Friday, August 8, 2014

A report of cabled local area networks in Cuba

I wrote about WiFi-based local area networks (LANs) a while ago and, according to an article posted on Cubanet, cabled LANs are now proliferating in Cuba.

The article says some LANs use underground cables to avoid detection and others run their cables above high voltage electricity cables. (Wouldn't they have problems with interference if they used cables with standard insulation)?

Cabled LANs are faster and able to accommodate more users than WiFi-based LANs, and, to the extent that the cables were under ground, harder for authorities to detect. (The article sites a case where, 5 months ago, a network was detected and the system administrator was fined 30,000 Cuban pesos).

Typically, users pay 2 convertible pesos or 50 Cuban pesos per month for access, which the article says is less than the going rate for pirated cable TV. (Years ago, people in Havana openly pirated broadcast TV intended for hotels, then they started pirating satellite TV and now LAN TV -- Cubans are natural cord cutters).

The article quotes a 22 year old user who says he can play games, download movies, post comments and upload photos ... "of course, nothing against the government." We heard the same thing about WiFi LANs -- they are being used for games and selfies, not political debate or subversion.

This article is anecdotal -- are any readers using a cabled LAN in Cuba? Are they widespread in and outside of Havana?

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