Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Contrasting views in The Australian

Two items in The Australian IT worthy of comment.

The first is a reported claim by John Cioffi that fibre-to-the-home is slower than VDSL because it is a shared infrastructure and hence gets "clogged" when everyone is using it. This is firstly an incorrect description of how GPON works as I understand it. The fibre is split optically and the amount of committed AVC sold is less than the sum of the capacity of the fibre.  NBN Co sells a guaranteed AVC rate.

That doesn't mean that the experience reported might not occur of getting a slower speed once a service is converted to FttH, because there is an element of shared capacity called the CVC that connects a FAN to a POI.  That is contended, but in the NBN Co model RSPs make their own decision about what contention they want.

But as iiNet and NBN Co have reported a consequence of providing bigger pipes is that consumers use it more. If an RSP was to migrate its customers from DSL to FTTH but use its previous contention ratios it is entirely possible that light users would see a slowing down.  But as I said that is in the control of the RSP. 

This of course isn't the case with HFC where the connection provider (assume NBN Co) can't guarantee the access speed of the AVC.  And HFC will be 30% of the Coalition Broadband Network.

Cioffi also reportedly claims neighbours can spy on each other's traffic with the "right equipment." As the data is encrypted it is more than equipment you need, it is the ability to crack the encryption.  If Cioffi can do that he is in the wrong business.  I understand it uses Advanced Encryption Standard, which is what the NSA approves for US Government. It is unknown (as I understand it) if this is one of the encryption standards "cracked" by the NSA.

So the story can be put in the bucket of reporting of unsubstantiated claims - just like the ABC and asylum seeker burns.  But don't tell The Australian that!

The other story was about how game developers Secret Labs' in Tasmania were able to use the NBN to grow their business. Secret Labs wrote about theie experience on their own website. Their own more detailed comment is;

Realistically, we don't care what technology the remaining NBN rollout is delivered by, but we don't believe that the plan currently suggested by the coalition government can deliver an NBN that will truly serve Australia, and offer the same opportunities and capabilities to Australia, the way that FTTP has changed our business in the few short weeks we've been connected. Disturbingly, the majority of the published material from the current government regarding their NBN plans does not mention upload speed at all – upload is the most transformative aspect of FTTP for us.

This is probably reflective of most of Australia. People don't really care what the technology is, but they are concerned if the replacement can't at least provide the 100 Mbps down and 40 Mbps up.

1 comment:

Thomas Lumley said...

Bruce Schneier, who has seen a lot of the Snowden material and is a top-level cryptographer, doesn't think the NSA has broken the AES algorithm, though they may have broken the public-key algorithms used for key setup.

Your neighbour almost certainly hasn't.