The (not so) Wonderful World of High-Speed Internet Access
The idea seemed simple enough: I wanted to get a high-speed Internet connection at home, preferably using DSL (digital subscriber line). Thinking a quick phone call and a few hundred bucks in connection/installation fees would do the trick, I found instead that the business is still in its infancy and mired in a not-so-nice competition between telephone companies (telcos), DSL providers, cable providers and ISPs. There is a lot of money to be made and monopoly theories already abound. These have brought in the FCC, special-interest groups and others. It really is a mess. This is cutting-edge technology that may soon connect a majority of computer users to the Internet, and yet again, big businesses are too concerned with private interests. Legal wrangling will continue to delay the expansion of service and lead to much frustration for those waiting.
When I began to research alternatives for high-speed access, I felt DSL service was the best solution. We use it here at Linux Journal and the speed of the connection is wonderful. For no particular reason, I had a negative opinion toward a similar service offered through cable companies. I was surprised by what I found. As it turns out, cable has advanced quite a bit more than DSL service—there are over two million subscribers to cable, and only some 500,000 to DSL services nationwide (www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/ctg704.htm). Both DSL service and cable are viable options.
DSL is technology that uses ordinary copper phone wires to transmit high-bandwidth information to homes and small businesses. Your phone company receives information in analog and digital form. Digital information is converted to analog (voice) information and sent to your computer. Your modem converts the analog information back to digital. With DSL technology, the phone company can send digital information directly to your computer as digital data (you need a DSL modem, actually, a router), which allows for a more efficient use of bandwidth. Most importantly, the signals are separated, allowing you to talk on the phone and surf the Web at the same time.
The main advantages of DSL are speed and always-on Internet access. Having used DSL service here at work, I no longer have the patience for “old” dial-up modems. On Whatis.com, I found the statement “Using DSL, up to 6.1 megabits per second of data can be sent downstream and up to 640Kbps upstream.” This will dramatically improve the speed of your Internet connection—as much as 25 times faster than a 56k modem, according to US West—and without all the horrible squeaks and scratches of a modem. With a DSL line, you can quietly and quickly zip through the Internet, download images or just surf at your leisure.
The service I could afford would provide a 384Kbps downstream connection and a 128Kbps upstream connection. This is called ADSL (asymmetric), since different speeds are used for the downstream connection (the data sent to the user) and the upstream connection (the user requests). Requesting data uses little bandwidth, but the transmission of video, audio and 3-D images requires more. Splitting bandwidth in this manner allows for a small portion of the downstream connection to be used for phone conversations. Imagine being able to talk on the phone to a friend while checking out the same web site, or sending a fax without having to disconnect from the Net!
On average, DSL service runs between $30 and $60 per month. The initial installation and activation fees can be $300 or more, but special offers abound. The service I chose will cost $60 per month and has an eight-week waiting period before installation. As far as hardware is concerned, I need a router and an Ethernet card. You can spend close to $250 on a router and another $50 for the Ethernet card. If you are technically inclined, handling the installation of the router and Ethernet card yourself can save you as much as $200. The router or “DSL modem” runs about $250, but again, rebates and special offers seem common. My initial fees after all the rebates, etc. would be around $250, which seems reasonable.
Frustration comes from having to pay $60 per month. Our Editor in Chief, Marjorie Richardson, lives a mere 20 blocks from me, but falls within US West coverage. She pays $30 per month, and US West supplied the router and Ethernet card (initial fee $140). I pay more because I am not within US West coverage, and therefore subscribe through the competition. I would go through Covad Communications, who leases the lines from US West. Then Covad recommends an ISP (oz.net), and I get a headache—three companies to deal with! This is very common and leads to customer service problems. If I have a problem with my service, I would first call my ISP who might say the problem is with the DSL provider (in my case, Covad), who might then point a finger at US West in an endless round of blame-placing, rather than trying to find a solution.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- Rogue Wave Software's Zend Server
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide