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Broadband Direct

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

Taking Control

April 30, 1999 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associated Editor | Comments

... part II Andy Paff, chief technology officer at Worldbridge Broadband Services (, says the need for third-party service providers is self-evident, given the costs of building your own Network Operations Center (NOC). "One of the things that became apparent to us," says Paff, "is that operators are going to have to watch their networks seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Northpoint: A true test?

April 30, 1999 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Home Video Viewer and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Here's an interesting idea. Because DBS satellites are parked over the equator, DBS home dishes all point to the south. So if you had terrestrial transmitters pointing south, with receive dishes pointing north, you could use the same frequencies. In fact, you could use the same set-top boxes for both DBS and this terrestrial service, and merely add a second antenna and switch between the two an...

Taking aim at cable modems

April 30, 1999 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor-in-Chief | Comments

Consolidation within the cable television industry has clouded the issue a bit, but most people still consider Denver and the Rocky Mountain West to be the capital of cable TV. It is perhaps appropriate, then, that US West has targeted the area for its massive roll-out of digital subscriber line-based services.


DOCIS heads north

March 31, 1999 7:00 pm | by James Careless | Comments

Canada's Cogeco Cable has gone where no MSO has gone before: it has commercially deployed DOCSIS (Data-Over-Cable Service Interface Specification) cable modems to all but one of its systems in Ontario, Canada. The only exception is Kingston, where Cogeco Cable has clustered its older LANCity modems to use up their effective lifespans.


Wrestling with return path realities

March 31, 1999 7:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

Upgrading cable plant to include an active two-way path is being touted as the latest and greatest passage to new revenue streams. New services such as high-speed data, telephony, video-on-demand and others are fast emerging as integral components to a cable operator's business model. Invest anywhere from $75 to $180 per home passed, or about $1,500 a mile, according to industry experts, and vo...

Hammering out digital video standards

March 31, 1999 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Cable standardizer and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Digital video standards activities are winding down—many of the controversies have been resolved. The two areas that remain uncertain are copy protection and data/multimedia broadcasting. Digital video and audio formats There has been essentially no change in the video and audio transmission standards since completion of the Grand Alliance work.

Economics 101: Retail - really?

March 31, 1999 7:00 pm | by Walter S. Ciciora, Ph.D., Recognized Industry Expert on Cable and Consumer Electronics Issues | Comments

The lesson to be learned is that "compatibility" and "compliance" are very difficult issues. While listening to a radio talk show in Colorado, I heard something very scary. I'll never forget what one caller asked: "Why do they keep raising my taxes? Why doesn't the government just pay for it?" Many Americans are lacking in fundamental economic skills.

Radical optical solutions demand review

March 31, 1999 7:00 pm | by Fred Dawson, Contributing Editor | Comments

... part II Opening a new window Upstream applications also represent one of the main reasons behind emerging interest in the possibility of opening the 1400 nm window to cable use. S-A, working with Lucent Technologies Inc., has taken the lead in this area, with tentative plans to develop an alternative to its own TDM and other strategies for maximizing return efficiency.


Securing a lifeline for cable telephony

February 28, 1999 7:00 pm | by Ham Mathews, Director of IP Business Development; and Glen Skrivseth, Technical Marketing Engineer, ADC Telecommunications' Broadband Networks Division | Comments

... part II Residential gateways Having understood the value of delivering lifeline service to the consumer, MSOs need to evaluate the residential gateway devices used to offer lifeline and other services. The three predominant solutions include cable modems, set-tops and ISUs. Each has their advantages and disadvantages.

Modem installers embrace new game plan

February 28, 1999 7:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

Keeping it simple is the new mantra of cable modem vendors, manufacturers and cable operators as they prepare for the dawning of the modem installation age, and wrestle with the question du jour: Who's going to install these modems, and at what cost? Their agendas may be different, but each of the principals involved in the manufacture and distribution of cable modems and services is certain of...

In with the new

February 28, 1999 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor in Chief | Comments

MediaOne's decision to buck the industry trend by not choosing a conditional access scheme based on either Scientific-Atlanta or General Instrument technology comes as both a breath of fresh air and a case of an MSO finally putting its money where its mouth is. Instead of offering up the usual lip-service about wanting to open the market to a wider range of set-top manufacturers, MediaOne has t...

Closing the gap

February 28, 1999 7:00 pm | by Thomas G. Robinson | Comments

When it comes to personal telecommunications technology, I must be one of the Technology Smiths—you know, always trying to keep up with the Technology Joneses, but never quite getting there. I do have a PCS phone, but I sure would like to have one of those Iridium Satellite Digital communicators, and I haven't gotten beyond 56K (I've heard "cable modems are not yet available in your area,...

NGSO satellites Creating new spectrum capacity

February 28, 1999 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Satellite Orbiter and and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Radio spectrum has become so valuable, that heroic efforts are underway to create new over-the-air spectrum capacity. For example, the Ku-band satellite spectrum is all used up, with satellites spaced every two degrees along the geostationary (GSO) orbital arc. The latest technology will allow non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites to share the Ku-band, with hardly any additional interference.

IP phone: Are operators missing a trick?

February 28, 1999 7:00 pm | by Fred Dawson, Contributing Editor | Comments

... part II Voice-over-VPN The same sort of learning curve is discernible in the early adoption of various modes of conferencing and voice-over-VPN (virtual private network) services that are taking hold here and there. As with the e-commerce opportunities, these activities point the way for providers of high-speed data access to develop value-added components by using the quality-of-service ca...

Is cable WIRED into home NETWORKS?

February 28, 1999 7:00 pm | by David Iler, Associate Editor | Comments

... part II The magic demographics that have captured the imaginations of the home networking proponents are based on the astounding growth of Internet usage and the popularity of home offices. The Yankee Group estimates there are more than 12.5 million multi-PC homes in the U.S., while estimates of U.


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