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Broadband Direct

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

In Perspective

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

Within these pages, we write about new products and technologies that enable new services, or perhaps make people more productive. We often write with a sense of urgency, noting that the world is becoming intensely more competitive. But is competition truly knocking on the door, or is that just a consumer- and politically-driven pipe dream? I've had to ask myself the same question after reading...

Defining the Internet appliance

September 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeff Thermond, VP and GM, Broadcom's Home Networking Business Unit | Comments

It's a question of when, not if. When Internet appliances become the next hot product market, I mean. Why am I so confident that the time for Internet appliances is just now upon us? Three reasons: One, history is repeating itself. Two, Internet appliances actually solve real-world problems for consumers.

Fiber-to-the-home deployment inches forward

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

The inching forward of fiber-to-the home (FTTH) deployment by a small but widening cross-section of multi-service providers is prompting a re-evaluation of business models which for years have tagged FTTH as too costly, too cumbersome and unnecessary. With falling fiber and electronic equipment prices and the intense competition for video, voice and data customers, the blue sky vision of runnin...


Getting to the nirvana-networked home

September 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Leslie Ellis, Industry Analyst | Comments

The TV knows you don't want to be disturbed unless it's important, like one of your kids calling to report a fender-bender. You elect to send the big game to the big screen, and set your options to let only certain calls through—but opt to view the caller ID info of any incoming calls on the TV.

Hammering out Standards

September 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by David Iler, Contributing Editor | Comments

The home networking standards sector is rife with activity, as several standards groups vie to firm up their individual specifications, evolve existing specs and create new ones. Driven by stratospheric marketing projections and escalating speed and feature requirements, standards groups are staking out technical ground before the expected mass market, and operators looking to support the stand...


Putting it all together

September 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

To understand the full impact that home networking can have, it's important to discard the notion of what an "office" has meant historically, complete with the requisite spidery web of wired connectivity between computers, printers, monitors and scanners, and replace it with how an office should function.


DTV's fall from grace

August 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editorial Director, Broadband | Comments

Digital broadcast television is an absolute mess—and it's doubtful that it will get better before it gets worse. That's the clear message of a well-circulated article on the subject that appeared last month in The New York Times. Reporter Joel Brinkley does a masterful job of providing both a historical perspective and current status report on DTV.

Lighting the way

August 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Thomas G. Robinson, Executive Vice President, CBG Communications | Comments

Whatever you may think of Qwest, its new TV ad campaign is kind of catchy—you know, the one where it equates the capabilities of its network with a jukebox that can play every piece of music ever written and performed. What's most intriguing is that more and more such messages are now broadcast to millions of homes during prime time fare.


Global Positioning update

August 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Precision Locator and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Some recent events will affect the Global Positioning Satellite System (GPS) and the frequencies it uses. First, the government turned off a signal degradation that caused intentional errors. Then the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) allocated additional spectrum for GPS and for the European system Galileo.

POF emerging as viable glass option

August 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

For nearly a decade, the use of plastic optical fiber (POF) has been limited to markets requiring short distance applications of a few hundred feet. The expected onslaught of home network devices and connections and a potential breakthrough in POF technology could lengthen those distances, however, and widen the market for plastic fiber technology.


Mirrors, bubbles lead race to pure optical switching

August 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by David Iler, Contributing Editor | Comments

In the swift-moving world of optical networking, long-haul operators are finding a new generation of technologies to facilitate the rocketing demand for higher and higher levels of bandwidth. Among them is micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), an optical switch technology that employs microscopic mirrors to route signals from fiber to fiber in a network cross-connect or node.


Eliminating the access network choke point

August 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Bob Scott, Director of Marketing, Optoelectronics, Scientific-Atlanta; and Robert Loveless, Director Strategic Planning and Technology, Scientific-Atlanta | Comments

Pressure on network and cable operators is escalating as new competitors enter the market and subscribers demand more applications and interactive services. Advances in Wide Area Network (WAN) technology are leading to huge bandwidth increases, a cost-per-bit that is quickly approaching zero, and content that can be virtually anything, and come from just about anywhere.


Tripping the light fantastic

August 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

When the word "laser" is uttered, you might think about compact discs. You might think about the latest in eye surgery and the miraculous return of 20/20 vision. You could even think about a jiggly red dot darting back and forth across a long-forgotten PowerPoint presentation in some darkened auditorium.


Open Access court decision

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Open Access Explicator and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the Oregon District Court decision and has prohibited Portland from imposing an Open Access requirement on AT&T Broadband. Amazingly, the losers have claimed victory! Anyway, the real question now is how Open Access will be implemented, not whether.

Spectrum sales and must-carry

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Walter S. Ciciora, Ph.D., Recognized Industry Expert on Cable and Consumer Electronics Issues | Comments

In September, the FCC proposes to auction off channels 60 to 69. This is expected to generate a huge amount of money for the U.S. Treasury, making the FCC a profit center for the U.S. government. This has potentially unpleasant ramifications for the cable industry. Why? In 1983, television broadcast channels 70 to 83 were reassigned to cellular phone service.


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