Practical Technology

for practical people.

Help! I’m out of bandwidth and I can’t get my demo up!

In a way, it’s funny. First, Google had to ask people to turn out their smartphones and computers to do their recent Google TV demo and now Apple’s Steve Jobs, the master of the demo, has run into the same kind of bandwidth problem with the iPhone 4 release demo. What’s going on here when two of the biggest and brightest technology companies on the planet can’t get a demo to work because of lack of bandwidth? I’ll tell you what’s going on: We don’t have enough Wi-Fi/3G/4G bandwidth. Period. End of statement.

Most of this problem stems from a lack of infrastructure. When thousands of people want MBs (megabytes) of bandwidth for video streaming or real-time applications like Twitter even when the pipe bringing in the signal is an OC-192 with its 9.4Gbps (Gigabits per second)isn’t going to be able to keep up. Besides, even if you have an OC-192, you still can’t deliver all that bandwidth to a limited area with the fastest common version of Wi-Fi, 802.11n, with its maximum burst throughput of 600Mbps (Megabits per second).

Even if you made the best possible use of your 802.11n AP (access points), you’d still have too much demand trying to share the same limited resources. You can’t get around the problem by throwing more APs at it because their signals will interfere with each other.

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