Rob Pegoraro

Coronavirus crunch may expose weakness in your broadband plan: much slower upload speeds

Binge-watching in high-def isn’t an act of irresponsibility in a moment of crisis. “The internet as a whole is fine,” agrees Doug Suttles, CEO of the bandwidth-measurement firm Ookla. “It can handle a ton.”  Coronavirus-induced traffic during the day still doesn’t exceed the nightly peaks your internet provider should have already designed its systems around.

Why ‘rural broadband’ may no longer be an oxymoron

Traditionally, the story of rural broadband in America has ended with a two-letter word: no. No, the local cable or phone monopoly isn’t going to extend service to this county or that town.

Your internet provider knows where you've been. How to keep your browsing more private

If you use Firefox, your web browsing habits will become a bit more mysterious to your internet provider. Mozilla, the non-profit developer of the Firefox web browser, will make this happen by switching US desktop Firefox users to an encrypted form of the directory assistance behind all internet navigation. This change involves the Domain Name Service, which lets you get anywhere online by translating your request for a site into the numeric Internet Protocol, or IP, address matching the computer that will deliver the web page in question.

5G’s rollout is confusing, uneven, and rife with problems

2020 looks like it will be your year to get 5G—but only in the sense of having that signal on your phone, not in the sense of knowing quite what it’s supposed to be or using it to its full potential. A new report from the network analysis firm Opensignal advises that while this revamp of mobile broadband is poised to reach far more of the US, it will do so in ways that may leave both carriers and their customers feeling some wireless whiplash.

Can 5G replace everybody’s home broadband?

When it comes to the possibility of home broadband competition, we want to believe. And in the case of 5G mobile broadband, wireless carriers want us to believe, too. But whether or not technological and commercial realities will reward that faith remains unclear.

5G won’t change everything, or at least probably not your things

The long-touted fifth generation (5G) of wireless communications is not magic. We’re sorry if unending hype over the world-changing possibilities of 5G has led you to expect otherwise.

5G is going to save journalism! Maybe! (Don’t hold your breath)

On Nov 20, AT&T announced a partnership with the Washington Post to weave 5G technology into the paper’s reporting operations. "Teams at both companies will experiment with new formats and see what immersive journalism can do better as the world is increasingly connected to 5G," AT&T said.  “The Post plans to experiment with reporters using millimeter wave 5G+ technology to transmit their stories, photos and videos faster and more reliably," the newspaper said.

AT&T’s latest smartphone plans offer new ways to limit 'unlimited' data

AT&T, the latest to retire old mostly-unlimited plans, did so only 20 months after the June 2018 introduction of its previous offers. The new ones – announced days before the Federal Trade Commission fined AT&T $60 million for not disclosing speed limits on plans sold five years ago as unlimited – require factoring in the same three variables as the other nationwide carriers’ unlimited-ish deals.

OneWeb wants to blanket the planet in high-speed satellite broadband

OneWeb is talking a big game in satellite-delivered internet access—almost the size of this planet, to be more precise. OneWeb plans to surpass existing satellite-broadband firms by flying below them and in vastly larger numbers. Instead of rocketing a few large satellites all the way to geostationary Earth orbit (GEO)—22,236 miles up, at which point the satellite’s orbital period keeps it locked above one point on the equator—the company will launch hundreds of satellites in much lower orbits.

Vint Cerf, a ‘father of the internet’, still isn’t completely sold on 5G

A Q&A with Vint Cerf. 

First question, 5G as a broadband alternative for homes and businesses. You sounded a little down on that.

It’s only because I’m worried about 6 gigahertz versus 28 gigahertz. The studies that have been done from the DoD show the 28 gigahertz is very costly, still requires a great deal of fiber interconnect, and might put us in a poor competitive position with regard to serving the rest of the world.