Small Cells Set to Be Big Winners

Carl Weinschenk

The shutdown is over and the default didn’t happen, so it turned out to be a good week. While that drama was playing out in Washington, D.C., a typical mix of important news and good commentary was emerging from other places. Today, I’ll cover some of the highlights.

Cisco Trots Out Its Big Numbers to Describe the Cloud

Cisco specializes in two things: Networking equipment and studies that feature numbers so huge that nobody has ever heard of them. It has again done the latter in its Global Cloud Index. According to All Things D, the Cisco study focuses on three types of traffic: between end users and resources, between data centers and within data centers.


The findings tapped into those bigger-than-can-be-imagined numbers, according to the story:

The headline is that Cisco says that all this traffic will grow by 4.5 times to 7.7 zettabytes a year by 2017. Then it goes on to try and make that amount of data real: It’s enough data to play a continuous stream of music for a year and half, or stream 2.5 hours a day of high-definition video for every person on earth.

Cisco said that 76 percent of the traffic flows inside data centers, 17 percent between end users and what they are seeking, and 7 percent between data centers.

Small Cells, Big Growth

Experts say that small cell technology can stretch cellular bandwidth through multiple use of the same spectrum and the off-loading of traffic to cheaper, unlicensed or wired networks. It also improves the quality of reception and transmission indoors.

An ABI Research study validates just how popular it is likely to get. The firm said that the market will pass the $5 billion mark in 2018, which would represent a 48 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from its current value, which is $487 million.

The firm projects that the sub 6GHz sector will capture 47 percent of equipment revenue, which totals about $2.4 billion. Millimeter wave technology will grow at a 113 percent CAGR and reach a value of $668 million.

Another NFC Benefit: Two-Factor Authentication

CNET reports that IBM is bringing two-factor authentication, which is common in the desktop world, to smartphones.

Two-factor authentication is familiar. Often, for instance, an individual changing passwords has a code sent to a separate device as a way to ensure his or her identity. Though smartphones and tablets play a role in this, the goal of the request is to perform an action on a stationary device.

The new approach uses near-field communications (NFC). The story says that once the bank app is downloaded, it sends a number to the user’s phone. That app prompts the user to enter the number. He or she taps the phone against an NFC-enabled card that the bank has issued. That card also has a number. The card uses the two numbers in a calculation. The answer is sent to the bank, and if the result checks out, the user is given access.

Akamai’s State of the Internet: It’s Fast and Getting Faster

Akamai this week released its state of the Internet report for the second quarter. Some highlights: Peak connection speed increased from 45.7 Megabits per second (Mbps) to 48.8 Mbps. The peak connection speed in Taiwan increased 22 percent to 39.5 Mbps, though Hong Kong remains in first place at 65.1 Mbps.

The press release, not surprisingly, is full of numbers. Some more:

Year-over-year, global average peak connection speeds continued to demonstrate solid growth, rising 17 percent. Yearly growth rates among the top 10 countries ranged from 14 percent in South Korea to 61 percent in both Singapore and Taiwan. Around the rest of the world, all but six qualifying countries/regions saw yearly growth in average peak connection speeds, ranging from 8.5 percent in Bermuda (to 13.4 Mbps) to increases of more than 200 percent in Bahrain (284 percent to 40.3 Mbps) and Iraq (274 percent to 27.3 Mbps).

The release said that more than 752 million unique IP addresses connected to the Akamai Intelligent Platform during the quarter.

No Moore No More?

And, finally, comes an item about how laws are subject to change. In 1965, Gordon Moore wrote a paper in Electronics magazine that, according to Internet Evolution’s Talha Khalid, said that “the number of microcomponents that could be placed in an integrated circuit (or microchip) of the lowest manufacturing cost was doubling every year and that this trend would likely continue into the future.”

This assessment, which is stated in a variety of ways, became known as Moore’s Law. It’s not a law, of course, but it is a truism that has proven to be remarkably resilient over the decades.

Until now.

Khalid’s piece suggests that there is a growing feeling that Moore’s Law will come to an end in the not-too-distant future. Ironically, the reason won’t be technical. Instead, it will be that the great expense of manufacturing the chips will make alternatives – such as cloud and quantum computing – more attractive.



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