Nu, what’s with this Google Fiber?
Google recently entered the ISP business, they held a contest in which one small US city would get gigabit internet for its citizens. Kansas City, both KS and MO, won. And they are lucky bastards.
“Fiber”, a.k.a. fiber-optic a.k.a. FIOS a.k.a. fiber to the home, is simply a faster land-based internet connection.
In order of speed, we have had:
First dial-up, then what we have called “broadband,” including ISDN (rare in a home) > T1 > various flavors of DSL > cable > T3 > fiber-optic
Wireless broadband comprises internet connections delivered through the air.
Wifi strictly means wireless networking on a local network. Wifi doesn’t deliver internet to the home or business; it distributes network resources, including the internet connection or a server or networked printers, to devices at the home or business.
You can think of wifi (I guess it’s “Wi-Fi,” but I say that’s fucking stupid, as is hyphenated “e-mail” or capitalized “Internet”)…You can think of wifi as the same link in the chain as an ethernet cable, more convenient, more hip, less secure, less reliable, and possibly more expensive or possible cheaper.
Random bonus jargon: WiMAX is more comparable to Google Fiber or cable internet, a “last-mile” solution for Internet deliver to the home that hasn’t really caught on.
Finally, and real crucially, gigabit means 1 million bits-per-second1, or 1Gbps. That’s a Dr. Evil-level number. Means fast fast fast. My home broadband connection, currently from Grande, is 30,000 bits-per-second = 30 megabit = 30Mbps. It’s satisfyingly fast. But gigabit will, reportedly, blow the face off all the internet to which we’ve so far been accustomed. It’s well above the norms of Japan or Europe, behind whom the US currently lags.
Google has always said, and loudly, that the more time that people spend on the Internet, the more money Google makes. Hence the Google Fiber contest, and the implication on their page that Kansas City is simply the first of many. I hadn’t seen the hardware they’ve developed, the stuff they pitch on their fiber page. Looks cool, at least.
Whatever the benefits for Google, faster internet is good for the nation.
1 Bits-per-second can be called baud. The term no longer appears much, but when dial-up was common, modems were measured in baud. Imagine a time when you might brag about your 2400-baud modem! So “gigabit” is a foreshortened term, but who’s gonna say “gigabaud”?