vrijdag 13 februari 2009

Broadband usages

This post took ages to get finalised, it has been a work in progress since the conference. Maybe I also blogged a bit to much the first few days... In this post I will explain how we used the broadband connection at the FTTH conference and also how I use my broadband connection at home.


We used the PlayStation 3 to demonstrate the online capabilities of modern game consoles. Console gaming has become very popular over the last years with the introduction of the Wii, XBox 360 and PlayStation 3. These consoles offer more features than only gaming.

A lot of features benefit from a good broadband connection. It were these features we concentrated on:
  • Online gaming
  • Buying and downloading games
  • Downloading demo versions of games
  • Video and game trailers
  • Web browsing
  • Chatting
  • Online community
  • ...
These applications have different requirements on the network. Some require high bandwitdh while others require lower bandwitdh but very low delays.

The same or similar options are available on PC and we also demonstrated some of them.

We all love entertainment and multimedia. Websites such as Youtube, Flickr, LastFM, ... demonstrate that multimedia is an important part of internet usage.

Services such as Youtube are not only being used for entertainment but also as alternative media channel (instead of tv, newspapers, radio,...).

An interesting example: a young relative of mine uses Youtube for tasks that I would use good old Google for. I discovered this when we were configuring something. My initial reaction was to look the instructions up on Google, but he went to Youtube, entered the same search phrase and got instructions in video instead of text. For him this was the most normal thing in the world, why look up text and pictures if you can watch somebody do it? He uses Youtube all the time to look stuff up. I was stunned by this.
Ofcourse he also uses Youtube for entertainment ;-)

I think this example demonstrates that multimedia is an important use case for broadband connections. The importance will keep groing with every new generation of broadband user.

E-mail is part of daily life, but it isn't the only technology being used to communicate. Instant messaging, audio or video calls, social networking sites or weblogs are just a few other examples.

During the conference, and also at home, we used all these different technologies. Our IM applications were running all the time, mails were checked often, social networking sites often open and I was updating this blog whenever I had the time.

As you probably noticed, this blog contains stories, pictures and video about the trip and conference. Most content was uploaded during the conference. This was a good and easy way to communicate about this trip to my friends and family.

I use my Internet connection daily for university related tasks. Almost all course material is made available online, tasks can be obtained and turned in online and pretty much everything else related to my university is available online. I have also heard about courses where video files of classes or extra material are made available.

Also during exams and in a lesser degree during the year, my mailboxes get flooded with discussions about our courses. Questions about how to solve something, insights into the theory, ... A lot of discussion takes place. We could do this by coming together, but the Internet offers us more options because not everyone studies in Ghent, everybody has their ideal study environment or time, ... The Internet offers us various ways to collaborate: e-mail, instant messaging or forums are examples I use a lot.

Social networking
Social networking sites are very popular at the moment. Sites like Facebook and Netlog are good examples. I am not the biggest fan of them, but they are sometimes fun and are a good way to get back in touch with people.

Napster, Kazaa, Bittorrent, ... we all know some or all of these. They are all P2P technologies and are used a lot to download (illegally) music, video or software, but this doesn't have to be the case. They can be used to share all kinds of information. A good example are Linux distributions that are available through bittorrent.

Downloading software
A lot of software is available on the Internet. Especially if you use Free and Open Source software, the Internet is your main source of software. I have a couple of Linux systems, and the software and updates on them are all retrieved from the internet. Updating and installing software is something I do very often. The first thing we did when we arrived at the conference was set up our PC's with our favorite software: Firefox, Safari, iTunes, VLC, OpenOffice, ...

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