs. The $100 computer pushed by MIT is a better way to get at the problem. The Digital Divide is a situation tailor made for high risk financing – third world markets are high risk, but the potential scale and upside is enormous. This looks a lot to me like where the cable television industry was 30 years ago. Michael Milken went to jail, but now we all have more digital television channels than we can stand. Watch the Network Infrastructure section of this site for my forthcoming paper on Capital Formation for Closing the Digital Divide.

“An African-led initiative that will use high-speed internet connections to treat AIDS patients in Burundi and Burkina Faso offers inspiration for those working to bridge the world’s digital divide…The Digital Solidarity Fund has just $6.4 million in cash and pledges, pocket change compared with the $2.25 billion the United States spends a year on E-rate grants to schools and libraries in the nation’s rural and low-income areas. Of the countries contributing to the world fund, all but one — France — are African.,1294,69561,00.html

Local Aerial Networks

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

Extending the geographical reach of network infrastructure to higher and higher altitudes.

“AirCell announces the successful completion of its extended airborne demonstration program that allowed potential airline customers and others to experience the AirCell Broadband System’s technology in flight.”

Cognitive Radio

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

Cognitive radio. Not only a name to conjure with, but a technology that evolves itself.

“A cognitive radio (CR) has a computation model of itself. It knows that it is a smart radio, and it has a user who does certain things…Over time, it would learn and would build into the computation model what the user likes…This would have enough flexibility in the hardware to be programmed to a band or mode. So instead of being stuck in the 800 to 900MHz band, it would be able to adapt over to an ISM band or up to an IEEE band or 5GHz. It’s measuring the radio propagation, signal strength, the quality of the different bands as it drives around with you. It’s building this nifty internal database of what it can do when and where.”

Tip of the NeuroHat to Howard Rheingold’s Smart Mobs BLOG.

The FCC held a workshop on cognitive radio in 2003. Clear appeal to their chief role in figuring out allocation of the nation’s airwave.

“New cognitive radio technologies can potentially play a key role in shaping our spectrum use in the future. These technologies can lead to the advent of smarter unlicensed devices that make greater use of spectrum than possible today – without interfering with licensed users. Cognitive radios may also provide licensees with innovative ways to use their current spectrum more efficiently, and to lease their spectrum on the secondary market.”

A conference is going on now – wonder if they’re too embarrassed by the term – now it’s “software-defined radio”.

Clouds of Connectivity

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

Fred Ziari is a “wireless entrepreneur” – they love that kind of title at Wired. What caught my attention about this project is not the business model, recovering investment from large customers, but the characterization of a wi-fi “cloud”.

“Fred Ziari owns Hermiston, Oregon-based IRZ Consulting LLC and EZ Wireless LLC. Experienced in bringing wireless technology to irrigation, he began talking with community safety managers about how technology could be used to better plan for managing any emergency that might occur at the Umatilla Chemical Weapons Depot in Eastern Oregon, where munitions are stockpiled and incinerated.”

“…wireless entrepreneur Fred Ziari drew no resistance for his proposed wireless network, enabling him to quickly build the $5 million cloud at his own expense…While his service is free to the general public, Ziari is recovering the investment through contracts with more than 30 city and county agencies, as well as big farms such as Hale’s, whose onion empire supplies over two-thirds of the red onions used by the Subway sandwich chain. Morrow County, for instance, pays $180,000 a year for Ziari’s service.”


Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

I have seen proposals to deliver high speed internet access over electric power lines, by a network of 870 low earth orbit satellites, even by bouncing signals off meteors. I don’t believe this one is a business either, but I really want them to try.

“The latest broadband delivery system has seen researchers looking to the skies to provide super-fast internet access via airships. Airships in the stratosphere beaming back broadband capable of speeds up to 120Mbps may seem like fantasy. But tests in Sweden have suggested it could become a reality within three to five years.”

(Tip of the neurohat to FUTUREdition newsletter from the Arlington Institute)


Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

Surely it is proof certain of the emergent global consciousness that grid computing technology has finally been applied to allow us to exchange TV programs with each other. A greater sharing of guilty pleasures.

“Kontiki’s patent-pending Grid Delivery Technology taps the unused resources of networked PCs and servers, allowing companies to securely deliver high quality video and software updates at a fraction of the cost of traditional delivery solutions.”