At least in urban areas of the US, connectivity is available nearly everywhere. It’s hard to imagine checking wireless availability and not seeing several providers available. Odds are that you can actually connect to at least one of them. Time Warner Cable, Cox, Comcast, and Verizon have all made inroads in many U.S. cities, practically blanketing them with access points. And now the 800 pound gorilla in the tech game, Google, is laying its own fiber network to do exactly the same thing — provide high-speed wireless access to the masses of people that are demanding it.
And, estimates are projecting demand will continue to grow — very rapidly. Several different sources say that not only will at least a third of all digital content will be stored in the cloud by 2016, and practically everyone will be using web-based applications full-time by 2020. Expenditures on cloud computing will reach, if not exceed $241 billion in the same year. That’s going to place a great demand on existing infrastructure, thus necessitating more, more, and more again in order to support the sheer volume of data traffic. And, let us not forget the growing demand for VoIP services.
High speed, reliable memory is very cheap these days. Given this, and the fact that it’s so easy connecting to the net in order to save or retrieve data, it’s not going to be terribly surprising if disk based systems become obsolete in the near future. They’ll be replaced with tablets, phablets and smartphones with high-capacity internal storage. If external storage is required, there are plenty of external cloud storage options available, including Box, FileZilla or DropBox (among many others). Some of these are free for a certain amount of storage; others cost a few dollars a month, but the upshot of it is that your data is stored safely off of your device in case something should happen to it.
But if you do use this cloud based storage, then you’ll need some infrastructure to access it. When you’re about to make your presentation for that million-dollar project, the last thing you want to see is the NO SIGNAL warning on your tablet, telling you that you’re completely in the lurch because your proposal files are in the cloud, and you have no access to them.
This is why the serious players will ensure that they have reliable and high speed connectivity at all times. Not only will they have a good fiber optic solution up to the front door, for example, but they’ll also have a wireless 4G system on standby in case the primary system goes down.
As any network administrator knows, a network is only as strong as its weakest link, and this axiom illustrates the need for redundant connections. It’s most helpful to have a wireless connection as your backup, for this reason — most redundancy solutions use the the same wired medium to connect to the alternate ISP, and therefore the same path. When something untoward happens to that path, both connections are then affected.
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile provide 4G LTE wireless systems, though, that can be used as a reliable backup. In certain areas of the U.S., WiMAX service is a viable competitor to 4G; this service is provided by companies such as Clear, Comcast, Tranzeo and AT&T. When using one of these wireless services to back up your primary data service, there should be a seamless transition between the two, if everything is configured properly.
So with these thoughts in mind, anyone with a hand in regional government would be well-advised to consider applying some of that money marked for roads, shopping centers and the like, and apply it to data infrastructure instead. Communications highways are just as important these days — and what’s that saying? Build it, and they will come!