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Broadband Direct

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

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.


The return of MMDS

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

It wasn't all that long ago that cable operators had total control over their markets. Oh sure, they hated being called monopolists and fought desperately to convince national and local governments that they didn't have a stranglehold on local multichannel video services, but in fact, they were the only game in town.

Residential gateways carve out market niche

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

The emergence of the "residential gateway" as an entry point to the burgeoning home network market and the impressive revenues it promises is sparking increased interest among a growing collection of service providers, set-top box and cable modem manufacturers, and a host of other entrants. The home network market is expected to be valued at $5.

Taking the set-top out of the equation

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Roger Pience, CTO; and Dan L. Trayler, VP Sales; Macrodyne | Comments

The technical capabilities of cable TV systems are being constantly enhanced and expanded beyond the traditional entertainment services to provide cable operators with new revenue streams. For many years, the cable industry has attempted to implement methods to improve the cable/consumer electronics interface while protecting the cable operator's investment in programming.


VCR functionality gets up close and personal

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

It wasn't all that long ago that when people talked about time shifting, they were one of two things. They were either rabid film buffs that had a lock on MGM's 1960 semi-classic sci-fi flick, "The Time Machine," starring Rod Taylor; or they were rabid "Star Trek" fans that got off on episodes featuring the Federation's time-traveling nemesis, "Q.

MPEG - 4: Cable's new hope for streaming media?

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Dana Mendell, Executive Editor | Comments

As the consumer's hunger for ever more bandwidth and new applications such as broadband multimedia over the Internet grows, cable operators are compelled to keep up with demand by finding more bandwidth-efficient solutions and even more creative ways to deliver content. One technology that's currently piquing the interest of cable operators and manufacturers alike is the MPEG-4 standard, often ...

Welcome to the 'SMART HOUSE'

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor | Comments

Thanks to the potential of the residential gateway, the home of the future is starting to take on Jetsonian proportions. Get ready, George and Astro, the future may not be very far away. Serving as the "brains" of the "smart home," the residential gateway is being touted as a portal device that distributes and shares the bandwidth that runs in and out of homes, enabling a cadre of voice, video ...


June 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Staff | Comments

Following a series of fits and starts and well-publicized trials like Time Warner's Full Service Network in Orlando, video-on-demand (VOD) finally appears ready to erupt as the cable industry moves further into 2000 and beyond. That time couldn't get here soon enough for the domestic cable industry, which continues to lose market share to orbital competitors like DirecTV and EchoStar, and which...


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