I do a lot of dog-and-pony public speaking on broadband. I often get asked many questions or statements like:
- My cable modem works fine, why would anyone need more speed?
- What does fiber get me that DSL or Cable HSD does not?
- Just how fast is fiber?
- What can I do with fiber that I can’t do with my current broadband?
- 640K of memory should be enough for anybody.
- Should I have more fiber in my diet?
In addition to discussions around the economic development benefits of broadband, I am often looking for methods to demonstrate the difference between different technologies. I came across a Windows application from some site in the Netherlands (it had a .nl extension) that is sort of what I’m looking for (you can dig around on the Dutch language site and eventually find an English application).
The application is very simple but effective. I would think that just about any computer science student could gen up something like this. The only problem with the application is that it doesn’t have Cable Modem services which are quite common in the areas where I speak. Some additional features I would like to see would be the ability to customize the application and maybe enter in custom speeds, custom file sizes, or even indicate higher quality of service through a simulated data stream (like a choppy video vs. a smooth video).
Tools like these make demonstrating some of the more difficult concepts to grasp to network neophytes easier. You can almost see a light bulb go off above someone’s head when you show them the differences for something like an Xray or an engineering drawing.
If anyone knows of other offline or standalone demonstration tools, I would be very interested in seeing them and trying to integrate them into public meetings and education events.
Online tools are nice and I would be interested in seeing them as well. However, I am often speaking in locations without internet access which is why I would like offline and standalone applications.