Re: Nanovation Technologies [Was: Nanogirl News)

Robert J. Bradbury (
Thu, 23 Sep 1999 13:36:36 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 23 Sep 1999, Max More wrote:

> Nanovation Technologies is listed in an article about the 4 top stocks
> of the next decade. Enter now a private company called Nanovation
> Technologies that proposes to eliminate digital gridlock by introducing
> new networking semiconductors and switches powered by speedy pulses of
> light rather than pokey old electrons.

Horse puckies...

The digital gridlock is primarily due to 2 things: (a) The end point downstream link (the last mile to the consumer) (b) The source upstream link (providers not having the bandwidth

or computer power to feed their clients).

Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) that allows multiple frequencies to be sent over the same optical fiber means that the existing optical networks can be leveraged to a significant degree. You can take an existing optical fiber and transmit 2, 4, 8, 16 times as much data over it simply by installing different transmitting/receiving equipment.

I do periodic traces to sites which seem slow and *most* of the time the bottleneck is on the upstream end, either the target site doesn't have enough bandwidth to handle its "clients", or their ISP is overloaded. Optical switching (Nanovation Tech) will do little to eliminate this problem. The only realistic solutions are optical fiber to the source site, or putting the source server at a site that has direct optical connections. Optical switches would help in decreasing delays across the net (which are already small) or increasing reliability (by providing rapid switching away from "broken" optical links) but they will do little for the overall perception of "digital gridlock".

For example, I'm in Seattle, on an ADSL line to US-West (the local Telco). I can get to in Reston, Virginia over 13 routers with an average packet transfer time of 98 milli-seconds. The longest average segment of that is the ~67 milli-seconds it takes to go from the Seattle Node to the Washington DC Node.

In contrast, I can get to Anders machine ( in 18 hops with an average ~200 ms with the largest hop being the to link of ~100 ms which is presumably the cable running from New York to the Norway.

There is no "digital gridlock". Its a specious meme. There are only local gridlocks caused by too little upstream bandwidth from the servers or downstream bandwidths to your machine. Nanovation Tech can do little to solve this problem because the costs of installing fiber over the final mile to the customer is very high.

If users want to monitor this for themselves, I highly recomend the Ping Plotter utility available from

If your internet connection is slow, first look at going to (a) duplexed dialups (2 telco lines to your ISP); (b) ADSL (perferable); or Cable Modem; or as a last resort ISDN.

Then benchmark multiple upstream sites comparing someone who is directly connected to the net (MCI, ATT, Sprint, Alternet, etc.) with the server you are trying to connect to (e.g. If the NET providers are fast and your server is slow, then the problem is their upstream comm link or their ISP (or less probably the upstream provider's computers). For example, the NY Times is very fast because their people know how to connect themselves to the net at very high upstream speeds.