I am one of those unlucky SOHO workers
whose home office is too far away from the phone company's central
office (CO) to get ADSL. And my local cable company does not seem
to have plans for putting in cable modems any time soon. So I am
stuck with a V.90 dial-up connection for all the work I do over the
Internet. Frankly, I am not bothered so much by my V.90
connection's slow speed as by not being connected all the time.
Everyone who works in a regular office seems to think that as soon
as they send me an email message, my PC will announce, "You've got
mail." Sorry folks, I get my mail in bunches when I log on and
Every now and then someone attaches megabytes of files I
probably didn't ask for (thank you very much) to an email, clogging
my datapath. But for the most part, the vital elements of my job
are word processor files that I can upload or download in the
background at acceptable speeds over a V.90 connection.
Even though I have a very small operation here in my SOHO, I
have cutting-edge, real-time, online backup of everything vital
that I work on. Everybody has an old PC, right? Rather than buy a
high-volume removable storage drive such as a Zip or Jaz drive, I
implemented a much lower-cost system. For about $150 I was able to
connect my old PC, my new PC, and my laptop with a simple
peer-to-peer 10/100BaseT Ethernet network. Using Diginaut's
FolderWatch, a $20 shareware program, writes to critical folders on
my new PC are automatically mirrored to my other two PCs.
In the event of firenot an unlikely possibility since my
apartment building caught on fire two months agoI can
literally shut the lid on my laptop, run outside, and pick up right
where I left off.
Having my own Ethernet to manage has been interesting. I have
installed Hegel Technologies' DU Meter, a small shareware program
that monitors uploads, downloads, as well as file transfers over my
Ethernet. It scrolls a real-time bar graph in a "heartbeat monitor"
window. DU Meter gives me something to look at while waiting for
transfers to finish.
The huge difference in rates between my V.90 connection and my
Ethernet got me to thinking. DSL is the last gasp of copper
wirephysics will keep it from going any faster. Sure, DSL is
faster than a V.90 connection, but is it fast enough?
Ethernet is well established and business users are perfectly
accustomed to its bandwidthwhich is getting faster. Gigabit
Ethernet is catching on like a wildfire. It was first envisioned as
a connection between physically separated 10/100-Mbyte/s Ethernet
networks but is showing definite signs of a trend toward pushing
down to individual computers on the desktop.
10-Gigabyte Ethernet is only around the corner. So will
telephone companies find themselves with a technological white
elephant on their hands after they have invested in DSL only to see
some optical or wireless technology make off with the