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Broadband Direct

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

Worldwide appetite for fiber is voracious

April 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

The enormous appetite for optical fiber is reaching prodigious proportions as communications companies of all flavors gobble up every last available strand in their quest for more bandwidth. The furious pace in which fiber is being driven deeper into neighborhoods and metropolitan areas is pushing the record-setting demand for optical fiber and photonics to new heights, fueled by a first-to-mar...

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Time is money, part 1

April 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Thomas G. Robinson, Executive Vice President, CBG Communications | Comments

As I write this, spring has sprung and daylight-saving time is upon us. I've always had this love-hate relationship with daylight-saving time. I love the fact that I have an additional hour of daylight at the end of the day, so I can get to chores like my already overgrown lawn without putting headlights on the lawn mower.

Scanning the high-speed heavens

April 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor | Comments

Shoot, Luke! The sky's full of satellites! As most cable operators gaze into the dark, starry skies at night, they'll likely see competition rather than an opportunity staring back. Concurrently, when DirecTV, EchoStar, iSKY, Teledesic and other incoming two-way satellite data players peer into the heavens, they'll probably see dollar signs orbiting the horizon, not to mention another way to pu...

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Grey matter

April 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor | Comments

Oh, if I only had a brain. That jovial refrain, as we all remember, comes from the Scarecrow in the film adaptation of L. Frank Baum's wonderful children's yarn, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," as the strawed-one, Dorothy, Toto and their gang of needy cohorts battled flying monkeys and other evil ilk as they rambled down the Yellow Brick Road in search of the Emerald City and, ultimately, the Gre...

Crash and burn

April 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Satellite Tracker and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Later this year, Iridium's satellites will be "de-orbited," and they will burn up as they fall. This column explains what went wrong, and the implications. Mobile satellite service Iridium was designed to offer "mobile satellite service," or MSS service to mobile terminals. There are several other MSS systems operating, including Inmarsat and American Mobile Satellite Corp.

High-flying ideas

April 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editorial Director, Broadband | Comments

The funny thing about being so closely associated with a growth industry (like the "broadband" industry has become) is that when it gets hot—really hot—companies come out of the woodwork with new ideas they sometimes laughingly call "solutions." Marketing executives will actually stand up in front of people and try to make you wonder how you've gotten along for oh-so-many years with...

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Who's got their hands on your network?

April 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by James Careless, Contributing Editor | Comments

Every shining success is shadowed by risks, and nowhere is that truer than in the world of Internet access. In this area, the risks come from hackers. Trouble is, "the risks go up as things like ease of connectivity increase," says Frederick Avolio, president of the computer security firm Avolio Consulting.

Who's the fairest one of all?

March 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor | Comments

Once upon a time, in several cities not so far away, a triumvirate of aggressive cable MSOs that had grown up happy and contented delivering video to the masses, began to offer telephony services to their customers. The goal was simple: To siphon off some of the lucrative telephony revenue that had been hoarded by the evil and wicked incumbent Local Exchange Carriers.

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Open access road show

March 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Access Advisor and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

For the last month or so, I've appeared as an expert witness on behalf of the cable industry at Open Access hearings, explaining why Open Access is not technically feasible right now. While there are some ISPs who really would like to become resellers of cable modem service, on the whole, this debate has become one of religion and trying to slow the rollout of cable modem service.

Beware of the big bad wolf

March 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Staff | Comments

While it appears a network-based powering system eventually will replace batteries, one unavoidable delimiting factor that must be accounted for is the legacy tap behind a customer's house, Spoor cautions. "Typically, cable plant will have 60 or 90 volts running down the line, but that power is blocked at the tap," he says.

Stalking the IP golden egg

March 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

Fee, fi, fo, fum. I smell the blood of an IP bum! While it ain't exactly Grimm's Fairy Tales verbatim, there may be a few digital subscriber line (DSL) giants out there grumbling that refrain as they see the voice-over-IP (VoIP) efforts of a few adventurous operators in the United States and Canada. And given the predicted jackpot, it's no wonder this scramble for the golden IP goose may blow e...

Digital cable-ready?

March 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Walter S. Ciciora There is So Much Doubt About Consumer Acceptance of Broadcast Digital TV that Drastic Marketing Measures are Needed. | Comments

"Cable-ready" is a term originally adopted unilaterally by the consumer electronics industry, without permission or consultation with the cable industry. Many years ago, television tuners involved multiple mechanical switches and a rather cumbersome turret apparatus. The switch contacts were subject to corrosion and wear.

Clearing out the cobwebs

March 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown Editorial Director, Telecom Group | Comments

A few random notes I've had over the past few weeks: When you live in the limelight, you need to be careful of everything you say and do. For people like America Online's Steve Case and Global Crossing's Leo Hindery, I can't help but wonder what it must be like to make some very public statements, only to have to spin them later.

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Hopping the gap

March 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Staff | Comments

... part II Newbridge, which just won the contract for buildout of a nationwide LMDS network in Belgium by British Telecom subsidiary BT Belgium, has taken pains to integrate wireless broadband access capabilities into its multi-platform edge switches to support the needs of major U.S. carriers like MCI Worldcom, Sprint and NextLink Communications for efficient means of operating over a mix of ...

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Making the switch to (and at) Layer 3

February 29, 2000 7:00 pm | by Thomas G. Robinson, Executive Vice President, CBG Communications | Comments

On the surface, the seven-layer OSI (Open Systems Interconnect) model seems relatively easy to grasp. From the transmission medium-oriented physical layer (Layer 1) to the data program management-related application layer (Layer 7), OSI was designed as a logical flow model to define all the elements necessary to enable any two computer systems anywhere to communicate.

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