What If COVID Struck in 2005: A Tribute to Digital Networks

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We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. A Time Before Mature Digital Networks
  2. Era of Global Digital Connectivity
  3. Digital Transformation Through Digital Networks

In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:

  1. What is a Data Centre?
  2. What is WiFi?

What if the pandemic had happened in the early 2000s instead of now? How would we have coped without the mature and robust global digital network of today?

What if COVID struck in 2005: A Tribute to Digital Networks
The network of the 2000s

As I type out this blog on my laptop, simultaneously listening to music on my smartphone with both devices connected to high-speed fibre broadband, I am struck by just how lucky we are to have these facilities during the ongoing pandemic. Life as we know it would not have been even remotely imaginable a mere 15-16 years in the past when the internet was a shell of what it would become.

Trip Down Memory Lane: How Did We Manage Before Mature Digital Networks?

Let’s go back to the year 2005. Things were different then. Only about 25 million of India’s population had access to a broadband connection. Speeds were sluggish and prohibitive for any intensive tasks. Youtube had only just been invented and Facebook was only available in the USA. The iPhone was still two years away from being invented and e-commerce was in its nascency.

It would be five more years before the government would auction the 3G and 4G spectrums, setting up a robust wireless broadband market. The deployment of FTTH (Fiber To The Home) would also only start becoming widespread at that juncture.

Our Changed Reality: How to Comprehend the Era of Global Digital Connectivity?

Our Changed Reality: The Era of Global Digital Connectivity

The scenario today is almost entirely unrecognizable from back in 2005. The number of internet users in our country has grown exponentially to around 650 million people. We have access to high-speed optical fibre broadband, smartphones, social media and an inexhaustible supply of online entertainment. We’re able to stay connected with friends and family through WhatsApp and FaceTime.

Working from home, which would’ve been unthinkable only a few years ago is now made possible with the advent of video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The most significant development is perhaps the accessibility we are now afforded to health services. Needing to visit your doctor in person is a thing of the past. Now, all it takes is for you to make an online payment and voila! A doctor is present in front of you, diagnosing you through video calling capabilities and prescribing medications that you can order on a mobile app.

All this is made possible because of financial and regulatory changes that allowed for FTTH – and more broadly FTTx (Fiber to the x) – to replace copper networks laid down since before the turn of the century. This, in turn, gives rise to a healthy, interconnected network of people and their devices across the globe which instantly share vast amounts of information bilaterally.

The Road Ahead: Digital Transformation Through Digital Networks

The Road Ahead: Digital Transformation Through Digital Networks

As the world starts to see light at the end of the tunnel that has been the pandemic, we can start looking forward to what the future of digital networks might bring.

Digital Transformation can simply be described as the incorporation of digital technology into businesses to transform the everyday lives of people. This process which was already underway well before the COVID-19 outbreak has had to be kicked into high gear ever since the pandemic hit.

This is where STL Tech comes in. Boasting a 25-year legacy in optical connectivity, STL can stake a claim as being a leading global digital networks integrator. STL’s proven capabilities span products such as Optical Interconnect, Virtualised Access Solutions, Network Software and System Integration. This unique specialisation along with STL’s commitment towards building the Next-Gen Digital Network means it’s well on its way to achieving its ultimate goal of bringing affordable internet to all.

FAQs

What is a Data Centre?

A data centre, sometimes referred to as a server farm, is a centralized physical location housing compute resources (high-end servers), storage (SSD, HDD, Flash, Optical), and networking equipment (routers, switches, firewalls, etc.) for collecting, storing, processing, distributing and allowing access to large amounts of data.

Apart from the IT equipment data center also houses environment controls (airflow, humidity & temperature sensors), server racks, power supplies (backup systems, generators), and cabling systems (ethernet, copper, optical fiber). Initially, data centers were introduced to manage the large influx of service requests and store user-generated data. In contrast, it has now evolved to adopt technologies such as virtualization, cloud computing, mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) applications, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data analytics.

There are four main types of data centers:

a) Enterprise data centers – Built, owned, and managed by a company for particular use-cases for their target user set. They are usually built on-site but can also be built away from the company premise.

b) Managed services data centers – Deployed, managed, and monitored by a third-party datacentre service provider for a company. The features and functionality can be accessed by the company using a managed service platform (MSP)

c) Colocation data centers – Consist of one data center owner selling space, power, and cooling to multiple enterprises and hyperscale customers in a specific location. The company focuses entirely on running the compute, storage, and networking equipment while the data centre service provider takes care of the space, power, cooling, security, and IT racks.

d) Cloud data centers- An off-site data centre provider such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud that stores the data of various enterprises. The data is fragmented and stored at various locations across the internet (i.e. datacentres across the world). This offers enhanced security, scalability, management, reliability, customization, and cost-effectiveness.

What is WiFi?

Put simply, WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers, etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a WiFi hotspot that people in its vicinity may use to access internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a WiFi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.

To get a little more technical, WiFi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN that allows devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since WiFi signals need to carry significantly higher amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).

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