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Broadband Direct

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

The comet is here; Are you ready to see it?

February 28, 1997 7:00 pm | by Jim Farmer | Comments

For the rest of our time on earth Tom Bopp spoke first, of how he discovered the comet on July 22, 1995. An amateur astronomer, he had planned a casual evening of stellar observation with a friend at a remote observing point (remoteness is a hazard of the hobby, because city lights are anathema to astronomers).

More style than substance?

February 28, 1997 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

It's every cable operator's nightmare: It's Super Bowl Sunday. Millions of viewers are camped out in front of their TVs. Parties have been organized around what is arguably the premier TV event of the year. Then the cable goes out. A scene like that could cost a cable company dearly in its fight for respectability in the customer service war, undoing several years of efforts to improve network ...

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In wireless world, hearing is believing

February 28, 1997 7:00 pm | by Tom Robinson | Comments

Boldly, I've even scheduled participation in conference calls, knowing I was going to have to take them on the car phone. Such an arrangement, though, has sometimes, put me in significant distress, for just as I'm about to make the critical point that I hope will win the group over to my side, suddenly, the connection gets filled with static, cross-talk, or worse yet, silence (silence is not go...

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Looking through rose-colored binoculars

February 28, 1997 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

The fact of the matter is, no one really knows how many minutes a year the telephone network doesn't work. Or, if anyone knows, they aren't telling. In the course of preparing this month's cover story, it became abundantly clear to me that network reliability is a slippery concept — there are no established guidelines by which to calculate availability figures.

Arch-rivals work together on telephony standards

February 28, 1997 7:00 pm | by James Careless | Comments

In public, they're arch-rivals, but behind closed doors, Canada's cable and telephone industries are quietly working together, developing standards for local competitive telephone service. The reason they're doing this—in league with other long distance and wireless telephone service providers—is because a regulator has told them to.

Consumers, the DVD and copy protection

January 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Wendell Bailey | Comments

The DVD can play (and in certain models, record) video on a disk that is the same size and appearance as a CD-ROM. This new device can hold a complete movie in digital form. It is expected that DVDs will be sold as stand-alone consumer devices, as well as ancillary computer devices to be used like CD-ROM players.

Latest New Year's resolution — read more!

January 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Walt Ciciora | Comments

So am I going to suggest you start reading novels and "great literature?" No, not at all. I'm going to sneak up on that proposal and suggest instead that you read material that deals with the history of our industry and related industries and the biographies of some of its pioneers. CED told me I could write about anything I wished.

Gov't regulation and intellectual property

January 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Intellectual Property Developer and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

For hardware, the intellectual property is an idea or concept or algorithm (such as MPEG-2 compression) and the way that it is embodied or implemented in the hardware, and is usually protected by patents. For video or audio programming and books and magazines, the intellectual property is the programming or publication itself, and is protected by copyrights.

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LatestNewYear'sresolution—readmore!

January 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Walt Ciciora | Comments

So am I going to suggest you start reading novels and "great literature?" No, not at all. I'm going to sneak up on that proposal and suggest instead that you read material that deals with the history of our industry and related industries and the biographies of some of its pioneers. CED told me I could write about anything I wished.

Clearing out the cobwebs in the attic

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

With the bloom off the residential telephony rose, cable engineers are back to pondering the merits of powered drops, power-passing taps and cable telephony systems. Not having to run power down the drop avoids a lot of headaches today, but where does that leave the industry in its quest to offer new services in the future? Should network planners do it anyway? Oddly, the tepid market for cable...

Grafting WDM onto existing cable systems

January 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Venk Mutalik, Fiberoptics Engineer, Philips Broadband Networks Inc. | Comments

With the advent of 1550 nm optically amplified systems, cable companies can now provide a point-to-point link between two headends, as well as provide multi-split options at the receiving headend, thereby reaching the subscriber node without any electrical conversion. This efficient method of information transfer is transparent to system upgrades and best preserves the system CNR.

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Implementing redundant fiber architectures

January 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Dr. Eric Schweitzer, Product Manager, Harmonic Lightwaves | Comments

As system operators offer advanced services such as video-on-demand, Internet access and telephony, the need for providing reliable, "interrupt-free" service escalates. The first step to ensuring that customers receive high-quality, reliable service is to implement redundant network architectures, where a backup system seamlessly fills in during times of primary system outage.

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Cable moves ahead in high-speed data race

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

While debate over the technical viability and relative merits of cable modems and telco xDSL rages on, the real question regarding long-term strength of these competing technologies concerns their chances for becoming off-the-shelf components in the retail computer hardware market. The cable industry scored a major success in this direction in early December with preliminary agreement among par...

Latest New Year's resolution — read more!

January 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Walt Ciciora | Comments

So am I going to suggest you start reading novels and "great literature?" No, not at all. I'm going to sneak up on that proposal and suggest instead that you read material that deals with the history of our industry and related industries and the biographies of some of its pioneers. CED told me I could write about anything I wished.

LatestNewYear'sresolution—readmore!

January 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Walt Ciciora | Comments

So am I going to suggest you start reading novels and "great literature?" No, not at all. I'm going to sneak up on that proposal and suggest instead that you read material that deals with the history of our industry and related industries and the biographies of some of its pioneers. CED told me I could write about anything I wished.

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