[linux-elitists] Linksys router and GPIO or serial port?

mbp@sourcefrog.net mbp@sourcefrog.net
Wed Jun 2 06:54:07 PDT 2004

On  2 Jun 2004, Etienne Goyer <etienne.goyer@linuxquebec.com> wrote:
> Martin Pool wrote:
> >Telephony has the special case of carrying calls to emergency services
> >but it's not clear to me that the whole system needs to be engineered
> >to that level, rather than allowing the market to price QoS.  How
> >often do you make a life-and-death call?
> It does'nt really matter.  It could be once in a lifetime, but it _have_ 
> to work that one time.

It is a fallacy to say that something which must work when it's needed
justifies any cost.  You might get a greater benefit spending the same
money differently.

> The market have already priced near-perfect QoS for voice communication: 
> it's about 30$ CDN a month (including taxes).  Even assuming the scheme 
> hinted by Cringely end up costing 10$ a month (don't forget to include 
> power, equipement amortization, etc), the saving would be pretty 
> insignificant and probably not worth the drop in QoS and the added 
> complexity.

That is to say a saving of several billion dollars per year in
Australia, assuming everyone switched.  I think you could improve
emergency services if you spent only one billion dollars on them.

For an individual the saving of $240 in the first year goes a long way
towards buying smoke detectors, first aid training, fire
extinguishers, etc.  A small business might save enought to buy a
defibrilator.  I would guess a smoke detector plus .9999 phone service
is safer than no detector and .999999 service.

The most likely step towards Cringely's scenario is that I would have
a cellphone and a router thingy, but no landline.  I think I would
feel reasonably safe having only a cellphone for emergency calls.

> Considering the success of this scheme depend on large adoption for
> coverage, I highly doubt it have any future.

I don't see how it requires large adoption.  If it's available at my
home it is useful regardless of how other people use it because it can
bridge to the regular phone system.  

I am not saying it will play out exactly as Cringely says.  I don't
think even Cringely would say that.  But I would expect to see more
VOIP, more wireless, more free software.  Wireless is perhaps less of
a natural monopoly than wired service, so there might be a more
chaotic market.


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