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Broadband Direct

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

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.

Singing the digital must-carry blues

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Pushing the Cable Signal Carriage and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

But one thing is certain—the industry is relying on the NCTA to take the lead in lobbying these important techno-political issues at the FCC, but I've heard disturbing rumors that the NCTA is thinking about eliminating its Science & Technology Department. That would be a mistake. When Congress amended the Communications Act in 1992, it required most cable systems to allocate up to one...

How do you replace an industry icon?

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

If you do, the National Cable Television Association wants to hear from you — now. You'd have to be living under a rock not to know that Wendell Bailey, who held down the top engineering job at the NCTA for the past 16 years, has departed. Some even feared that the NCTA was considering not replacing him, opting instead to let Cable Television Laboratories and the Society of Cable Telecomm...


21st Century lays out its plan

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

Not since the days of the notorious Al Capone has Chicago seen the all-out war that's about to be unleashed there. When the Telecom Act was overhauled in 1996, supporters promised it would lead to a new era of competition. Generally, however, that hasn't yet happened, except in a few markets. But soon, the city of Chicago will witness a shoot-out so intense, it might match the bloodletting that...


Operators dodge flak in Silicon Valley

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

The Open Cable set-top initiative notwithstanding, the cable industry faces an uphill battle when it comes to any effort to insulate itself from the influence of Microsoft Corp. over the software framework for next-generation media. Industry leaders have made clear their desire to facilitate flexibility in their choice of set-top operating systems through a terminal architecture that can exploi...

Are there strings attached?

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty | Comments

Up until just a couple of months ago, the cable industry seemed to be the butt of a well-worn Rodney Dangerfield joke — the industry just couldn't get no respect. It's amazing what $1 billion here and $1 billion there can do to change people's perceptions practically overnight. Suddenly this summer, cable operators were touring the Silicon Valley.

Suddenly, the team doesn't feel the same

September 30, 1997 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Reaction throughout the highest levels within the cable industry's technical community might have been similar last month when Wendell Bailey, the National Cable Television Association's venerable VP of science and technology, parted from the Washington-based lobbying organization after 16-plus years.

IP telephony plan no longer stuck on 'hold'

September 30, 1997 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

IP telephony, floated as an interesting possibility for cable interests in industry forums at the start of this year, has quickly moved to the front burner, bringing with it a seachange in MSO thinking about voice services, and indeed, about data networking in general. Cable companies and their affiliates involved in the delivery of data services are working closely with a variety of vendors in...

Place your bets

September 30, 1997 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Spectrum Auction Strategist and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Background In 1991, the FCC granted a license for 1000 MHz of spectrum in the 27.5–28.5 GHz band in New York City to a company that is now known as CellularVision of New York (CVNY). CVNY proposed to use the spectrum to offer 49 channels of analog video, in a network configuration that reused the 1000 MHz of spectrum in cells only a few miles in radius.

The effects of bit on baud demystified

September 30, 1997 8:00 pm | by Jim Farmer | Comments

The correct answer: "affect" is usually a verb, so use that word when you mean to do something. "Affect" can also be a noun, if you are referring to someone's "emotional affect," or the conscious subjective aspect of an emotion, separate and distinct from bodily changes. "Effect" is usually a noun, so use it when you are talking about something.


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