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Tech's Need for Speed: Companies work to stay ahead of demand

As new apps and devices create a need for greater broadband speed, innovative tech companies are looking far beyond what's being offered today.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive on

Over time, in the world of tech, everything gets bigger, faster and cheaper.

In a post today, CNET's Maggie Reardon offers a good pulse of what's happening with the deployment of 100Mbps broadband speeds, enough to download a music CD in about five second, a 60-minute TV shows in 30 seconds and a HD movie in less than 8 minutes.

Her point: we're already getting near widespread deployment of those speeds - even though the masses really don't need them yet. Eventually, I'm sure that there will be demand for that sort of connection. But initially, the customers will likely be high-end early adopters - and they'll certainly pay.

The CNET post goes into detail about the use of 100Mbps speeds at a consumer level but also reminds us that Google is already looking beyond that speed with planned tests of a 1-gigabit-per-second fiber-to-the-home connection in a small number of cities around the country.

In some ways, the use for these sorts of speeds go beyond the realm of what we know today. Think about it: When cell phones were just hitting the scene 10-15 years ago, there was no real chatter about streaming video over a smartphone via WiFi - but I can certainly do that today. Back then, 56K dial-up modems were offering warp speed connections to the Internet - and that was plenty for opening pages filled with text. Clearly, today's rich media Web pages demand greater speeds. Who knows what sort of devices or apps of the future will drive the adoption of faster speeds?

If history has taught us anything, it's safe to say that we, as a computing society and development engine, will create and demand the devices and apps to utilize that speed - and then demand more. This morning, Verizon, Juniper Networks, NEC Corp. and Finisar Corp. jointly announced the successful completion of "the first real traffic 100 gigabits per second (100G) optical fiber transmission field trial applying standards-based optics end-to-end and using the latest in 100G native router interfaces."

The companies essentially used emerging network technology move data over an amplified a 1,520-kilometer section of Verizon's network in the north Dallas area and are now saying that demo validates the maturity of the standard that supports such transfer rates. In a joint statement, the companies said:

This field trial marks an important step toward advancing 100G transmission, which is vital to the continued growth of IP-based services and applications. As traffic from wireless and wired broadband devices continues to grow, communications carriers and equipment providers must continually innovate to expand and enhance the capability of core networks with technologies such as 100G connectivity.

Eventually, we'll be connected everywhere we go and devices all around us will tap into the network. Surfing the Web - or at least accessing data and content over broadband - will be as second-nature as turning on a car radio and hearing music, news or sports.

What sort of doors will 100 Mbps, 1Gbps, or even 100G speeds open? How will it change things like transportation networks, commerce, entertainment, utilities and so on?

I can only imagine the possibilities.

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