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Broadband Direct

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

A line in the sand

September 30, 1999 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

CableLabs didn't want to touch it. The National Cable Television Association said no, thanks. Even some of the most-oft quoted sources in cable TV chose to speak only on background. What is it that's keeping so many people mum? The dreaded "open access" concept. It's simply impossible to find anyone in the cable industry who isn't emotional about the issue.

Home networking: Cable TV's next payoff?

September 30, 1999 8:00 pm | by James Careless, Contributing Editor | Comments

Home networking-connecting multiple devices to a common cable TV connection-used to be a buzzword. Now, it's becoming a reality. The proof: in Canada, Rogers Cablesystems has been quietly rolling out home data networks for its @Home subscribers. The service is known as MIPs. Short for "Multiple IPs," MIPs "gives the customer up to three IP addresses for connecting PCs in the home," says Wayne H...

Squeezing new gear into existing headends

August 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

Space may not be the cable industry's final frontier, but for operators trying to find more of it for their headend equipment, it's close. The advent of advanced services and technologies, including network monitoring, high-speed data, Internet access and more, is bringing with it on-going challenges to cable operators to squeeze more hardware and sophisticated components into an already shrink...

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The next wave: Wireless/wireline hybrids?

August 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson, Contributing Editor | Comments

Once disparate broadband access strategies are beginning to coalesce around a tightly integrated, hybrid wireline/wireless platform that could pose significant new challenges to the dominant wireline players in cable and telephony. The idea of mixing fixed wireless and wireline components into a single network to accomplish wide and rapid penetration of the local marketplace started to take off...

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Lighting up the neighborhood

August 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor-Chief; and David Iler, Associate Editor | Comments

Recent advances in optical technology are rapidly making possible something that just a couple of years ago was considered unthinkable: The deployment of fiber to nodes so small that the network has become almost entirely passive, and fiber is pushed so close to the home that consumers can nearly reach out and touch it.

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Home wireless networks

August 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Wireless Netwatcher and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

As we know by now, home phones and computers are often in different rooms than cable boxes, and existing in-home phone wiring may be substandard for digital transmissions. Running new wiring from room to room is time- consuming and expensive. Wireless home networks will emerge in the next year or two as an important alternative.

Distance learning moves to the head of the class

August 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

The Internet is not only changing how we communicate with friends or how we buy the latest gadget for the kitchen, it's rocking the very foundation of the nation's educational system, according to Bob Harris, director of affiliate network services at Road Runner. And, he believes cable's broadband pipe and new distance learning technology has a pivotal role to play in this educational revolution.

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Open mouth, insert foot?

August 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Those who follow the trials, tribulations and squabbles between corporate giants are all atwitter over the recent war between Microsoft and America Online over instant messaging, the real-time, private communications service that AOL subscribers love to use. The titan-sized conflict began in late July, when Microsoft and Yahoo released their own instant messaging software that allowed their use...

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Troubling questions about cable's future

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

For many of the hard-working professionals in the broadband industry, talk is cheap. Over the years, they've grown accustomed to the hype surrounding cable's broadband pipe and the new services it can deliver. But they are typically hamstrung by a lack of qualified personnel, resources and other tools.

Cable - ready TVs

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Digital Cable Dreamer and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Although most of the cable TV and digital TV receiver interconnection and interface issues have been resolved, there is still work to be done, and at least one dispute. The issues are seen most clearly within the context of defining the "digital cable-ready TV set." The consumer electronics manufacturers view cable-ready TVs as those that connect to the drop cable with an F-connector.

CE straightjacket for cable

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Walter Ciciora | Comments

Several things happened recently which caused me to pause and wonder about where we are headed with cable set-top boxes. Is the consumer electronics model being imposed on cable in a manner that will stifle our video future? Moore's Law In early June, I was at the Montreux Television Symposium in Switzerland attending a workshop on Electronic Program Guides.

Strategies for success

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

US West Communications' efforts to redefine itself and become more competitive in a changing marketplace are providing some interesting insight into how telecommunications companies are planning to compete over the coming decade. US West last month was being courted by two suitors-Global Crossing and Qwest Communications.

New tools transform broadband online

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson, Contributing Editor | Comments

Rapid advances in software tools of every description are lowering the bandwidth threshold for broadband Internet services to where applications once deemed to be the domain of interactive TV will soon be transmitted at under one megabit per second. Not only are these new tools making it possible to create fully interactive, media-rich content and advertising operating at full-screen resolution...

Changing the recipe for telephony?

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by David Iler, Associate Editor | Comments

The table is nearly set for the cable TV industry to implement one of the most appetizing choices in its expanding pantry of subscriber services: Internet Protocol-based telephony. However, before the party begins and IP telephony is actually brought to the table and made available to hungry subscribers, several key "ingredients" need to be added to the mix, including: Improved voice quality Re...

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Is it time to take the plunge?

May 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by James Careless | Comments

When it comes to IP telephony, Canada's Big Four cable companies are like swimmers at a pool: Groupe Videotron and Cogeco Cable are both diving in headfirst, while Rogers Cablesystems and Shaw Commu-nications are shivering on the sidelines, waiting for the water to warm up. Groupe Videotron makes the biggest splash With 1.

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