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Dateline: 2 March 2000 Early Edition
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Local Net Slowdown On The Way?
Here is a little memo that was sent to Telecom's bandwidth customers the other day:
This is to inform you Telecom are making changes to the Netgate service.

Telecom is about to introduce automatic path selection for satellite traffic. This will apply to all NetGate customers and will route large web packets and caching traffic via satellite from the territorial United States. All other traffic will be routed back to New Zealand via cable. This simplifies your NetGate connection in preparation for Southern Cross. Which means that only one connection to NetGate for international traffic is required and management of the satellite route is performed by Telecom. There is expected to be a small but not significant difference in performance for web traffic when compared to transport over both-way cable.

So what does this all mean I hear you say?

Basically it means that you're probably going to end up having some, if not all, of your international Internet traffic routed through a satellite link instead of a cable.

While that isn't necessarily a bad thing in the case of services such as email, streaming media, and large-file FTP -- it can significantly impact more interactive services such as game-playing, IRC and some Web-services.

Previously, ISPs were able to nominate whether they sent all or part of their traffic by satellite, or by the more expensive cable circuits -- now this will be out of their control so they won't be able to guarantee you the same levels of performance.

It will be interesting to see whether the effects of this change become widely noticed.

From Yesterday
I received lots of response to yesterday's column, including one comment from an AOL user that I should run for president of the USA -- thank you :-)

Speaking of the USA, and the NZ government's seemingly naive approach to kick-starting our economy, anyone with a reasonable level of Net skills should note that the US appears to be about to open its doors a little wider to welcome hi-tech workers.

Given that the NZ dollar is currently worth just 48 US cents and that the rates of pay in the USA are generally higher on a straight dollar-for-dollar basis, anyone who is free to travel to the USA and work for a year or two would be mad not to.

If you're a worker with the right skillset and experience then you can almost name your price in the US -- easily earning NZ$100K-NZ$200K per year or more -- plus stock options in many cases. If you want to live cheap and save your pennies, a couple of years in the USA could allow you to return home with enough cash to buy a house, a nice car and enjoy several months lounging by the pool.

Or ... you could stay here and get a job in one of Jim Anderton's state-funded tee-shirt factories in Taranaki, get fleeced by a state-run ACC service, donate large sums of your pay to the IRD and -- after the same two years, still be on the bones of your bum.

Of course I exaggerate -- but perhaps not by as much as you might think.

My point is that I've seen nothing happen in the last six months, or the last six years, that make this country a more attractive place for our hi-tech workers.

I do worry that we're going to see increasing numbers of students catch a cab from their capping ceremony, straight to the nearest international airport.

As always, your comments are gladly received.


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