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Let's talk about Verizon's 80Gbps in South African terms

SA ADSL Speed.jpg

Let’s dream for a minute – even if the dream is based on a future reality from a country with an already established and stable internet structure…

US company Verizon recently announced that it had completed a series of field tests for a new ‘super-fast fibre optic technology’ which will (“in the future”) allow connectivity speeds between 10Gbps to 80Gbps.

These speeds are achieved by a using an optical line terminal (OLT) that is capable of generating four wavelengths of light. Each of these wavelengths is able to transmit at 10Gbps down and 2.5Gbps up, which is obviously mind-bogglingly fast.

Now before you all go running around screaming excitedly about how there will be no gaming LAG, how in the blink of an eye your ‘downloads’ will be done and how watching multiple streams will be possible – all at the same time – let’s slow things down a little. Almost literally.

In South African Terms…

Let’s be fair, for most South Africans, a stable 10Mbps (up and down) would be a dream in itself. There are regularly complaints of unstable and snail-paced connections even at 4Mbps ADSL, but to achieve the speeds that Verizon achieved, there are needs that the South African infrastructure just would not be capable of until the hardware catches up with the internet.

Even if the 10Gbps speed is achieved (one day) in South Africa there is still no guarantee that latency will magically disappear when playing multiplayer. Latency will only disappear (or reduce at least) if the servers were brought quite a lot closer to the south of Africa.

And speaking of servers, even those will not currently be capable of handling internet speeds like that. Hard drives run at only 700Mbps and most commercial network cards can’t handle speeds above 100/1000Mbps, while your Wi-Fi is limited to 300Mbps, meaning you will be needing some nice new hardware before getting the best of the speeds available to you. Obviously the hardware won’t come cheap, as the product is aimed squarely at businesses first – businesses who are likely to already have fibre-capable and almost ISP level hardware.

It’s all about the Streaming

Verizon appears to be preparing for the shift to 4K video streaming which is again something that in South Africa is a bit of a dream. The average South African already struggles to enjoy a stream without buffering, while those actually on the other side of the stream – the streamers themselves – are running most streams below HD already.

South African Call of Duty shoutcaster, Nick Holden aka HoldenZA, currently runs with a 2Mbps upload speed for streams on Twitch. Obviously while the 2.5Gbps upload mooted by Verizon is not on the cards in South Africa for the foreseeable future it will be of most benefit to local internet broadcasters.

“Streaming quality is largely determined by upload speed, the higher the speed the better quality of video you can broadcast. With a 2.5 gig upload speed, you will never need to be concerned about having a sub quality stream again.”

The bottom line

I don’t think we can expect to see anything close to these speeds in our homes in the very near future, and even when it arrives, the high cost will be the factor that determines only a select few will be able to afford it.

For now, there probably isn’t a South African reader that wouldn’t be happy to have fibre running at 10Mbps at their home. And that is really the South African version of the dream.

Source: Engadget
Thanks to Ryno ‘SonZ’ Warwick for input with this article.

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