Using Little’s Law to Measure System Performance

A queueing system can be described as the flow of items through a queue. In a queueing system, items arrive at some rate to the system and join one or more queues inside the system. These items receive some kind of service, and when the work is done, they depart the system. A simple queueing system Little’s Law is a pretty simple model of queueing systems. [Read More]

Why I’m not (too) worried about Python 2

Python 2 will retire in about one month. Given many organizations continued reliance on it, you may be asking “Now What?” What does this change mean for a company that heavily relies on a deprecated language? Many times, the Python 2 deployed in an organization still generates a lot of value. Yet as this code continues to age, you expose ourselves to potential security vulnerabilities with fewer avenues to address them. [Read More]

Riding the Architecture Elevator

Large organizations have a lot of layers. From the C-Suite that is concerned about strategy and vision, to middle management who are executing on projects and programs, down to individual contributors working on project features. These layers provide a number of advantages, all derived from being able to better manage complexity. For example, layers provide a nice separation of concerns: as a software engineer, I don’t have to worry about tax codes and payroll because the finance department can take care of this. [Read More]

How Does WebRTC Work?

To deliver real-time communication (RTC) from browser to browser requires a lot of technologies that work well together: audio and video processing, application and networking APIs, and additional network protocols that for real-time streaming. The end result is WebRTC — over a dozen different standards for the application protocols and browser APIs that enable real-time communication for the web.

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How Does LTE Work?

There is no one-size-fits-all cellular network used across the world, and trying to understand how cellular technology works across all the different uses cases is difficult, if not impossible, in a short blog post. So, rather than trying to understand every possible standard, this article will focus solely on LTE networks. Fortunately, competing standards and implementations are roughly similar and we can extrapolate any lessons learned about LTE to other cellular networks without much difficulty. [Read More]

How Does WiFi Work?

WiFi, technically specified in the IEEE 802.11 set of standards, is one of the most widely deployed wireless standards in the world. Chance are the device you are using to read this article has is WiFi enabled. WiFi is a straightforward extension of Ethernet, with some slight adaptations for using radio instead of copper wire as the communication channel. Like Ethernet, WiFi has no central process that controls which device is allowed to transmit data at any point in time. [Read More]

How Does Ethernet Work?

Ethernet is a technology developed a Xerox PARC in 1973 and 1974 to support local area networking. It has since been expanded to include a whole family of technologies that support various network architectures and topologies as part of the IEEE 802.3 working group dedicated to supporting networking using physical connections and devices (i.e. not wireless). Ethernet was built with the assumption that all computers on a network use a shared communication channel. [Read More]

Wireless Networks and Shannon’s Law

All wireless networks (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, LTE, etc.) operate using radio signals. Because they operate over the radio, all communication methods have a maximum channel capacity, regardless of technology. This maximum capacity was which is determined by the same underlying principles of information theory developed by Claude Shannon during World War II, known as Shannon-Hartley theorem or Shannon’s Law. Shannon’s Law states that This capacity relationship can be stated as: [Read More]

Curate Don’t Dictate

Inspiration for software architecture often comes from the world of building architecture. In building architecture, the architect takes in local building codes to understand construction requirements. They analyze various building components like ductwork and furnaces, windows and doors, and figure out where and when to use standard components and when to build custom. They provide cost estimates for each of the components and for the whole, and then build out a blueprint providing upfront design and specification. [Read More]