Fast Broadband Becoming the Norm

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    This week, summer has turned toward autumn with mild temperatures outside, which seems to be reflected in the general calm that has hit the technology and telecommunications news fronts.

    Despite the lack of hot headlines, we can still find plenty of interesting news and commentary. Check out some of the highlights:

    LTE-Advanced in Full Swing

    The next step in the road to faster cellular service is LTE-Advanced. ABI Research released a report this week that tracked the progress the technology is making:

    As of the end of 1Q 2014, ABI Research estimates there were ~60 LTE-Advanced trials, commitments and commercial deployments worldwide, of which 22 commitments were from Western Europe, 16 from Asia-Pacific, and 5 from North America. In addition, Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is gaining market traction in 2014, providing voice services alongside LTE mobile broadband in a reliable and profitable way.

    The report says that carrier aggregation, which is a method of combining the spectrum together to increase data rates, is the most important feature of LTE-Advanced. It was launched in June by Bouygues Telecom in France and is slated to be deployed by SFR and Orange France.

    Android Knocks at the Enterprise Door

    According to Good Technology, Android is making some progress in enterprise mobility. In its Q2 Mobile Index, the firm reported that Google’s operating system held 12 percent of total activations. That was a 4 percent increase. The market share came at the expense of iOS. Don’t feel sorry for Apple, however. Its operating system still controls 88 percent of the enterprise.

    Device-side activations also saw growth for Android. It rose 5 percent to 32 percent of total device activations, which are mostly smartphones and tablets, with Apple taking 67 percent of the rest. Windows Phone grabbed the other 1 percent.

    Fast Broadband Proliferates

    The move to faster broadband is growing. The latest entry is by Suddenlink Communications. While it’s a big cable operator, the seventh largest according to LightReading, it is decidedly smaller than Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

    Suddenlink plans to upgrade “nearly all” of its systems to 1Gbps during the next three years. The incremental capex to do this is $230 million. The first $35 million will be spent during the second half of this year. The story adds specifics:

    Specifically, the “Operation GigaSpeed” initiative calls for Suddenlink to upgrade its cable modem termination systems (CMTSs), replace its DOCSIS 2.0 cable modems with 3.0 modems and higher, and reclaim more analog video bandwidth by converting the rest of its cable systems to all-digital video delivery. With these measures, MSO officials aim to offer top download speeds of 1 Gbit/s to nearly 90% of their broadband customers by 2017, and maximum speeds of 200 Mbit/s to another 8% of their subscribers.

    Does Unified Communications Lead to More Meetings?

    A study conducted by LogMeIn and Ovum was reported on eWeek, and it revealed some interesting things about meetings. The survey showed that the total number of meetings is increasing, and that about two-thirds of employees think that half of these meetings are valueless. The survey also found that virtual meetings account for more than 30 percent of all meetings. Ninety-one percent of respondents say they are having the same amount or more meetings.

    The takeaway is tricky. One way to look at the situation is that the availability of technology is enabling far more productive work to be done. The other side of the coin is that removing geography as a barrier leads to more meetings, and these can be counterproductive. Indeed, it seems counterintuitive, but both of these points may be true: More work is getting done and more time is being wasted.

    Body Heat

    And, finally comes a story about powering all of those really small Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Computerworld posted a story this week that suggests that the smallest may be too small to be driven by batteries. That may not be as big a problem as it first appears: The tiny bits of power that naturally are in the environment may do the trick:

    Energy harvested from body heat, motion and ambient light could be used in medical implants, monitoring sensors and disposable medical patches, said Yogesh Ramadass, lead design engineer at Texas Instruments, during a presentation at the Hot Chips conference.

    The bottom line is that the smallest elements of the IoT can run on the minute amount of energy generated by these unconventional methods. That’s important as the IoT evolves and its uses grow ever-more granular.

    Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at [email protected] and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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