Archives for 2014

Interview: Dr Ghislaine Caulat on Virtual Leadership

What are the skills required to lead teams in a distributed virtual environment? A few years ago I came across the brilliant work of Ghislaine Caulat through her doctoral thesis at Ashridge Business School. Her core insight is both simple and profound: to lead remote workers in a virtual paradigm is a fundamentally new skill. […]

7 reasons why ‘bandwidth’ doesn’t add up

In a previous article I wrote about ‘structural engineering’ for broadband, and its lack of technical sophistication. A key cause is the ubiquitous resource model that we use: ‘bandwidth’. This fails to adequately characterise broadband demand or supply. You should care because it undermines both the economic foundations of the telecoms industry and the legitimacy […]

Over-provisioning bandwidth doesn’t solve QoE problems

The chart below is, I believe, one of the more important ones ever produced in the history of packet networking. It was generated by my colleagues at Predictable Network Solutions Ltd, based on measurements taken from Kent Public Service Network (KPSN), and reproduced with their kind permission. It is the first publishable direct comparison of […]

There is no quality in averages: IPX case study

Here is a crate of apples. Nice, aren’t they? Don’t they all look smooth and shiny! What if I told you that the average apple in this crate was only picked a week ago? So fresh, too!

How is network neutrality like pigeons playing chess?

The idea of “network neutrality” has been in the news a lot recently. Rather than address it directly, I want to offer you some thinking tools to help position the whole debate in the right place in your head. I have read Nassim Taleb’s brilliant Antifragile, together with other writing of his. He uses three […]

Where are the “structural engineers” for broadband?

Imagine you are walking out of the elevator on the 57th floor of a skyscraper. You turn to the right, and in front of you is the glass wall of the building. Beyond that is a magnificent view of the city, and many other tall buildings around. How do you feel? Inspired? Awed? Or absolutely […]

Book review – Misunderstanding the Internet

In Misunderstanding the Internet, three authors from Goldsmiths, University of London, set out to debunk the prevailing utopian- libertarian view of the Internet, and its purported transformational power over society. Overturning this simplistic narrative is a goal they easily achieve: fairy tales of technological determinism are neatly skewered on sharpened analysis and deliciously roasted above […]

Net Neutrality, Martin Geddes and Oklahoma!

I was recently interviewed by The Switch on the subject of Net neutrality.  It follows on from one of my earlier updates “How the broadband farmers and cowmen can be friends” where I discuss why Net neutrality is a category error and that what matters is equality between network users, and their fair access to whatever services the network […]

Why we need antifragile applications and polyservice networks

The radical idea of ‘antifragility’, proposed by the polymath scholar Nassim Taleb, has significant implications for telecommunications. Last December I tweeted a profound thought, originally expressed by my colleague Peter Thompson, who is CTO of Predictable Network Solutions Ltd. It joins the idea of antifragility back to packet networking: “A polyservice network enables the ‘optionality’ that every antifragile […]

The illusion of benevolent broadband teleology

“Inside every router on the Internet, there is processor, which has some little-known and most magical properties. As each layer of atoms is laid down upon the silicon substrate, a Tibetan monk nearby prays that it will serve its new network masters well. Then, as the assembled equipment is packaged for customer delivery, traces of […]