Tag Archives: Data transmission

The Wi-Fi Revolution And Smart Homes

It always amazes me how many home Wi-Fi networks there are. I don’t do a lot of sniffing, but wherever I am I take a look and there they are, whether it’s a Jakarta towerblock or rural England. Wi-Fi, it seems, is as commonplace as any other kind of connection. And now market research company Park Associates seems to have confirmed it: More households, at least in the U.S., have set up wireless networks than cable, or Ethernet, ones:

This study, which surveyed consumers in Europe and North America on technology adoption and use, found 52% of U.S. households with a home network use Wi-Fi and 50% use Ethernet. By comparison, only 32% of Canadian households with a home network use Wi-Fi, 43% use Ethernet, and 26% were unsure which technology they were using.

No mention is made of European homes, but from what I can see, the rest of the world is not far behind. Interestingly, Park Associates credits the bundling of Wi-Fi kits by cable and telephone companies selling broadband service for the surge. Their hope: to bundle other ‘next-generation’ services using these networks, since they are supposedly easier to distribute via Wi-Fi than Ethernet. In short, the Wi-Fi explosion could bring the smart home a step closer to reality.

News: Bad News For Bandwith Hogs

 I guess it’s not a particularly liberal view of the Internet, this wondrous playground where everyone can find what they want and access it, but it’s probably inevitable: some high-volume users are going to find their usage curtailed. CNET reports that some cable Internet service subscribers are quietly capping the volume of downloading they allow their subscribers to do. So far, it’s only affecting the heaviest users.
 
These are a small minority: CNET quote ISPs as saying a tiny percentage of people are using an enormous percentage of their total bandwidth. This will inevitably slow down the connections of other folk in the same area. Personally, I’m all for capping: I don’t think the Internet should be for folk downloading and uploading gigabytes of data unless they’ve got a separate corporate connection. Give the rest of us a chance.