How Bright is your City?

Smart CityIn some industries, it’s easy to see the footprint you leave. In the glamorous world of advertising and telecomm it’s often not so clear-cut. Cue, “Smart Cities.” Smart cities are defined as “cities of the future – they invest in information and communications technology (ICT), such as broadband networks and analytics software, to become more attractive places for Americans to live and work.”1 In our business, this is the day-to-day impact we are making on the world.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, people working in U.S. cities contribute up to 90% of the nation’s GDP and compose 83% of the population.1 In a smart city model, multiple entities coordinate to leverage technology investments across an entire department, organization, city and city ecosystem (with utilities, schools and universities, and even other cities). That’s where companies like ours come in; with such a large percentage of the population situated in these metro markets, we are their broadband backbone.

As summarized in the resources mentioned below, broadband delivers a substantial effect to businesses, healthcare institutions and educational organizations in urban areas. Top impacts include:

  • Job Creation – The building of the infrastructure itself creates jobs to not only generate and maintain the network but also, for organizations that must hire IT staff to maintain their own internal and external network connections.
  • Improved Education – With broadband technology, classrooms are “no longer learning islands, but rather global collaborative learning centers.”1 With programs like E-rate and the ConnectED fund, educational organizations gain more and more access to 21st century learning, creating higher standards for education.
  • Advancement of Medical / Healthcare Services – A recent International Economic Development Council (IEDC) survey indicates 28% of its members see broadband enabled medical and healthcare services as a direct impact on their local economies.2 With the usual checklist of MRI Imaging, data transfer and security along with new-age tasks like modeling the human brain or remote surgical demonstrations for student doctors, the impact of bandwidth on a city’s healthcare system is unmatched.
  • Support Sustainability – Broadband connections allow for the collection and analysis of data, which aid in reducing energy usage and play a role in our environmental footprint including greenhouse gas emissions.

As you ultimately move around in your career, you’re often faced with the inevitable question, “How am I making the world a better place?” The products and services we offer enable the leading businesses of smart cities to run more efficiently.

We may not be curing terminal illness or fighting crime, but if you think about it, what we do is still pretty impactful.

References:
[1] http://www.mhfigi.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/MHFIGI_Smart_Cities_Invest_in_Broadband.pdf
[2] http://gigaom.com/2014/05/04/can-telemedicine-help-communities-justify-better-broadband/

A Non-Engineer’s Take on Wide Area Networks

Wide Area Network PortWide Area Networks (WANs) have been designed to address the specific needs of varying types of organizations, businesses and consumers. Business type, number of employees, data security level, geographical distance between sites, file transfer size and requirements, and user profile are just some of the factors that dictate what type of WAN technology will be the most cost-effective and efficient. Often, organizations may implement a hybrid combination of network solutions.

Five main types of Wide Area Networks exist:

  1. Domestic MPLS  (Multi-Protocol Label Switching)
  2. International MPLS
  3. Carrier (Switched) Ethernet
  4. Carrier (Private) Ethernet
  5. Optical Carrier Private Line

Read more of this post

16QAM, A Lesson in Physics

Physics ProfessorAs a high school student, I vividly remember my physics professor trying to explain the law of refraction. In its simplest form, “the bending of a ray of light.” More complex than that, the whole class suddenly glazed. Mr. Physics had to be speaking Swahili.  Ten years later, and it seems my physics lessons are paying off big time: 16QAM.

With the standardization of 100G by the Institute of Electrical Electronics Engineers (IEEE)1, the ever-expanding world of bandwidth capacity is pushing towards the deployment of bigger and better, 400G super channels. A technology which would not be possible without the use of QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation). Read more of this post

Differentiation. How to be in a Class All Your Own.

Sunesys Wine BottleI’m often asked what drives our business. Being philosophical about this question, the number one driver always begins with the human insatiable need to communicate. Humans by nature are a pack species, and do not fare well on their own. Thus, from the beginning of time, we’ve learned languages in order to communicate our wants and needs. And as nomadic groups expanded their horizons into new lands, we needed to find ways to communicate across countries as well as continents.

That’s all very well, but once we learned to communicate, we needed a way to differentiate. At the end of the day, what really differentiates one company from another? For us, it’s the brand and what that brand represents. Take for example when you open any bottle of wine made by legendary wine farmer, Giuseppe Quintarelli, you know what that name on the bottle will mean. You absolutely know for what it will stand. Every bottle is a masterpiece, a testament to the skill and passion of a master artisan. You simply cannot compare his wines to any other in the region, or for that matter, anywhere else in the world. They are in a class and a category all to their own. Read more of this post

Evolution of the Wide Area Network

Evolution of the WANWide area network solutions have dramatically evolved over the past decades, providing organizations and businesses alike a variety of options to connect their remote locations, international offices and/or data centers to their headquarters. Emerging technologies have pushed the growth of the WAN into a modern-day machine.

In the past, the local telephone company had a monopoly on the “last mile,” the final leg of a connection that runs from a company’s location back to the carrier network. In this case, technology significantly limited the access rate or bandwidth capacity for the solution. For the last 100 years, the local phone company has used a twisted pair of copper phone lines in an effort to increase bandwidth to the network. However, copper lines tend to be unreliable, highly susceptible to electromagnetic interference, and provide only limited access to the network. Read more of this post

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