Delivering ICT and e-applications only possible with the right
bandwidth - Part 9
Electronic applications have revolutionised the world by introducing
novel methods in general applications we practice daily. This
e-application or electronic application was born as a result of
information technology with the emergence of Internet. People find it’s
easy and convenient to do their routine work over the Internet, cost
effectively than doing them in any other way.
Internet bandwidth is no different to pipes that carry water.
Larger the size, greater the data it pumps.
In fact this new concept has managed to change the world dramatically
by introducing innovative methods in our lives. Countries like Japan,
Korea and EU have already implement e-application in the key areas of
public utility services by allowing citizens to have access.
Education, medicine, Government and other utility services have
become the iconic services of e-applications. All of these services
which come under the umbrella of e-applications will facilitate the
public to have access to these services remotely despite its location.
The impact it caused on the society is remarkable. The benefits are
unmatched. Actually these features of e-based applications have
dramatised the entire world by increasing the GDP and total productivity
in any society if adopted.
The Internet works as the carrier in this process when delivering
e-applications in the society. The medium selected is the high speed
Internet(HSI) which is capable of handling rich media content fore and
aft among computers with efficiently and cost effectively.
The Internet platform would be the right choice to achieve both of
these goals effectively in the real world. The efficiency of the
Internet is the speed. The speed then depends on the amount of bandwidth
it has flow. The next important factor is the cost. The cost must be
reasonable or otherwise, the concept of e-application will loose. So the
speed and the price would be the deciding factors of e-applications.
Cutting edge technologies were introduced in this regard to compete
with the growing demand of Internet applications.
Large numbers of services migrated to Internet platform recently by
intending to increase the efficiency of tasks.
Increased demand pushes the Internet technology in to higher
standards than ever before. Speed and bandwidth measurements have
changed from Kilobits to Megabits respectively to facilitate new
technologies that popped in the world recently. However, the world
broadband Internet standard is varying widely.
This unevenness in broadband Internet standard gives freedom to
countries to make their own standards according to their requirements.
But countries who have failed to identify its requirements, settled for
Governments who have done extensive studies on this have made unique
standards by considering future demands of the Internet. Actually the
well developed administration systems in these countries would have been
the reason to implement such standards in broadband Internet.
But there are some instances where technology and competition had
created standards in broadband despite its state’s involvement. But this
is not the case in some other countries. For instance, USA’s broadband
definition had prevented the country from achieving its economic goals
due to the low speed standards defined in broadband. Latter, it was
revised recently by the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) to a
higher standard by opening doors to high tech Internet.
Japan is at the first in the speed race. One could get 100Mbps
broadband service in Japan nearly for the price Sri Lankans pay for
512Kbps Internet service. Korea, Finland, Sweden, and France are
steaming behind in the race while other countries still taking mark for
Having said that, now we must draw our attention to the Sri Lankan
market situation. Sri Lankan broadband Internet market is still not
matured enough even with four operators.
Stagnated broadband market in Sri Lanka finally goes beyond 2Mbps in
last year soon after the entry of wireless operators. 512Kbps is the
minimum and 7.2Mbps is the maximum broadband speed available in Sri
Market consisted of four broadband providers including three wireless
and one wired operator. ADSL, WiMAX and HSPA technologies were
effectively used in providing broadband services.
Unavailability of broadband definition permits operators to run their
self-styled broadband services freely in the past. Low quality and
highly priced broadband services in the country have actually kept
people away from accessing this modern technology and that would be very
unfavourable for development where the country is concerned.
To counteract this situation, Sri Lanka should adopt the right
technology at the right time and proper standards must be identified
without further delay. Being the under layer of e-applications, high
speed Internet would dominate the whole process.
The intended benefits of e-applications could only be delivered to
the society if people have access. Similarly success of the concept of
e-application heavily depends on the quality of the broadband service
which people use in their access.
That is because; the sole idea behind putting services on-line would
be to increase the efficiency of services and at the same time reducing
the cost factor considerably. Therefore, before implementing
e-applications in any country or society, the particular country’s
infrastructure facilities such as Internet services must be developed to
cope with the requirements of applications that come online.
E-medicine, e-education, e-commerce and e-government are the key
applications that come under the electronic application. All these
applications are allowing the public to access services remotely by not
visiting places where service being originated. Since all transactions
take place over the Internet, an extensive quality Internet service must
be provided from beginning to the end.
Near living quality is a must in all applications where video is
involved. Since e-application system would be a substitute solution for
the requirement of public to be present in an office environment, people
must feel the virtual reality while using these applications.
Unfortunately the country’s present broadband quality and the prices are
very discouraging to the growth of e-applications. Quality never permits
to launch rich e-applications while price never permits people to
acquire their own broadband services.
Where Sri Lanka is concerned, categorisation of e-applications
according to their tasks would be ideal in all aspects.
Time-critical applications involved with video image transporting
must be treated as high-end applications. Utility bill payments,
information services, applications and form downloading and other
citizen services could be regarded as none time critical low-end
Therefore, choosing minimum required bandwidth for each and every
application must be done carefully because otherwise, the insufficient
bandwidth would cripple the entire concept at its cradle. e-learning and
e-medicine both use high quality video image transport in both
directions. If application requires an interactive feature to be
enabled, symmetric broadband service must be provided at both ends.
To transmit and receive standard definition DVD quality MPEG-2
picture, the bandwidth requirement is about 3Mbps.
This would be fairly enough to view full motion video picture on a
computer screen without video jitter. However, to project this on a
multimedia screen for larger audience, the transport layer’s bandwidth
requirement could be higher than this.
Since medical and education applications are interactive in its
nature, picture quality of the video really matters. Video stream that
runs over MPEG-1 format still requires at least 700Kbps to produce VCD
quality picture on the screen. Blurry video pictures associated in low
bandwidth services below 700Kbps would not be suitable to use with
e-education and in e-medicine applications.
High definition sharp crisp video picture which runs over the 3Mbps
must be needed in object recognition when delivering lectures. Small
objects, small letters and tiny devises used by lectures especially in
technical video presentations could only be recognisable by the video
receiving audience if they were provided with high quality video over
Medical consultancy services that come under e-medicine would also
require bandwidth between 2Mbps and 6Mbps respectively to produce high
quality video service to patients and doctors.
Sometimes the bandwidth necessary could be higher than stipulated. In
this regard special video compression codec such as H.264 AVC must be
needed to squeeze the size of the video to put them in a small bandwidth
service for transportation.
The next challenge is to provide high quality broadband Internet
services to the citizens in the country. As we all know, it is not
possible to provide dedicated symmetric broadband service to the home
environment under present market condition.
Therefore we must draw a line somewhere between two extremes defining
a minimum standard for home, Governmental and commercial organisations
where video related applications are being concerned.In this regard at
least 700Kbps up and 1Mbps down bandwidth broadband service must be
provided to all homes if they intend to conduct e-learning and similar
video enabled applications over the Internet.
What we should not forget here is, 700Kbps up and1Mbps download
service would be the boundary and it is barely sufficient to run
e-applications at high quality.
Health sector institutes, hospitals, Schools and other educational
organisations and e-centres should be connected with higher bandwidth
services over 2Mbps. Selecting lower bandwidth services would jeopardise
the e-application concept even before it was born.
Running e-education applications over lower bandwidth services below
1Mbps could cause student dissatisfaction due to the low quality video
picture thus losing their confidence towards the e-education concept.
However, even these standards would only be sufficient for the
present requirements in the country, based on existing infrastructure
facilities. Bandwidth revisions must be made accordingly in the future
to facilitate the growing demand of bandwidth hungry applications that
run over the Internet.