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Broadband Direct

Daily news and top headlines for broadband communications engineering and design professionals

The sky's no longer the limit

February 28, 2001 7:00 pm | by Angela Langowski, Associate Editor | Comments

Whether flying internationally or on a short trip, airline passengers face a unique challenge: staying confined in a small seat for hours. And although many people bring diversions to pass the time, most expect the airline to entertain them. Conversely, airlines want to be able to provide the capability for serious business travelers to continue to do business on airline flights.

LightWire's odyssey takes it to Dallas, Miami

February 28, 2001 7:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

LightWire's promise of an economical, extended use of fiber to "mini-nodes" in an architecture designed to reduce powering costs and eliminate in-line amplifiers is finally being kept after a lengthy trial and series of upgrades and tweaks. AT&T Broadband's Salt Lake City trial of LightWire over 600 miles of plant produced the expected results and prompted the company to take the latest ver...

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Interactive television - the sleeper

February 28, 2001 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss | Comments

We all expected that the FCC's AOL-Time Warner decision would deal with cable modem open access and instant messaging, but interactive television (ITV) was the unexpected "sleeper" issue for the cable industry. Disney's contentions of discrimination (where none exist) have led to a premature and possibly irrational proposal on the part of the FCC that could impact an entire industry, not just A...

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Whistling across the bow

February 28, 2001 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editorial Director, Broadband | Comments

There's a new battle for supremacy that's being waged, and even though it's aimed squarely at consumers' homes, it's going on without most people even being aware of the tussle. It's also not clear who's going to emerge victorious. The skirmishes between home gateways and full-featured set-top boxes promise to become much more heated as device manufacturers make an all-out push for marketplace ...

Quenching his thirst

February 28, 2001 7:00 pm | by Leslie Ellis, Technology Analyst | Comments

Tony Werner created quite a stir in cable's technical ranks in late 2000, when he exchanged the "T" in CTO for an "E," as the new CEO of startup opto-electronics firm Aurora Networks. It wasn't an easy call: Imagine being faced with a question of whether or not to stay put as the top technical executive at the nation's largest cable provider, or to quench an entrepreneurial thirst, with all of ...

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Do-it-yourself fiber optic networks

February 28, 2001 7:00 pm | by James Careless | Comments

If you're a research organization, and you must have reliable, high-speed data links between your locations, a fiber optic network is critical. End of story. However, most carriers charge a pretty penny for high-speed network access, especially at speeds above T-1 (1.5 Mbps). Granted, they offer full network management to justify the cost, but still, it's often more than most nonprofit organiza...

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Rising to the next level

February 28, 2001 7:00 pm | by Gerry White and Dr. Colin Smythe | Comments

As operators continue to develop higher-margin services, the ability to provision and support multiple services becomes an increasingly critical priority. The DOCSIS 1.1 standard does not fully define the scheduling algorithms to be used in the cable headend, so cable operators face the challenge of ensuring that the Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) architectures selected can deliver the Q...

Blowing away the bottleneck

February 28, 2001 7:00 pm | by David Iler, Contributing Editor | Comments

An early contestant for the most hyped technology of 2001 is actually a network protocol that's been around for almost 30 years. The latest iteration of Ethernet, namely Gigabit Ethernet, is becoming the foundation for a wave of broadband carriers entering the market, and is being proffered by some vendors as a cure for the bandwidth bottleneck blues.

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FTTH Starts making house calls

February 28, 2001 7:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, CED Associate Editor | Comments

While scientists and commentators are marveling at the recent success in mapping the vast complexities of the human genome, a small, but growing number of broadband service providers are taking a fresh look at the minute details of a delivery platform that was once considered pure fantasy. Like many other broadband technological developments before it (e.

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Pace integrates Sega into digital home gateway

February 28, 2001 7:00 pm | by Staff | Comments

Pace Micro Technology–The Americas revealed in January that it would be integrating the Sega games platform into its digital personal video recorder (PVR) home gateway (set-top boxes), providing consumers on-demand access to hundreds of console-quality games with 3D graphics, digital-quality sound and full-motion video.

Rushing for unlicensed spectrum

January 31, 2001 7:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, CED Associate Editor | Comments

When it comes to blazing new trails in alternative broadband delivery technologies, fixed broadband wireless has hit its fair share of potholes. In fact, some would say its not all that surprising that the overblown hype surrounding MMDS and LMDS spectrum auctions a few years ago helped drive the technologies over a cliff a short time later.

Fixed wireless standardsmissing the mark

January 31, 2001 7:00 pm | by David Iler, Contributing Editor | Comments

No one receiving Unlike the cable industry, the various standards efforts and industry consortia in the fixed wireless sector remain fractured. "They're for the most part not working together," says Andy Fuertes, vice president of communications electronics with Allied Business Intelligence. Sprint, to date the most aggressive provider of Multipoint Multichannel Distribution System (MMDS)-based...

Move over DSL... here comes wireless

January 31, 2001 7:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

Growing concern over DSL distance limitations along with the quality of its connections, and nagging questions about provisioning times and lack of availability for cable modem service, are helping to elevate the fixed wireless business into an appealing segment of the communications space. Add to the equation lower deployment costs and less time for provisioning the smorgasbord of services tha...

Subsidized cable modems -Their time has come

January 31, 2001 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss | Comments

The FCCs inquiry on cable modem Open Access is meandering along, with all the usual suspects making all the usual arguments. But nobody is telling the FCC about the implications of subsidized modems. So let me share this with you. What does Open Access mean? To most people who are generally following the debate, Open Access means that I can go to Best Buy or Circuit City, buy myself a cable mod...

Electricity in the air?

January 31, 2001 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editorial Director | Comments

Such is the case with fixed wireless. I have to admit a certain skepticism in this area, because I've written probably a half-dozen articles extolling the virtues and the "promise" of the technology. Primarily focusing on MMDS, the technology was limited by bandwidth, reach and simple physics. Looking at LMDS, there was a ton of bandwidth, but getting those high-frequency bits and bytes to thei...

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