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Telecom Experts Plot a Path to 5G

The ITU is sorting through likely approaches to the next-generation mobile standard

4 min read
Telecom Experts Plot a Path to 5G
Photo: iStockphoto

Even before the 4G technology your smartphone uses was rolled out in earnest, telecommunications experts were dreaming of the next generation: 5G. But what 5G will do and how it will do it have remained pretty nebulous. “5G is a plethora of technologies that people are trying to bring together. What technology should be prioritized in what way?” says Thyaga Nandagopal, the director of the Networking Technologies and Systems program at the U.S. National Science Foundation.

But pressure to answer that question is mounting: Within five years, mobile service providers will need the new networks to power the Internet of Things, where just about everything, including smart cars, homes, thermometers, and portable sonar fish detectors, will be online.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
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Carl De Torres
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When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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