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Broadband Over Power Lines: Coming Soon?

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the believe-it-when-i'm-downloading dept.

The Internet 376

Decaffeinated Jedi writes "With technology improving and costs droppings, News.com offers up an interesting report on renewed interest in delivering broadband Internet access via power lines (a technology known as BPL). Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission proposed a new set of rules for utility companies that might want to offer BPL services as a way to 'encourage broadband for the entire United States' -- particularly hard-to-reach rural areas. As the article notes, EarthLink has already started testing BPL service in using power lines leased in Wake County, North Carolina. Could cable and DSL face a new competitor in the broadband market in the near future?"

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Broadband over anal beads (-1)

(TK8)Dessimat0r (670558) | more than 10 years ago | (#8373950)

H is for the HONOUR of serving Nazi Germany
I is for the INTERESTING Jew killing
T is for the TERRIFIC leadership style
L is for the LOVE of my leader
E is for the ENTHUSIASM of when I go to battle
R is for the RAPE of women, and how much I enjoy it

Hitler really is the finest ruler

Trollkore - I hate you, I hate your country, and I hate your face.

FP for Bush! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8373952)

Republican Slashdotters Unite!

Re:FP for Bush! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8373978)

where do i sign up?
can i get free salon.com subscription with sign-up?

Re:FP for Bush! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374287)

http://www.gop.com/default.aspx [gop.com] Sign up right at the top.

BPL Bad (4, Informative)

dieman (4814) | more than 10 years ago | (#8373954)

It tramples over many frequencies used by FEMA and Ham Operators. Ick!

Re:BPL Bad (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374104)

Agreed, for the technology in question earlier.

Now, have the manufacturers (Cisco? Siemens? Whoever came up with the hardware to do this?) done anything to mitigate the interference? Like pushing it into the TV band(s), where digital ATSC is supposed to help us ignore QRM? ;)

Anyone know if HomePlug is equally offensive (on a smaller, but much more distributed, scale)?

Re:BPL Bad (5, Informative)

loucura! (247834) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374119)

The good news is that Ham frequencies trample back, and as a Federally licensed operator, your traffic takes precedence to theirs, and since the stuff will be regulated under Part 15, they will be responsible for all the interference. It probably won't endear you to the neighbors though.

DSL price should be dropped lower (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374196)

If "powerline" works, then DSL price should be cheaper.
Right now, $34.99 using Verizon DSL is still expensive because there has been more than 3.0 million people got laid-off and many College Graduates don't have a job, which thanks to outsourcing...

Re:DSL price should be dropped lower (-1, Flamebait)

pcraven (191172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374229)

Wow, with such an excellent command of the English language, I don't see how anyone would fire you. Which college did you go to again?

Re:BPL Bad (-1, Flamebait)

DOCStoobie (731093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374214)

HAM operators can lick my balls, HAM sux, now give back the bandwidth for something useful, thats why america's wireless sux, morons take up useful bandwidth for absolute CRAP like HAM's.....

Christ, WE KNOW (-1, Troll)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374252)

It tramples over many frequencies used by FEMA and Ham Operators. Ick!

How many times do we need the same responses from the same HAM operators to basically the same story?

If you need a hobby, get a CB or something, but the rest of us want our internet.

Similar article here... (-1, Informative)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8373957)

A recent Slashdot article [slashdot.org] covered this topic.

Re:Similar article here... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374013)

Please don't mod this troll up. Check out his posting history.

nazi (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374092)

why cant you accept other points of views that may not be in agreement with you?

Re:Similar article here... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374035)

The Republican party was founded to end slavery, now it is the Dixie party of fucking the poor, middle class, and everyone but millionaires.

I hate fascists and racists so I love liberals.

Competition? (5, Insightful)

PurdueGraphicsMan (722107) | more than 10 years ago | (#8373961)

Could cable and DSL face a new competitor in the broadband market in the near future?

Has there been any information released about the potential costs to the consumers for this service? I haven't heard anything other than Earthlink's $39.95/month (which isn't much cheaper than what I currently pay for cable). The only way cable and DSL will face any competition from BPL is if BPL is cheaper. Why pay for BPL if it's not cheaper or at least offers more bandwidth for the same price as cable or DSL?

Re:Competition? (4, Insightful)

limpdawg (77844) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374014)

One of the proposed uses for the technology is to reach rural areas where DSL and cable don't go. There are a lot of locations where people can only get one or the other type of broadband service and offering a third option will increase competition in places where there isn't any right now for broadband service.

First in the market (4, Insightful)

mekkab (133181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374021)

I assume BPL will take off in areas where cable modem/dsl aren't yet available. This will get the ball rolling. In these areas when Cable and DSL finally get there they will have some difficulty knocking out the incumbent.

THEN- with some success/captial under its belt BPL will eventually start running specials and deals trying to under cut Cable/DSL in areas where those are already available.

Re:Competition? (4, Insightful)

nbvb (32836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374024)

What about if you live somewhere where there's no cable modem service, and you're too far from the CO for DSL?

There's a LOT of areas like that in the US ... :)

(Thank goodness I'm not in one of them!)

Re:Competition? (1)

WeblionX (675030) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374054)

Because there are no cable lines or DSL businesses near a place, but they still have power lines?

Re:Competition? (5, Informative)

RGautier (749908) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374106)

That's not true - DSL service is not available in many older suburban areas, much less rural areas. And cable service has virtually no competition in some of these areas, keeping pricing high. By offering BPL in these areas, cable will finally have competition.

Re:Competition? (2, Insightful)

cK-Gunslinger (443452) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374122)

Yeah, I don't think much *competition* is going to take place between BPL and DSL/Cable. The battle is going to be between BPL and DirectWay et al.

Despite the fact that BPL seems like a generally bad idea, if it is offered in my area, I will still probably jump all over it, as my only options are currently are 33.6 dialup for $10 (whihc I use now) or DirectWay satellite for like $80/month & $400+ in setup fees and equipment cost. Not to mention the lovely FAP. Although, many wireless line-of-sight providers are popping up in the surrounding areas...

Re:Competition? (2)

Kidbro (80868) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374186)

Why pay for BPL if it's not cheaper or at least offers more bandwidth for the same price as cable or DSL?

The only thing keeping me from disconnecting my land line and relying solely on my mobile phone for telephone communication is that my DSL modem is dependant on it. I'd happily switch even if there only was an alternative that costed more, as long as the extra cost would be less than the fixed costs of having a land line.
I'm not sure how the situation is in the US, but here on the other side of the pond I have several friends who would do the same, if they had the option.

Re:Competition? (0)

DOCStoobie (731093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374264)

Yeah, and they just flip a GIANT switch, and it works... you don't think that there are upgrades needed, and backhaul backbone costs, or any other sort of economics that will keep it out of rural areas??.. lets face it, if it isn't cost effective for them to build the system out to timbucktoo, it ain't gonna happen... just because there are power lines, doesn't mean that "poof", you've got broadband....

1st post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8373962)

1st post

Help! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8373964)

I just came home early from school and caught my dad masturbating over pictures of Britney Spears! What should I do?!

Re:Help! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374141)

Lend him a hand, I'm sure he'll lend you one too.

Sound great.... (4, Informative)

DjMd (541962) | more than 10 years ago | (#8373966)

This sounds great I can't see any problems with this... Oh wait yes I do [slashdot.org]

BPLs bad mmkay (0, Redundant)

BigIrv (695710) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374188)

BPLs bad mmkay

oh sure, great... (5, Funny)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 10 years ago | (#8373968)

The only problem with this solution is that when the power goes out you are going to lose your internet access.

=)

E.

stating the obvious (0)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374015)

the vast majority of people who use broadband internet at home dont connect with a battery-powered laptop, so if the power and power-line-broadband-internet go out, so does the electrically powered home computer.

Re:stating the obvious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374057)


*whoosh* ...

Re:stating the obvious (2, Funny)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374094)

*whoosh* ...

What ARE those things flying over my head?

Re:oh sure, great... (1)

Zzootnik (179922) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374027)

Nah-- That's no Problem at all! Just get a UPS!

I Suppose you'll also need a UIS (Uninterruptable Internet Supply) as well...

Re:oh sure, great... (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374145)

wow this would be cool if I could use a ups for internet access in case the power goes out. Broadband of UPS. Then I could just carry a UPS around with my laptop and have complete mobile, although heavy, broadband anywhere in the world.

Re:oh sure, great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374032)

Unlike the modern days, when the power goes off, but you can stay on the Internet for days?

Re:oh sure, great... (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374089)

You're joking, but even a small UPS can keep a DSL modem and WiFi base station going for a very long time; with a spare battery for my powerbook I've had net access through some fairly long blackouts. Of course, trying to power a desktop computer for 8 hours when your power's out requires something a bit more expensive than a small UPS.

Re:oh sure, great... (4, Informative)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374299)

trying to power a desktop computer for 8 hours when your power's out requires something a bit more expensive than a small UPS.


1.) Purchase small ups. Or, get one used from ebay.

2.) Borrow someone's voltmeter.

3.) Open UPS, figure out how much voltage the batteries have (ballpark - if it's 26, it probably means 24, I've never seen a UPS that had a voltage not a multiple of 12, 26 probably means charging voltage).

4.) Unplug batteries. Hook wires up to battery plugs, snake wires outside of UPS.

5.) Purchase 12 volt 135 amp-hour deep-cycle marine batteries (1 per 12 volts of ups battery, obviously). Alternatively, if you don't want to keep distilled water hanging around, go online or to a "battery store" (i.e. batteries plus) and buy sealed lead acid batteries (which probably will cost more for less amp-hours).

6.) Wire up external batteries in series to bring total voltage to standard for UPS.

Congratulations, your 12 amp-hour UPS has just been upgraded to 135 amp-hours. For more power, wire in additional serieses in paralell (not reccomended unless you have a good understanding of charging currents and regulation of power across battery banks).

~Will

Re:oh sure, great... (1)

WeblionX (675030) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374091)

Now they'll have to create Uninteruptable Internet Connections so your UPS doesn't go to waste.

and... (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374285)

Now they'll have to create Uninteruptable Internet Connections so your UPS doesn't go to waste.

...an Uninteruptable Redundant Post Generator (URPS). Someone already posted your joke. You fail it.

hmmm (5, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 10 years ago | (#8373970)

Could cable and DSL face a new competitor in the broadband market in the near future?"

I doubt it.
However, if it decreases the market share, then I hope that will mean good things for all of us, lower rates. And that would be a good thing.

here's hoping... (2)

caino59 (313096) | more than 10 years ago | (#8373974)

"Could cable and DSL face a new competitor in the broadband market in the near future?"

I sure as heck hope so...maybe then we'll see broabdand prices dip a bit here in the US.

Choose your Provider (1)

Heem (448667) | more than 10 years ago | (#8373979)

Hopefully, This technology will allow you to choose your own provider, similar to the way DSL does. I like my cable speeds and am not *THAT* unhappy with the service, but it would be nice to be able to choose some of the providers that offer more advanced services, such as true static IPs, control over forward and reverse DNS, and allowing servers.

Let's hope not... (4, Interesting)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 10 years ago | (#8373984)

Powerlines were not designed to carry RF. It'll bleed all over the spectrum and disrupt radio hams, cell phones, cordless phones, tv remotes and yes all those lovely WiFi and Bluetooth devices.

And surprise surprise the FCC, the regulator, seems to have conveniently ignored these "inconveniences".

See the ARRL web site for more objections and to give your support to their objects.

Edward - Ham: M3EWK.

Re:Let's hope not... (1)

savagedome (742194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374088)

It'll bleed all over the spectrum and disrupt radio hams

This just made my day. Exactly the reason why I come to /.

Who needs Sci-Fi? :) :)

Re:Let's hope not... (1)

kefoo (254567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374121)

The ARRL is here [arrl.org]

Their home page mentions a document the FCC released yesterday that at least acknowledges the interference BPL will cause.

Kevin

Re:Let's hope not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374126)

Powerlines were not designed to carry RF.

And POTS lines were not designed to carry DSL, and coax was not designed to carry ATM, and yet it all still works.

Perhaps the people actually making this work know a few things you don't?

Re:Let's hope not... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374176)

What we need are more very high voltage power lines in my back yard with magnitudes more EMF.

I want to light up a lightbulb without plugging it in.

Re:Let's hope not... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374220)

> It'll bleed all over the spectrum and disrupt radio hams,

Not radio hams!!! My god - just think of the consequences.

I got half way through studying all that, then decided that the internet was a way more powerful, interesting and cheap way of achieving the same thing and so much more.

BPL is vapourware! (3, Interesting)

anonymous coword (615639) | more than 10 years ago | (#8373989)

I keep hearing about this, every few months on slashdot about how "Broadband over Powerlines" are "just around the corner" or trialing! But every time they get cancled due to intererance and practibillity concerns! I wish slashdot would stop posting about it until it is actually being sold in the mainstream!

Re:BPL is vapourware! (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374210)

I first heard about it about 7 or 8 years ago. They actually ran a trial a few miles away from me, but abandoned it because the bandwidth sucked (they could only get ~10mb across it reliably and that had to be shared between all customers... it cost more to run the service than you could possibly get back in online charges).

Re:BPL is vapourware! (1)

at2000 (715252) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374212)

But here in Hong Kong we have been using it for some time. Just no one cares to use the cheaper but slower connection while everyone is having 6+ Mbps via DSL/Ethernet.

Now new and improved vaporware from Enron! (-1, Troll)

F34nor (321515) | more than 10 years ago | (#8373990)

That's right now for only 19.95 a month we will use your capital to finance offshore tax havens for our executives. But wait there's more if your order today we can influence energy policy through cronyism! No guarantees, send money now!

Uptime (3, Insightful)

UncleBiggims (526644) | more than 10 years ago | (#8373991)

Seems like this would be a great thing. How often has your power gone out versus your cable/dsl line. Power companies are uber-dedicated to providing power to their customers 24/7. And when the power is out they are all over it right away... unlike the cable company.

Are you Corn Fed? [ebay.com]

Re:Uptime (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374170)

Well lets see. I've had DSL for 5 years and I had one outage (that I noticed, anyway), which lasted about an hour. In that same time, my power has gone off for more than an hour about 10 times, with the longest being about 30 hours.

I don't have cable or a cable modem, so I can't really judge their reliability, and my ISP is fairly small and very experienced (they only serve Pittsburgh and claim to be the world's 3rd ISP), so they're probably providing better service than the average huge ISP.

In any event, I'm fairly certain that one incompetent company in Ohio can't knock out DSL access to most of the east coast.

Re:Uptime (1)

at2000 (715252) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374233)

There is power != broadband works

Good Lord (3, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374001)

Man, how many slashdot articles can there be about this? It's worse than the "Mozilla browser almost done" articles that kept coming for almost three years.

Re:Good Lord (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374075)

SCO sues $RANDOM for IP infringement

Re:Good Lord (2, Interesting)

Shipwright (175684) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374254)

I am replying to your post over my 26.4 modem connection, 7 miles of copper from the CO. The cable operator in my country is the bankrupt Adelphia, they laugh and hang up when I call about timelines for getting service. Verizon would probably not provide even phone service to the farmers out here unless someone made them. BPL is my only hope for broadband. There cannot be enough articles about it.

Debug (5, Funny)

wpiman (739077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374011)

Self installation kit.... Take the black wire and white wire and stick this meter across the terminals. I wonder how many people will inadventently fry?

Re:Debug (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374180)

Probably an equal number of people who fry themselves plugging in a toaster, alarm clock, or any one of the hundreds of other household devices that plug into an outlet.

Re:Debug (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374213)

Self installation kit.... Take the black wire and white wire and stick this meter across the terminals. I wonder how many people will inadventently fry?

Hopefully Jack Valenti, several people in the RIAA, Darl McBride, the entire Outlook and IIS development teams at Microsoft and Eric Raymond.

Do I get a cookie?

Bring on the mutations! (1)

JMandingo (325160) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374020)

This rocks! Now I will be able to sue my ISP in addition to the power company for that pesky third nipple!!!

creators' newclear power plan available now (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374025)

that's right, this stuff is unbreakable, wwworks on several (more than 3) dimensions, & is sum of the base kode for the creators' increasingly popular planet/population rescue mandate.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators.... the power is already here/yOURs.

Uncapping? (5, Funny)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374036)

I can think of at least one advantage of BPL from the providers' POV. It would definitely discourage uncapping.

jebus h flipping christ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374043)

how many times do i have to read this dupe?

more problems than are good for a new technology (3, Insightful)

theonlyholle (720311) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374044)

The problems that BPL causes are probably more serious than is good for a new technology. The problem of BPL causing a lot of interference with other services using a similar frequency spectrum have caused pretty much all major players who field-tested the technology in Germany to abandon it again. On the other hand, BPL technology is creeping into the airwaves through the backdoor anyway, as there are now more and more home-networking solutions using powerlines.

well (2, Interesting)

CubeHard (661854) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374046)

I have read that BPL has already been tested in other countries, with less than fantastic results. And while it would be able to help outlying areas, they could opt for satellite access, if they really wanted broadband. Also, would this put a strain on the already antiquated power infrastructure in America? But perhaps its implement would cause a slow infrastructure re-haul, as people would depend on the lines for more than just power now.

Ham Operators.... (-1, Troll)

Sentosus (751729) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374047)

Okay, so you say you are valuable during emergency situations, but if the power was out, then there would be no interference with your signals. So you could still be used during emergencies.

Next is that we currently are implementing push-to-talk over GSM and CDMA that would easily remove the need for the emergency bands already used. Same applies as above, when the power it down, your radios will work again.

There are environmental advantages to this in that we can have less cables stretched all over the US saving in wire costs and insulation materials.

Lets just accept that we are going to have to step on toes to make this happen. How much are you valuing your ability to use a radio over the ability of a rural community to have Internet access for their children, education, and entertainment?

I pray that we get this implemented as fast as possible so those outside the 6 miles of the CO in my down can experience watching streaming Al Jezerri television on their computer like I do.

Re:Ham Operators.... (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374230)

Except, well, people need *practice*. And equipment needs to be *purchased* and *maintained*. Would you buy the latest gaming PC (or Mac) (the investment is similar), only to find that you are allowed to use it, say, the first weekend of a leap year?

Oh, BTW, low-frequency signals easily traverse the globe. A localized blackout like August 2003 may still result in communications failure because of interference from the other end of the country (where there *is* power).

And let's not forget everyone *ELSE* in the HF bands - we've got military, aviation (HF is the only way to communicate long distances), marine, broadcast (SW especially), CB, RC, cordless phones, etc. who use it for its special properties. Sure we can all switch to satellite, but are you willing to shell out the increased costs for satellite equipment in everything you do (taxes, shipping costs, tickets, imported goods...)? (As if we need *another* reason for companies to jack prices up!)

OTOH, it does make spying on internet traffic easier - sniff passwords 3000 miles away! Or someone will find a way to do BPL wardriving (imagine that... hitching internet service from someone in the next state! Though, this would lead to more spam...) Damn I'm conflicted.

(Then there is the fact that HAM radio is a regulated service, and BPL is unregulated.)

Re:Ham Operators.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374269)

Okay, so you say you are valuable during emergency situations, but if the power was out, then there would be no interference with your signals. So you could still be used during emergencies.


And the people receiving your signal are... Hopefully not in an area with BPL?

Because the power companies ... (2, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374050)

have got the maintenance of their lines down to a science. They've got all this slack time and it's not like the power lines are unduly taxed, stressed, in risk of imminent collapse. That's so ...2003.

the swiss have it already (0)

nasogrumy (306555) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374060)

saw it in a country fair lately in payerne switzerland :)

First thing I'll do when I get Powerline BB.. (5, Funny)

Fr05t (69968) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374070)

.. is play Duke Nukem Forever on my Phantom gaming console. I've heard this same thing so many times I have lost hope - especially since anyone that I talked to at my local power provider said they either never heard of it or don't care.

Broadband Over Power Lines: Coming Soon? (4, Funny)

hendridm (302246) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374076)

Is it that time of the year already? Wow, I guess it as been awhile since our last BPL-to-the-masses announcement. Maybe this year it will dethrone DNF for the #1 vaporware spot.

Fry my brains thank you (1)

segment (695309) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374082)


BPL has already been rejected in Japan and Austria, yet the PRO BPL lobby seem never to stop and in fact don't seem to care if it causes massive interference to HF as they view it as "OLD" technology. Well all you Pro BPL lobbyists out there, what will happen when the Satellite Network is knocked out by a meteor storm or severe solar storm, what will happen when the Internet is so full of Spam, Pirated Software (Warez), Pirated DVD's and CD's, Pornography, and streaming Audio and Video that the Net slows down to a crawl and an email takes longer than a conventional written letter to get to its destination. I''ll tell you what will happen, HF will be needed to get world-wide communications back on track quickly. The people who propose BPL have no idea about HF, don't care about HF and think Drake is a duck, Kenwood make toasters and Sony only makes MP3 players with Heavy Double Bass Boost... Stop BPL over Power Lines Information Page [ihug.com.au]
Shit if I wasn't running off to work I would ramble on as I always do...

Re:Fry my brains thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374157)

what will happen when the Internet is so full of Spam, Pirated Software (Warez), Pirated DVD's and CD's, Pornography, and streaming Audio and Video

Isn't that the list of reasons why people bought broadband in the first place?

what will happen when the Satellite Network is knocked out by a meteor storm

I'm sure Anakin will be able to dodge the meteors with the help of his trusty astro-droid sidekick.

and Satalite (-1, Redundant)

TheDanMan (738081) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374085)

I can't wait, then I'll be able to drop this stupid satalite internet subscription with the incredibly low 4 hours 169mb limit imposed on me. I wouldn't care but, I get disconnected so whatever I'm downloading gets killed and I have to start over again.

Switzerland (2, Informative)

roady (30728) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374086)

We have had Powerline Communications (PLC) [eefpowernet.ch] in Switzerland since 2001 already.
Sorry, the link is in French or German only.

Interference (1)

Merlisk (450712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374095)

Now all those lonely cybergeeks will have to decide if they want to download p0rn or plug in the 'toys'. The inhumanity!

My power company has trouble delivering power... (5, Insightful)

malchus842 (741252) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374096)

and now the suggestion is for them to carry internet service? I see a number of issues here, not the least of which are:
  • Who pays to install the infrastructure? If it's the rate-payers, this will be a non-starter.
  • Who pays for the hardware at the customer end?
  • Why does the FCC seem to ignore the frequency problems?
So, the proposal is to have mega-monopolies managing more infrastructure, delivering service that's not in their core area, and requiring huge infrastructre changes?

Hmm. Why does this look bad? Especialy when the local power company has a horrible reputation for maintaining their existing power infrastructure. I think I'll pass on this one.

First networking, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374101)

First networking over power lines, what next, power?

Transformers are still a problem.... (4, Interesting)

CodeGorilla (691535) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374107)

How does the BPL handle connectivity around the transformers? Either they are using an RF bypass, or they are using a fiber bypass. Then comes the issue of maintenance. The RF units should be easier and cheaper to maintain, but they have durability issues compared to fiber. On the other hand, fiber bypasses are more expensive to install and maintain, but once in place, they should be more durable than the RF counterparts.

Moreover, I *STILL* haven't seen specs for BPL which make it fiscally viable except for rural communities where cable/DSL/wireless have not yet penetrated.

How sad (1, Funny)

jkabbe (631234) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374108)

Enron must be rolling over in its grave!

Not again... (1, Funny)

GoMMiX (748510) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374111)

It's coming...

It's not...........

It's coming..............

It's not...............

It's coming........we think.........

No wait, nevermind - it's not...

Hey, when it's here - gimme a call!

I can't wait to get BB over PL (4, Funny)

Kufat (563166) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374113)

So I can download that Duke Nukem Forever ISO. They should be coming out at about the same time, I think.

Already here (5, Informative)

PrionPryon (733902) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374117)

The city of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario already has a functioning system as discussed in this article [thestar.com] .

Re:Already here (4, Informative)

TheSync (5291) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374168)

This is interesting: "Wyant is quick to point out PUC won't be using power lines to deliver Internet access directly into the home. Instead, the company is installing wireless access points along its medium-voltage lines in densely populated residential areas."

Another day...... (0, Redundant)

Lurker McLurker (730170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374120)

Another broadband over power lines story on slashdot.

Competition? (-1, Redundant)

anonymous coword (615639) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374127)

Could cable and DSL face a new competitor in the broadband market in the near future?

Has there been any information released about the potential costs to the consumers for this service? I haven't heard anything other than Earthlink's $39.95/month (which isn't much cheaper than what I currently pay for cable). The only way cable and DSL will face any competition from BPL is if BPL is cheaper. Why pay for BPL if it's not cheaper or at least offers more bandwidth for the same price as cable or DSL?

BPL not shielded (4, Insightful)

d4rkmoon (749223) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374155)

Yeah, it does trample HAMs and other FEMA frequencies. It doesn't help that they don't shield the wires from RF, so basically if there's any transmission across it, it blasts anyone for miles. Pretty stupid if you ask me. Now if they bothered to shield the wiring (likely event), then it might be worthwhile to consider. Unfortunately, that would never happen. Not really a practical solution.

Already running in Hong Kong (5, Informative)

xstein (578798) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374161)

Hutchison Global Communications, a Hong Kong based telecommunications company and ISP, has been offering broadband internet access [hgc.com.hk] to Hong Kong residents over their power lines for over a year now [cnet.com] .

At downstream bandwidth upwards of 1.5mbits (and infrastructure to cater to upgrades of up to 10mbits) and at a cost of less than US$18/month, the service has been quite successful thus far, and as a subscriber, I cannot recall a single outage due to problems with the power lines (and not trouble at their network centres or regularly scheduled maintenance operations).

Potential for Snooping (Breaking DES) (3, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374166)

Since BPL tramples on other RF applications, it suggests that one could sniff the packets. It looks like the adapters (like this one [buy.com] ) do use encryption, but it is only 56-bit DES. Given that these connections are always-on, I wonder how long it would take to accumulate enough data to break the code. And if you know the email address of the victim, could one send a structured email that helps uncover the key?

Though... (5, Interesting)

RedShoeRider (658314) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374178)

...line spikes are a pretty common problem in most of the country (or at least out in the woods where I am), and must run a UPS or line supressor on everything that I value that's plugged into a wall. Assuming that I had a broadband over powerline modem, it would need the wall outlet for both power and for signal. That's a given.

So say I put one of my UPS's on the line (such as a TrippLite w/ISOBAR, which are really great for line noise supression)...does that mean my signal gets filtered out? So I have to leave the line unsupressed, and everytime we have a lightning strike in the area (at least 3-4 times a year), I'm calling the electric company to cmoe replace another fried modem? Do I have to purchase a special ($$$$) supressor from the electric company that has a bandgap filter just for that frequency?

Seems as if there are too many variables once you are inside the house, nevermind the problems with Ham bands, Bluetooth, etc.

Competition? (1)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374211)

Could cable and DSL face a new competitor in the broadband market in the near future?

Sure. As long as it's not going to cost me $50+/mo and doesn't require a contract.

Now, if it comes out in my market and costs considerable less than RoadRunner, I'll switch.

That is, unless TXU (my electric provider) then becomes my ISP as well. Why would I switch from RR's shitty customer service to TXUs shitty customer service? Would a price drop be worth dealing with a whole new set of morons?

I say stop waiting for it (5, Interesting)

Skrekkur (739061) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374221)

I dont understand what the fuzz is about, around broadband over powerlines. It has been in use here in iceland for quite the while now, and my experience of it, is that its laggy (around 500 ms) and the speed is rather unstable, since its based on how many are using it at the moment. I admit its rather cool to connect your modem into a powersocket instead of a phonesocket but its not much more than that, here at least adsl 1,5 mbit is cheaper, and faster, the only thing power has over that is it uploads as fast as it downloads.

Wireless version available? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8374238)

Will it work with WiFi?

Awesome (from article) (2, Funny)

DjMd (541962) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374259)

The venture set up a test in Manchester, England, but soon discovered a snag in its technology: Neighboring lampposts were picking up data signals and rebroadcasting them as radio waves.

Coming soon to a lamppost near you, pr0n.

http://hot-action.lamppostpr0n.elec/

costs droppings? (1)

ElectricMayhem (592404) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374278)

costs droppings

I realized that power lines were associated with bird droppings, but now they are associated with costs droppings as well. Hmm... Just another thing to wash off the cars I guess.

-g

Obvious question.. (1)

ProtonMotiveForce (267027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8374282)

With all the ranting about HAM operators, why has no one asked the obvious question - what's the bandwidth going to typically be?
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