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Broadband Direct

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

V.O.D. is H.O.T.!

May 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Walter S. Ciciora, Cable Just Needed to Innovate and Apply Large Hard Disks to This Purpose. | Comments

As you may know, CED magazine has a Consulting Engineers Committee. I am honored to chair that committee this year. We recently had our annual meeting to review the current critical topics, so that the CED staff can plan to cover them over the next year or so. I was surprised that by far the most important topic was video-on-demand (VOD).

Reliability through simplicity

May 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jim Chiddix, Chief Technical Officer, Time Warner Cable | Comments

Cable operators have long been stigmatized by a perception that their networks are inherently unreliable, yet, reliability has always been a major industry concern. Some of the very first SCTE conferences in the '70s focused on reliability because, at that time, it was common to have 40- or 50-amplifier cascades that, frankly, weren't all that reliable.


Doing more with less

May 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Craig Morrall, Product Marketing Manager, Wavetek Wandel Goltermann, Cable Networks Division | Comments

At this point in time, the argument has been presented many times regarding the value of return path monitoring to provide quality service. In this traditional framework, it has proven its worth as an effective tool. However, operators have the unique opportunity to create a new paradigm for return path monitoring that will impact critical areas for the deployment and management of advanced ser...


Nurturing broadband start-ups

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

When semiconductor powerhouse Broadcom Corp. bought a tiny start-up company called Digital Furnace a few weeks ago for a nice, tidy $136 million, it underscored the tremendous value of a good idea. It also proved the old axiom, it's not what you know, it's who you know. Putting researchers and technologists in touch with like-minded people from the business world is the goal of those who run th...

Girls just wanna have fun

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

'I think it's kind of a waste of intelligence. Girls like the analytical side, more than just the basic electrical thing."—Fairfax, Va. junior high school girl and her thoughts on a career in technology. Geeky. Boring. Antisocial. Boy-centric and, well, . . . lame. Not exactly flattering terms for IT, high-tech and engineering careers.

Web-based media hits fast track

April 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson, Contributing Editor | Comments

The pursuit of market opportunities for interactive Web-based entertainment media has moved onto two fast tracks, one devoted to exploiting minimal access speeds to deliver streamed multimedia content, and the other focused on trumping this with media streams that operate in the multi-megabit realm. For players in the first category of streamed service development, the good news is that technic...


Elbowing their way in

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

And to think some people have been complaining that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was a bust. That piece of legislation, which effectively deregulated the telecommunications industry to spur competition in the local loop, has indeed taken time to have an effect. Today, however, network "overbuilders" are returning en masse, loaded with confidence, flush with cash and ready to take on cable...

Stepping outside the Comfort Zone

April 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by CED Staff | Comments

In the end, it all comes down to serving the customer. Remember the old axiom: "Customers don't care how they get their HBO—they just know they want it"? Facing up to that reality is causing a growing number of cable TV system operators to move beyond old business paradigms and embrace the very technologies that used to be considered the exclusive property of their mortal enemies—na...


High on wireless

April 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Dana Mendell, Executive Editor | Comments

Data (and yes, the money that goes with it) changes everything. The latest case-in-point is broadband wireless technology. Once scoffed at by the wireline establishment as being an inferior Ripple to wireline's Dom Perignon, suddenly, it's looking better and better, thanks in part to the desire of companies everywhere to cash in on the Internet access/datacom frenzy.


xDSL marks the spot?

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

For those of the twisted-pair persuasion, transport of digital content (be it voice, video or data) has never been easy. In fact, when ADSL first appeared in the early 1990s and then was transformed into a host of permutations that made it difficult for anyone to keep track of, the situation only got more confused.


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...


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...


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.


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