It’s no surprise as time marches forward and technology does the same, that the infrastructure which supports that technology reaches its carrying capacity. This became apparent, on an Internet level, in the 1990s, with the creation of IPv6. It was discovered that any future Internet-based growth would need support from an expansion of capacity now.
Technology has a tendency to advance at a rate far faster than most people expect.
The result of this is the terrible tendency for technology to rub up against the cap of its basic supporting structures, resulting in a stagnation of growth that can be difficult to remedy. Only a constant forward-thinking ecosystem of developers, companies, and providers can generate the environment necessary for uninhibited technological growth.
The coming Internet of Things, where any one house may have hundreds of connected items, all relying on that houses Internet connection to operate as expected, will require a drastic change in the capacity of Wi-Fi or wired routers and the connections that link those routers and modems out to the rest of the Internet.
While there is no recognized limit to the number of devices that can connect to any one Wi-Fi hotspot, there may soon be a limit on how much one can use their Internet connection.
It’s no secret that the big cable corporations of the United States, and perhaps the rest of the 1st world, all have one thing in common.
They charge too much for subpar service, they never send service people out when they say they will, and they throttle your internet connection down when you use it too much. Of course, those same companies are looking for other ways to protect their profit margins, especially with the entrance of Google Fiber to the scene. This new Google service provides fairly inexpensive fiber-optic Internet to its available neighborhoods, and for those who can’t afford or don’t need those speeds, Fiber offers a free standard-speed connection, with only a construction fee of $300.
Cable companies have been buying out areas where the only connections available are DSL and their own services, and working to box the companies we thought were the future of Internet connections (Verizon and AT&T with their respective fiber-optic networks) out of future expansion. Now, Frontier owns a chunk of Verizon’s previous FiOS and copper networks.
The second phase of cable’s limiting of fiber optic systems in the United States is their introduction of usage-based billing.
That’s right, your home Internet connection may become just as limited as your mobile Internet connection.
Cable companies hope to achieve a one-two punch on the expansion of the Internet infrastructure, by limiting most Americans to their services and then to limit those people again to metering out their Internet connections to avoid overage fees. After the FCC ruled in favor of net neutrality (where one connection cannot be favored over another one based on subscription level), the cable companies are searching for another way to reap as much as they can from their Internet subscribers.
Now, while this may all seem like a non-issue right now, as most people only have and need a standard Internet connection, this will not always be true. In the near future, the number of Internet-connected devices in an average home may double or even triple, and the data they send through that home’s Internet connection will become more and more specific and data-heavy.
Imagine if your fridge were to send you your grocery list every week, complete with images and amounts, and even nutrition information. The data for that message alone could equal one hour browsing the web. Combine that with your stove sending you minute-by-minute updates on the status of your soufflé, your car notifying you that its rear passenger side tire is leaking air, and your spouse and kids streaming their respective entertainment, a usage-billed, standard speed Internet connection would be like plumbing a whole modern city with one Roman aqueduct.
Simply not up to the task.
For the Internet of Things to be an attainable reality in the near future, things like usage-based Internet billing, copper-cable based infrastructure, and boxing-in of consumers between two sub-par methods of connection, must be avoided at all costs.
HSCT #Communication Blog Contributor, Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his schools newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school. In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.
You can follow Alexander on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AlexanderBGault