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Bill St. Arnaud is a consultant and research engineer who works with clients around the world on a variety of subjects such as next generation Internet networks and developing practical solutions to reduce CO2 emissions such as free broadband and dynamic charging of eVehicles. He is an author of many papers and articles on these topics and is a frequent guest speaker. For more details on my research interests see

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Must read - radically new data transfer protocol - SNDTP

From International Science Grid Week

The snail-based system in feed-forward action. Image courtesy Herbert Bishko. Photo on front page courtesy Lysanne Ooteman, stock.exchng
If you think you have problems with the sometimes slow pace at which information travels from one computer to another, then consider the solution offered by this scientific paper: “Snail-based Data Transfer Protocol.”
It describes an experiment in data transfer using real, genuine, live snails, along with a “lettuce-based guidance system.”

No lie.

The papers’ authors, Shimon Schocken, dean of Efi Arazi School of Computer Science Herzliya, and Revital Ben-David-Zaslow of the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University, Israel, reported that their experiment delivered a 37 million bits-per-second data transfer rate — faster than ADSL.

The paper does admit to a drawback: “In some regions, most notably France, culinary habits may pose a denial-of-service (DOS) problem.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Economic Benefits of Broadband in age of peak oil and cap and trade

[A very good comprehensive analysis of economic benefits of broadband. I would also argue that broadband is going to more critical to our future economy as we enter age of peak oil and cap and trade. As the famous economist Jeff Rubin argues the end of the age of global trade is coming to end. Only virtual products and services on broadband networks will be able to transcend this new economic transition– BSA],%20SPRING%202009,%2018%20MEDIA%20L.%20&%20POL%E2%80%99Y.pdf

Source: USTelecom
New USTelecom analysis reveals that the broadband-fueled Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) industries far outpace all other sectors in contributions to U.S. economic growth and provide among the highest-earning, fastest-growing jobs in the country. The analysis, “The Economic Benefits of Broadband & Information Technology,” was published in the latest edition of New York Law School’s Media Law & Policy journal.

The converging sectors of broadband, media and information technology add nearly $900 billion annually to the nation’s economy and are expanding at a rate that is two to five times faster than the overall U.S. economy. The USTelecom analysis also points out that jobs in the broadband/ICT sector pay 50% more than the hourly national average, and broadband-enabled jobs are projected to remain among the leading high-growth areas for at least the next 10 years.

Based on our analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics, there were more than 10 million broadband/ICT jobs in 2007, with 5.7 million in ICT industries such as broadband service providers, content producers and equipment manufacturers. Additionally, the data shows 4.4 million ICT-centric jobs in industries outside of the ICT sector (e.g., network administrators in schools and hospitals). And, these employment tallies do not count the many more jobs made possible by broadband as an enabling technology—for example, self-employed rural Americans working from home over the high-speed Internet.

Mr. Rubin has taken his long-standing forecast that inevitably declining production and rising demand will send oil prices inexorably higher - over $200 (U.S.) a barrel by 2012 or earlier, just for a start - and imagines how the world will have to change to adjust to such a reality.

“ I think, ironically, it's going to be a return to the past ... in terms of the re-emergence of local economies. ”— Jeff Rubin

Like many oil crisis prophets, Mr. Rubin is a disciple of "peak oil" theory - the concept that world oil production is near its peak, and is destined to a long, slow decline, as existing low-cost oil fields dry up and new supplies become harder and more expensive to unlock.

But unlike many previous peak oil books, which typically don't get much past "we're in big trouble," Mr. Rubin's conclusions are refreshingly optimistic. His world of the oil-starved future, at least for Western societies, looks a lot like the bygone years of our fond memory, where people work and vacation nearer to home, eat locally grown foods and buy locally produced goods, and suburban sprawl is replaced by revitalized cities.

"I think it will really restructure the economy in ways that people haven't even begun to imagine," he said. "But I think, ironically, it's going to be a return to the past ... in terms of the re-emergence of local economies."
Indeed, the book's title is derived from this central argument - that expensive fuel will force a reversal of globalization, as long-distance trade becomes increasingly expensive and impractical. The only alternative may be a relentless cycle of economic shocks triggered by oil price surges.

"Chances are, we're going to bang our head on this oil constraint very soon in an economic recovery, unless certain things change. And I don't think we're going to have to wait five years to test that Rubin hypothesis. I think in the next six to 12 months you're going to see that," he said.

"There's a lot of historical context to suggest that we can change, that things have evolved in response to economic signals," he said. "But in order to change ... we're going to have to rearrange a whole lot more things than perhaps we recognize."

Moving to IPv4 address market trading - critical role for R&E networks?

[There are several excellent articles in this month’s issue of The Internet Protocol Journal. Of particular note is the article by Niall Murphy of Google and David Wilson of HEAnet (Irish R&E network) on the issues and challenges of moving to a white market for the trading of IPv4 address space. There is growing recognition that may not be enough time or market momentum to move to IPv6. Some also argue that the new common bearer service is HTTP and that URI endpoints and routing instead of IPv6 addresses provides a lot more flexibility in terms of network architecture. Companies like SolaceSystems already build URI/XML routers. As such, at least as an interim strategy, the RIRs may need to institute some sort of market trading of IPv4 addresses. This will have major significance for university and research institutes as they hold the largest number of unallocated and unused address blocks in the world. As the article points out without a carefully planned market trading system, fragmentation of the routing tables could grow significantly. R&E networks could play a critical role working with RIRs in ensuring route aggregation without violating PI address space. And as R&E networks expand into peering and transit services they might be able to offer aggregation of routes to a larger community outside of academia. All this points to a future where R&E networks may have to play a critical national coordination role for both academia and the global Internet community, especially as we see demands for community networks and the science community to deliver citizen science services. For example R&E networks could assign address sub blocks from a local university to a local community that is committed to building an open infrastructure network or transit exchange. This would maintain route aggregation and yet allow for use of unallocated address space –BSA]

Other excellent must read articles in this months issue are Resource Certification by Geoff Huston and Host Identity Protocol: Identifier/Locator Split by Andrei Gurtov and Miika Komu