SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Ensuring proper connectivity
Roopinder Singh

Broadband connections in India are often not fast enough, and one of the most frequent complaints by consumers is that the Internet connectivity is not as quick as promised by the Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Trends
Common ingredient offers AIDS protection

WASHINGTON: A cheap ingredient used in ice cream, cosmetics and found in breast milk helps protect monkeys against infection with a virus similar to AIDS and might work to protect women against the virus, researchers reported. The compound, called glycerol monolaurate, or GML, appears to stop inflammation and helps keep away the cells the AIDS virus usually infects, the researchers said.

  • Imaging tests boost US radiation dose

  • Scientists make HIV strain that can infect

  • Two big black holes found together


Prof Yash Pal
Prof Yash Pal

THIS UNIVERSE 
PROF YASH PAL

The earth rotates on its axis at an approximate speed of 800 kmph and revolves around the sun in 24 hours. The solar system hurtles in space at 36,000 kmph. (please correct if I have wrong statistics). Why do we not feel the effect of this collective motion and why are we not thrown off at a tangent? Is it due to gravitational pull and due to centripetal/ centrifugal forces?

 

 


Top






Ensuring proper connectivity
Roopinder Singh

Broadband connections in India are often not fast enough, and one of the most frequent complaints by consumers is that the Internet connectivity is not as quick as promised by the Internet Service Provider (ISP).


Reuters photo

Millions of Internet users in India will be thankful to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) which has given guidelines to ensure that ISPs and telecom operators will provide the minimum required broadband speed to their customers.

In its guidelines, TRAI said: “There have been complaints from the subscribers regarding inadequate broadband speed being provided by the ISPs. Most of the complaints allege that the available broadband speed is lower than the subscribed speed.”

Your Internet connection is like a pipe, fatter the pipe, faster the information will flow. Till now you had not way of finding out how many taps (other users) were there on your pipe, but now this is changing.

For the first time, TRAI has fixed a minimum bandwidth ‘contention ratio’ which tells you, the user, how many people you are sharing the allocated bandwidth with. As most readers will know, bandwidth is the amount of data (like e-mails, web pages or picture files) that can be transferred over a particular Internet connection in a specified period of time (e.g. 1 megabyte per second).

Practically all, other than very expensive and exclusive connections, are shared by those who are geographically in a particular location and your connection’s speed will depend on how many people in your neighbourhood are online. The less people online, the faster your access to the Internet.

Internationally, the broadband contention ratio is 1:50 for home connections, which means that when you are online, 49 other people can also be using the service at the same time. The number of Internet subscribers in India is pegged at 12.24 million (end of September 2008) and broadband subscribers number 5.28 million (end of November 2008).

Since there was no fixed norm prior to the TRAI guideline, operators were giving service at a contention ratio of 1:80 to 1:100. TRAI has fixed the contention ratio for home at 1:50 and for business at 1:30. Businesses pay more for the privilege.

The new policy has given rise to fears that broadband tariffs may increase, since operators will have to buy more bandwidth to maintain the norms. However, this line of thinking might just turn out to be a fallacious and competitive spirits among various players, plus a nudge from the regulator, would ensure you do not have to pay more for efficient service.

Of course, contention ratio is only a part of the solution, and as TRAI itself realises, there are number of factors that impact broadband speed. They include length and quality of the local loop (also called last mile), “bandwidth availability at ISP’s gateway, congestion in the global internet, problems with subscriber’s equipment ... .” However, fixing the contention ratio will, no doubt, go a long way in making the ISPs more responsible and the consumers more aware of their rights.
Top

Trends
Common ingredient offers AIDS protection

WASHINGTON: A cheap ingredient used in ice cream, cosmetics and found in breast milk helps protect monkeys against infection with a virus similar to AIDS and might work to protect women against the virus, researchers reported. The compound, called glycerol monolaurate, or GML, appears to stop inflammation and helps keep away the cells the AIDS virus usually infects, the researchers said.

Imaging tests boost US radiation dose

CHICAGO: Americans are exposed to seven times more radiation from diagnostic scans than in 1980, a recent report found, as experts said doctors are overusing the tests for profit and raising health risks for patients. The findings, issued by National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement, add to already mounting evidence that doctors are ordering too many diagnostic tests, driving up the cost of healthcare in the United States and potentially harming patients.

An artist’s conception released on March 4, 2009 shows two super massive black holes orbiting each other in what is known as a binary system. Each black hole is surrounded by a disk of material gradually spiralling into its grasp, releasing radiation from X-rays to radio waves
An artist’s conception released on March 4, 2009 shows two super massive black holes orbiting each other in what is known as a binary system. Each black hole is surrounded by a disk of material gradually spiralling into its grasp, releasing radiation from X-rays to radio waves. Reuters photo

Scientists make HIV strain that can infect

WASHINGTON: Scientists have created a strain of the human AIDS virus able to infect and multiply in monkeys in a step toward testing future vaccines in monkeys before trying them in people, according to a new study. This strain of HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, was developed by altering a single gene in the human version to allow it to infect a type of monkey called a pig-tailed macaque, the researchers said.

Two big black holes found together

WASHINGTON: Two colossal black holes appear to be orbiting one another in sort of a cosmic minuet at the centre of a faraway galaxy formed when two separate galaxies collided, US astronomers said. These two so-called super massive black holes, which are celestial objects with enormous gravitational pull, are locked in orbit about 5 billion light years away from Earth, the scientists said. A light year is about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion km), or the distance light travels in a year. — Reuters
Top

THIS UNIVERSE 
PROF YASH PAL

The earth rotates on its axis at an approximate speed of 800 kmph and revolves around the sun in 24 hours. The solar system hurtles in space at 36,000 kmph. (please correct if I have wrong statistics). Why do we not feel the effect of this collective motion and why are we not thrown off at a tangent? Is it due to gravitational pull and due to centripetal/ centrifugal forces?

It is true the earth on which we live is moving at a great speed. I think if you take into account all the motions, this speed might come to a few hundred kilometres per second! And yet we do not feel it.

This appears amazing till we realise that this is due to a very fundamental law.

This states that all frames of reference in relative uniform motion with respect to each other are equivalent and we cannot distinguish between them through any experiment we do within any frame.

When in uniform motion, all parts of our body keep moving the same way as they would at what we call rest. We have no internal way of detecting that motion.

All of us have had the experience of sitting in a train stopped at a station and looking at another train standing on a parallel line.

When the train on the other line starts moving we often feel that it is our train that has begun to move. We realise our mistake as soon as our eyes fall on another stationary object.

What we do detect are accelerations.

We are very sensitive to changes in motion. When they are strong and sudden we have accidents.

What provides electrical energy to artificial satellites in space?

Satellites usually work on batteries that are continuously recharged using solar cells.

Solar cells convert the sunlight that falls on them into electricity — which is used to charge the batteries. Some satellites also use nuclear reactor or radioactive material for producing energy. This is required by special defense satellites.

Top


HOME PAGE