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Broadband Direct

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

Set-top deals: Brilliance or blunder?

January 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Remember that TCI made these deals with two goals in mind: to jump-start its foray into digital TV; and to compel the industry at large to do the same thing via an interoperable, standards-based platform. There's little doubt in my mind the former will be achieved; it's the latter I'm not so sure about.

DWDM no longer too costly for hub interconnects

January 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Tim Wilk, Scientific Atlanta | Comments

As broadband operators work to reduce costs and achieve economies of scale, many are consolidating their local networks into large, regional systems by connecting them with digital fiber rings. Where each system previously had its own headend, they are now tied into a regional network of one or two primary signal source "super headends" and several distribution hubs.


Redefining State of the Art

January 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty and Dana Cervenka | Comments

It used to be that fiber optic technology, when it first garnered its "state-of-the-art" moniker, was something many cable professionals thought was on par with "Flash Gordon" or "Star Trek" (depending on your age). But today, there aren't many engineers who would consider upgrading or building a broadband network without some amount of glass cable.


Business applications over cable networks (Evaluating technologies for business broadband access)

December 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Jian Zhang and Tim Hall, Terayon Communication Systems | Comments

The Internet is not only changing the way we communicate in our daily life, but it is also fundamentally changing the way we conduct business. Information exchange today extends well beyond communication within a building or business campus, and the applications go well beyond e-mail and corporate Intranet.


Helping Cox make emerging technologies pay off competitively

December 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Alex Best has been having visions. No, there's nothing wrong with Alex's health. Quite the contrary. The visions Alex is having are good ones, related to the future competitive landscape. Like many of his cable engineering brethren, they revolve around his company becoming the primary provider of video and telecom services.


Here comes the new FCC

December 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Watcher and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy of Rockville, Maryland | Comments

And most recently, we learned that the chief of the cable bureau plans to resign. Among other things, all of this change guarantees delays in decision-making. But considering some of the decisions made under the last FCC chairman, delay is just fine, thank you. Once upon a time There used to be seven FCC commissioners, but now there are five.

Cablephone flies in the Netherlands (A2000 signs $100M contract to build network)

December 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Dana Cervenka | Comments

Reports of cable telephony's demise may have been greatly exaggerated, especially outside of the U.S., where different dynamics are at work, making the service an attractive offering in cable operators' multi-service arsenal. One case in point is cable operator A2000 Cable Television and Telecommunications, a Netherlands-based joint venture between United & Philips Communications (UPC) B.


Where do we go from here? (Four CTOs bring us up-to-speed)

November 30, 1997 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Heading into this year's Western Cable Show, the cable industry stands at a crossroads. It is about to embark on a historic journey that will take it into an era that includes digital video, high-speed data and potentially other services, including interactive TV and telephone-over-cable. To determine how the MSOs are preparing for this new future, we brought together four highly-respected seni...


Broadband telecom center explores last-mile technology

November 30, 1997 7:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl | Comments

The Georgia Institute of Technology's Broadband Telecommunications Center (BTC), with nearly $3 million in funding from the Georgia state lottery, is establishing itself as a valuable research center for the cable and telecommunications industries, and has the attention of a growing number of member cable operators and telecommunications companies.


Regulatory goo buys more time for groups to craft LMDS plans

November 30, 1997 7:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

The movement of terrestrial wireless broadband technology into commercial deployment is shaking up thinking in the telecommunications arena just as the moment has arrived when decisions must be made regarding soon-to-be auctioned LMDS spectrum. "We have about two weeks to go before we have to reach a decision on LMDS, so there's a lot of focus on the question," said one official at US West Comm...


Two-way wireless cable in the works

November 30, 1997 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Wireless Cable Wiring Expert and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Wireless cable background Wireless cable operates in the 2500–2690 MHz range. It is comprised of two kinds of radio licenses, Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS) and Instructional Fixed Television Service (ITFS). The ITFS licensees are educational institutions that use the channels for distributing educational coursework and lectures, but they are permitted to lease their ...

In the case of high-speed modems, it's buyer beware

November 30, 1997 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Of course, interoperability between modem vendors is the key question. When the MCNS consortium (consisting of cable MSOs TCI, Time Warner, Comcast and Cox) first began drafting a standards document, it was with interoperability in mind. The intent was to eventually make modems available at retail and to make sure that no matter where the subscriber lives, any vendor's device would work in any ...

Making a modulation choice (Which one is right for you?)

November 30, 1997 7:00 pm | by Aravanan Gurusami (, Senior Engineering Manager, Digital Transmission Systems; and Michael Nekhamkin (, Senior Staff Engineer, Digital Transmission Systems, Philips Broadband Networks Inc | Comments

Deciding which return path (multipoint-to-point) modulation technology is right for your HFC network is a complex task. You must consider a number of criteria for a number of technologies, some of which are just beginning to be tested in the field. How do you make a sound decision? First, of course, you learn all you can about your choices.

Port mismatches pose challenge

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Mark Laubach, Chief Technical Officer, Com21 Inc. | Comments

The deployment of high-speed data services over all-coax and hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks has always been anticipated to follow a relatively straightforward implementation strategy. However, recent industry experience deploying cable modem termination systems (CMTSs) has uncovered an unforeseen and challenging system engineering issue when deploying new services over HFC systems.


Want the whole story? The eyes have it

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Tom Robinson | Comments

Early on, television's strong and lasting visual imagery pegged it as the "cool fire." Moreover, now that TV has become the top source of news and information for many in our nation, the imagery that we see can significantly influence our attitudes. This is one reason why it is especially important to get the words along with the picture in order to get the whole story that is being conveyed.


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