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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...