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10G Networks Promise Millisecond Latency

Now that Apple and Samsung have brought 5G to the masses with their recent release of new phones, it's time to look past what has long been called a game-changing technology to what's next — 10G. A new report on 10G networks laid out the economic benefits, including "the emergence of more secure, lower latency broadband connections with dramatically faster speeds that eventually will be capable of delivering near symmetrical download and upload speeds of up to 10 Gbps."

Announced in January 2019 by the broadband industry, 10G offers the promise of delivering 10 times the current most prevalent maximum speeds offered to consumers. In August, according to Speedtest's Global Index, Americans had an average download speed of 157 megabits per second and an upload speed of 59 Mbps on fixed broadband. The average for mobile networks download was 45 Mbps and upload was 10 Mbps. 10G also comes with a latency of 1 millisecond, compared to the current peak average of 17ms for fixed broadband. That level of latency is "critical," the report noted, for applications in the Internet of Things and ehealth, categories of technology where "timeliness is important."

How will the world get there? By extending the use of fiber. As the report noted, "the deeper fiber is deployed in the cable network," the lower the number of households supported by the cable side of the network set-up, thereby increasing the capacity available to each user. For their part cable operators will need to install additional equipment and upgrade other gear to achieve more capacity on the fiber link, and customers will need to run new set-top boxes or adapters to get the new speeds.

The report lays out an argument for how the increase in fixed bandwidth will benefit national economic growth by nearly $330 billion between the years 2021 and 2027. For one, there's the $127 billion boost created by the spending on 10G development itself, measured to be 376,000 "job years" over the seven-year span, in construction, electronic equipment, manufacturing and related industries. There's an additional $132 billion in cumulative gross domestic product and 300,000 jobs from "spillovers" created by the increase in network speed, and another $71.5 billion in consumer spending for entertaining and information applications.

Then there's the enablement of new applications and use cases, heralding what is being termed the "fourth industrial revolution." Many of these touch on technologies that currently only play on the fringes of education. Massively multiplayer online gaming, with its demands for high bandwidth coupled with low latency, will be a beneficiary of 10G, the report explained, along with immersive video and 8K streaming and virtual, augmented and holographic reality. As an example of the potential, the report's experts portended the arrival of virtual lecture halls where instructors teach dozens or hundreds of students who are seeing and interacting simultaneously in a much more immersive experience than current standards deliver.

Developed by the Internet & Television Association (NCTA) and Telecom Advisory Services, the report doesn't disguise its real agenda: making sure policymakers and lawmakers encourage 10G development through tax exemptions, reductions or eliminations of fees, support for specific WiFi policies, and avoiding policies that could delay the build-out of 10G.

The report is available on a dedicated 10G platform website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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