Wired for Speed

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The image of the wired network has taken a beating during the past couple of years as iPhones, iPads, Nexus Ones, Androids, Pres and other mobile devices and the networks upon which they ride have hogged the spotlight. The wired network, in the face of all this sleek innovation, has looked staid and stagnant.


Now, however, the wired network is enjoying a bit of a renaissance.


In the UK, for instance, Virgin Media said this week that it will launch a 100 Megabit-per-second (Mbps) broadband network by the end of this year and it plans to widen its experimental DOCSIS 3.0 200 Mbps network from Kent to Coventry. The Light Reading story has a lot of the details, which focus on practical issues such as pricing, which has not been announced.


There also is high-speed wired network news on this side of the Atlantic. The Federal Communications Commission is preparing its broadband plan to be unveiled next month. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski-at whom the writer of the DSL Reports piece takes some shots-said earlier this month at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners conference that the goal is to provide 100 Mbps capacity to 100 million people. The story says that no timetable was mentioned, and accuses Genachowski of being vague.


At least two of the big players are dueling high above that number. Earlier this month, of course, Google said that it will work with municipalities and state governments on fiber-to-the-home networks capable operating at 1 Gigabit per second (1Gbps).


Extended bandwidth is music to Cisco's ears, and the company is said to be readying its own initiative. eWEEK reports that on March 9 Cisco will announce plans to meet Google's ambitions. The story cites reports that Google will compete with established players, while Cisco will work with them. This makes sense, since this is its customer base.


Both the amount of data and demands of the applications people are using are on perpetual growth curves. It's clear that the network of the future will be a mix of wired and wireless, and the past few weeks have seen the earthbound element begin answering the bell.