The website HowStuffWorks was primarily defining connectivity in the ways that people and devices are connected/interconnected to/through the internet. The articles focused on ways that people and devices connect to the internet and new methods of making that connection possible.
Strickland delves first into the history of the internet, discussing the United States’ invention of the internet, but that it no longer is a leader in internet access. He explains that internet access is measured by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by comparing the number of subscribers to the number of the overall population of a country. Broadband Penetration is the number of broadband internet subscribers compared to the population in terms of the ratio: Number of subscribers per 100 inhabitants. The top 10 list of countries has a ratio of at least 29/100, with Denmark (#1 on the list) having a ratio of 37.2/100. The U.S. did not make the top 10 list. Strickland offers multiple reasons for why these countries may be ahead of the U.S. in internet access. These include population size, country size, and national policies.
List of Countries with the Highest Internet Access Ratios:
- The Netherlands
Google Loon is a current project undertaken by Google that intends to bring high speed internet access to areas that do not currently have it, or at least do not have it at reasonable or affordable prices using balloons. The project ultimately wants to create wireless networks via equipment-laden balloons floating in the stratosphere (above where weather is created and above where most commercial aviation routes are).
The project is being undertaken because despite growing internet users, there are still 4 billion people that do not have internet access. There have been promising tests conducted in 2011 and 2013, and several countries, including Sri Lanka have teamed up with Google to use Google Loon for internet access for their country.
The benefits of these balloon networks is that they are easier and cheaper to implement than large scare cable infrastructures. They also believe that this will provide economic improvements for the people and nations receiving access via Google Loon.
Fiber Optics is “the technique of transmitting light through transparent, flexible fibers of glass or plastic. The fibers, called optical fibers, can channel light over a curved path” (HowStuffWorks).
The article mentions multiple uses of Fiber Optics, including for less invasive surgery procedures, but the focus is primarily on how it can be used for communication systems, such as larger projects such as Google Fiber. The reason it is so useful for these connection systems is because fiber optics systems are more efficient than traditional copper wire systems because of larger information carrying capacity and because they are not interrupted by electrical interference.
Google fiber uses fiber optics (defined above) to create network infrastructure. The first place this infrastructure was created was in Kansas City, although Google has expanded the areas where Google Fiber is offered and is planning to continue the expansion. In some ways, it is very similar to other services such as cable. Google installs a box on the outside of the house as well as links cables to the electrical lines. Users are provided with a remote and MyFiber Account in order to control the settings and devices within their household.
While Google reports that Fiber provides download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, Johnson notes that this speed may not be what users actually experience based on whether they use wi-fi or not, as well as the age and hardware of the devices being used.
The Internet of Things (IoT) sometimes referred to as the Int
ernet of Everything “consists of all the web-enabled devices that collect, send, and act on data they acquire from their surrounding environments using embedded sensors, processors, and communication hardware” (Johnson). These devices can sometimes connection and communicate with other devices, which is called machine-to-machine (M2M) communication.
Ultimately, the article focuses on the ways that smart devices have changed, and will continue to change, the reality that we live in. It discusses current “smart” devices many of us already have such as smart phones or smart tvs, but also discusses looking into the future at things like self-driving cars.
Currently there are about 15-25 billion connected devices, but this is estimated to climb to 50 to 212 billion by 2020. One of the current challenges with these types of devices is that many of these devices talk to the internet and to our phones, but not always to each other. AllSeenAlliance is currently trying to remedy this through creating standards and using opensource platforms for the technology in order to help devices interact with each other easily. Another challenge facing the IoT is that there are limitations on the standard ip addresses because we are running out of numbers. There are also security issues and economic implications for the use of these connected devices.
Activity – Google Drawing
Think about the “smart” devices that you currently own that connect to the internet and/or other devices. You’ll be drawing representations of those devices as well as visualizing how these devices link to you, to the internet, and between each other.
- Go to Google Drive and select “New”. There will be a drop down menu asking you which new file type you want to create. Under “More” you’ll see Google Drawings. Click that to open a Google Drawing file. If you do not have the Google Drawing listed, you can get it here.
- Begin by drawing your devices as well as something to represent “the internet”.
- Draw the linkages between you, your devices, and the internet (a line would work here.) Think about the information being exchanged and how it is shared among your devices if it is at all.
- Post a link in the comments sharing your drawing. 🙂
“Fiber Optics.” HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks, 25 Aug. 2009. Web. 16 Jan. 2016.
Johnson, Bernadette. “How Google Fiber Works.” HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks, 30 Sept. 2014. Web. 16 Jan. 2016.
Johnson, Bernadette. “How Google Loon Works.” HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks, 08 Oct. 2015. Web. 16 Jan. 2016.
Johnson, Bernadette. “How the Internet of Things Works.” HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks, 19 Aug. 2015. Web. 16 Jan. 2016.
Strickland, Jonathan. “What Are the Most Wired Countries in the World and Why?” HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks, 05 Feb. 2008. Web. 16 Jan. 2016.