AT&T DSL & MAIL WOES

AT&T has a special place in my heart.

One of my clients is a small business with its own domain name and several users receiving POP3 mail addressed to that domain name – gertrude@businessname.com, for example.

The business has an AT&T DSL line.

A couple of months ago, they started having trouble sending mail – AT&T’s SMTP server refused to take outgoing messages from Outlook. […] continued

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FREE PUBLIC WI-FI!

If you have a wireless notebook, there’s yet another way the bad guys can get past your defenses.

When you connect to a wireless access point, normally you’re in “infrastructure” mode. Network traffic to all the computers using the wireless network passes through a wireless access point. In a public place – an airport or hotel, say – you can reasonably hope the access point has some built-in security to keep each connected computer separated from each other. […] continued

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AT&T: PROUD TO BE STUPID

Jim Cicconi, vice president of legislative affairs for AT&T, made some extraordinarily stupid comments in London this week.

ISPs are doing a full-court press to ensure they can shape our Internet traffic to maximize their revenue. They want to do deals with media companies for preferred delivery of certain web services, or charge you for “excessive” use of your connection – basically converting your Internet connection into something more like your cable television service where your choices are restricted and metered. […] continued

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COMCAST OUTAGES

I have a bit of downtime while I wait for my Comcast connection to come back to life. It was out Sunday for an hour or so, which might (or might not) have been a side effect of this major East Coast weekend outage. This morning it went down at about 11am and hasn’t come back yet. […] continued

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NET NEUTRALITY EXPLAINED

At its heart, “net neutrality” involves a simple question: Should your Internet provider have any control over how you use your Internet connection? You’re accustomed to being able to reach any Internet site freely and you assume you can run any kind of program that uses an online connection. AT&T and Comcast and the rest don’t necessarily agree. […] continued

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SONIC & SATELLITE SERVICE

Sonoma County’s broadband coverage is spotty. Comcast and AT&T are not doing anything to expand cable and DSL service to new areas. There are too many areas with no good options. Random examples: most rural areas in West County; anywhere more than a mile or two from downtown Petaluma or Healdsburg; odd holes near Santa Rosa (Old Redwood Highway north of Fountain Grove, Cleveland Avenue north of Coddingtown); and many more. […] continued

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BITTORRENT & BAGGAGE NEUTRALITY

Advocates of “network neutrality” have trouble conveying the real world implications of an arcane-sounding technical issue. Two items in the news help illustrate why it’s an issue to fight about.

“Network neutrality” is the underlying principle of the Internet as we know it – generally, the idea that all bits of data are treated equally, unaffected by the various companies involved in carrying the traffic from one place or another. […] continued

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COMCAST PUTS ON THE BRAKES

The press occasionally notices that Comcast limits the amount of bandwidth that a cable subscriber is allowed to use. The Washington Post just published an article about the Comcast bandwidth caps.

The idea is that a handful of people download a huge amount of data constantly (typically movies and TV shows) and demand an unfair amount of Comcast’s available capacity. […] continued

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SONIC OPEN WIFI PROJECT

Sonic is demonstrating again that it has its heart in the right place.

Now that Earthlink has officially killed its plan to deliver free wireless Internet access to San Francisco, Sonic has stepped up with a more modest plan for the city of San Francisco and downtown Santa Rosa. Here’s Sonic’s page about the Open WiFi Project. […] continued

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SF FREE WIRELESS, R.I.P.

In January, Google and Earthlink signed a contract to set up free high-speed wireless Internet access for the entire city of San Francisco. The deal provided that EarthLink would pay the city $2 million for the right to build, install and run a free Wi-Fi network that would be supported through advertising from Google; Earthlink would also offer a paid subscription that would offer higher speeds and fewer advertisements. […] continued

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REDUNDANCY IS OUR FRIEND, AND SO IS REDUNDANCY

Very small businesses frequently depend on computer systems with several potential failure points, where a single failure can cause the network to go down for an uncomfortable length of time.

  • Many small businesses – many of my clients – depend on a single server to hold files and run the company e-mail system.
[…] continued Read more

WIRELESS HEADACHES

The Wall Street Journal wrote an article last month about wireless networks, expressing a sentiment many of you have probably felt – namely, they’re a pain in the neck. It doesn’t help that the vocabulary has gotten muddled. There are now four basic types of networks covered by the term “wireless”:

  • 802.11g Wi-Fi, wireless networks covering small areas.
[…] continued Read more

GOOGLE AND WIRELESS BROADBAND

In 2009, new frequencies will become available in the US for handling voice and data. The frequencies are currently being used for analog television, but the FCC decided years ago that analog television would no longer be supported after 2009; the frequencies are being reclaimed and resold in an FCC auction. […] continued

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VERIZON BROADBAND FOR THE HOME

Broadband coverage is stalled. If you don’t have access already to DSL service or cable Internet service, there’s no reason to think it will be available tomorrow, or next year, or ever. Paul Krugman recently summarized the statistics – broadband coverage in the US lags far behind many other parts of the world, and broadband speeds are frequently less than those readily available in much of Europe and Asia. […] continued

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THE FUTURE OF SONIC

Sonic.net, everyone’s favorite Internet service provider, faces an uncertain future.

AT&T has been working for many years to undo the 1984 telco breakup and once again have the advantages of a monopoly. It has bankrupted many competitors with unfair business practices and it has aggressively worked the legislative and regulatory processes to get the rules changed in its favor. […] continued

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