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A Series of Tubes #120: Your guided walk through the NBN forest!

November 29th, 2010

This week’s A Series of Tubes is an NBN special. With the “Telstra separation” legislation finally through parliament, it’s a good time to look at a host of NBN questions: was the business case document worth the wait? Is there a black hole in the NBN business case?
A Series of Tubes talks through these issues with Stilgherrian, along with a look at the NBN product and rollout roadmaps, and the intricate but important point of interconnect debate.
A Series of Tubes is your comprehensive ramble through the perplexing woods of the NBN!

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A Series of Tubes #119: Ruckus Wireless talks 802.11n streaming; Still talks OECD paragraphs, privacy and crowdsourcing

November 17th, 2010

A funny thing happened in the last week or so. After discussing 802.11n IPTV streaming with Internode engineer Mark Newton, I started asking around various WiFi vendors for an engineer to discuss the issue with. My interest was sparked by the ongoing urban myth that we’ll all have to rewire our homes when the NBN arrives, something that looks to me like a sales strategy for cabling companies.

But wireless vendors have shown absolutely no enthusiasm to talk about how well their 802.11n products can support multiple multicast streams – with the sole exception of Ruckus Wireless. So Ruckus engineer Steve Chung has the stage for this week.

You’re probably aware that the OECD has supposedly issued a “damning” statement about the NBN. Well, it didn’t: it produced its normal country report on Australia, and in the summary report, there is just one paragraph on the NBN. Tubes talks to Stilgherrian about whether this means anything at all – and we also take a walk around online privacy, and the depressing phenomenon of crowdsourcing employment at a couple of cents an hour.

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A Series of Tubes #118: Karl Horne of Ciena on current and future bandwidth; Stilgherrian on NBN scare stories, the USO and the ACCC

October 25th, 2010

Whether or not you believe the country needs the NBN, nobody doubts that the Internet remains in the grip of a long bandwidth explosion. Like the universe, ongoing inflationary expansion is the norm. So this week A Series of Tubes talks to Ciena portfolio director Karl Horne about that company’s views on traffic growth and network architecture.

And if you think that there’s a crusade against the NBN, you’re not alone. Tubes talks to Stilgherrian about the spate of anti-NBN scare stories. We also look at the new USO (Universal Service Obligation) inquiry, and the ACCC’s propose inquiry into ADSL wholesale service prices.

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A Series of Tubes: Back again with i3 Group’s Elfed Thomas on Brisbane’s Sewer Fiber, Stilgherrian on networks, fibre speeds and Win Mobile 7

October 18th, 2010

To all Tubes listeners, my sincere apology for the long absence. This year has been one of the most difficult on record, due to illness in the family, and I simply haven’t had as much time as I would wish. But we’re back now!

Stop laughing, this is serious: I realise that the combination of optical fibres and sewer pipes makes for hilarious headlines, but there’s more to it than that. The i3 Group’s “fibre through the sewer” project, that aims to deliver broadband to residents of Brisbane, is designed to reduce the cost of the most expensive part of a fibre rollout – the civil infrastructure. The project has, unfortunately, been met with the kind of ignorance that comes from turning mainstream journalists loose on specialised topics: not only giggles and toilet jokes, but simplistic cost comparisons between the dark fibre, high-density Brisbane project with the whole-of-country, lit fibre NBN.

So A Series of Tubes was happy to have the chance to talk to Elfed Thomas, CEO of the i3 Group, about his company and the project.

As well as the i3 Brisbane project, Tubes’ chat with Stilgherrian wanders around the “limits of fibre” and the wonders of Windows Mobile 7.

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A Series of Tubes #115: Ciena Networks on the gigabit NBN; Stilgherrian on opposition comms policy

August 15th, 2010

Whether or not NBN Co was playing politics when it announced that it would configure the NBN with gigabit ports, one thing is certain: the technology is certainly here and now, and given the life cycle of technology, the pre-rollout upgrade probably isn’t a bad idea. A Series of Tubes speaks with Anup Changaroth of Ciena Networks about gigabit fibre networks, the product life cycle, and the value of Layer 2 carrier networks.

And in a week that saw the release (to a political commentariat divided along party lines) of the Liberal Party’s broadband policy, Tubes gets Stilgherrian’s take on the week’s activities.

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A Series of Tubes #114: Geoff Houston on IPv4 exhaustion; Stil on the iiNet / AFACT appeal, Google Wave and politics

August 6th, 2010

It really is happening, although the widespread sense of panic isn’t sufficient to stir people as much as a couple of pink batts.

We’re getting close to exhaustion of the IPv4 address space: only a relative handful of 14/8 blocks remain in IANA’s unallocated address pool, and as listeners will hear, some address blocks are being held back as being too “toxic” for production use. A Series of Tubes speaks to APNIC Chief Scientist Geoff Houston (who must surely sympathise with Cassandra: uttering accurate prophecy, but too little believed).

And in our regular chat with Stilgherrian, A Series of Tubes says “hello” to the courtroom, “goodbye” to Google Wave, and “where to now” for the NBN.

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A Series of Tubes #113: IPscape on Twittering Customer Support; NBN, Pacific Fibre with Stilgherrian

August 2nd, 2010

Like many things, it would be easy to put the notion of Twitter as customer service channel into the “believe it when I see it” basket.

But take another look: a great many companies have learned that it’s best to respond quickly to someone complaining about a product or service – usually with a #Bad(company name) hashtag. Otherwise, you could find yourself the subject not of one random Tweet, but thousands of damaging messages. That’s where Australian cloud-based customer contact provide IPscape is coming from. A Series of Tubes talked to CEO Simon Bourke about the benefits of adding Twitter to your list of customer service channels – and how to avoid alienating customers when the Fail Whale arrives.

In our regular chat with Stilgherrian, A Series of Tubes discusses the new Pacific Fibre project, the release of the NBN maps, and how bad editorial decisions in mainstream media help drive the audience to Internet outlets.

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A Series of Tubes #112: Internode’s John Lindsay; Steve Chung of Ruckus Wireless; Stilgherrian

July 20th, 2010

If you thought peace had broken out in telco-land with the NBN finally moving forward, think again. The copper will be around for some years yet, and with it will be the ongoing wrangles over access to copper-based services. Last week, iiNet and Internode launched action in the ACCC over wholesale access to Telstra’s ADSL2+ network, and A Series of Tubes talks to Internode’s John Lindsay about the action.

And in the world of Google, technology and privacy, the leaky nature of WiFi networks has been brought to a very wide audience. A Series of Tubes talks to Steve Chung, consultant at Ruckus Wireless, about WiFi privacy – and about how network professionals need to tread carefully when using tools such as sniffers.

In my regular chat with Stilgherrian, we wander around the new world of Open Government, the Privacy Commissioner’s findings on the Google StreetView-WiFi incident, and how the Pirate Party fell at the first hurdle.

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A Series of Tubes #111: We’re back with Stilgherrian on “Ozlog”, Spence and Spenceley on Vocus Edit Link

June 17th, 2010

Mostly, journalists use the expression “a long illness” as a code word for “cancer”. Not in this case: the gap in the Tubes was the result of my wife’s long illness, now under control, which had her in RPA hospital in April, May, and into June. But all’s well that ends well!

In A Series of Tubes #111, I talk to James Spenceley and David Spence in an interview recorded before the world went pear-shaped. Fortunately, the things they had to say are still current today! We talk about the float of Vocus and the changes taking place in the Australian bandwidth market.

And in my once-again soon-to-be-regular chat with Stilgherrian, we talk about the now-infamous “Ozlog” stories (just how much will the government try to log?), Google’s WiFi debacle, and the many misinterpretations of the OECD’s latest round of broadband penetration data (can journalists be taught about statistical error margins?).

Welcome back to A Series of Tubes!

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A Series of Tubes #110: Peter Kazacos talks outsourcing for SMEs; Stilgherrian on censorship and comment spam

March 28th, 2010

Peter Kazacos has been in the Australian IT industry a long time. He founded and built Kaz Computing into one of the country’s strongest locally-owned outsourcing operations – something confirmed when Kaz Computing was later acquired by Telstra. Now, as the result of the acquisition of his company Anittel by Hostech (along with several other companies), Kazacos is now executive chairman of the merged entity.

And he’s got a mission: to deliver outsourcing services to SMEs on a national scale, with a focus on regional businesses. That gives Kazacos strong views on what his customers need – and what the NBN has to do with SMEs.

In our regular chat with Stilgherrian, Tubes talks Google and censorship, China and censorship, censorship and Conroy – and the comment-spam attack on Senator Steve Fielding.

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