Hacking the Cable Modem, published just a month ago, provides fairly explicit instructions on how to break into and modify RCA modems from Thomson, WebStars from Scientific Atlanta, SurfBoards from Motorola, and cable modems from D-Link.
The author of Hacking the Cable Modem is a fellow who calls himself DerEngel - the angel. Most every CMTS and cable modem vendor is familiar with this guy. He's been publishing how-to's, distributing software people can use for hacks, and is even involved in reselling modems and hawking hackware through an operation called TCNISO.
I suspect most in the cable industry consider DerEngel to be der teufel. But I digress.
Hacking the Cable Modem
What's interesting about this guy is not so much the fact that he's out there hacking cable modems, nor that he's telling anybody who's interested how to do it themselves. For the most part, his hacks are beyond the capabilities of the average cable modem subscriber. Or maybe just beyond the patience of the average cable modem subscriber. Or both.
No, the interesting thing about DerEngel is why he does what he does, or claims to, anyway. Back during the DOCSIS 1.0 era, he got aggravated when he found out his cable modem could go faster, but it capped the transmission rate he was getting. Nowadays he advises against uncapping modems - publicly anyway.
But just like many an engineer, he got on to something, and he won't let go until he thoroughly understands it. And because the industry keeps improving cable modems, there's more for him to keep trying to understand.
And because he's an engineer, he wants to share what he knows, hence the book. So the industry is stuck with the guy and the like-minded individuals he collaborates with and inspires.
DerEngel is not some unique anomaly. He's right on the bell graph of average broadband users, albeit way over on the right side of the curve. People have a desire for data transmission speed. If they can have it, they want it. DerEngel is different only in that he had both the motivation and the means to take what he wasn't given for free.
It isn't a far leap from the general attitude of, "If the speed is available, I should have the option to have it," to the position of, "If the application is available, I should have the option to have it."
The way I've got it figured, this leads into the network neutrality debate. The task of the cable industry is to clearly explain what's possible when it comes to applications, and under what circumstances. Provided the position is fair, a good explanation should go a long way.
When it comes to speed, the industry has made a fair argument that it has to manage its bandwidth, and part of that is selling more bandwidth for more money.
By the remarks in his book, DerEngel seems to have come to a philosophical accommodation with the idea of service tiers. He - like almost every other subscriber - has accepted that you get certain speeds under certain conditions. That is to say, you get what you pay for.
When it comes to applications, I think the industry can make a fair argument that it has to manage its bandwidth, and part of that is selling service settings for money. Provided the prices are fair, I should think most people can get on board with that. And if the proposition isn't fair, DerEngel and his pals will figure out a way to communicate that.
Hong Kong IPTV provider goes interactive with ICTV
PCCW Limited will use ICTV's ActiveVideo Distribution Network to enable interactivity on PCCW's IPTV service, called "now TV."
The first ActiveVideo channel offered by now TV will be the Movie Trailer Channel. Subscribers will be able to preview films from United Artists, choose cinema locations, check program times, request seat locations, and buy tickets using their standard remote controls.
The ActiveVideo Distribution Network is a usage-based content distribution service that enables operators, programmers and advertisers to bring video programming and advertising models from the Internet to the television, including ads that are targeted, auditable, interactive and actionable.
Now TV offers more than 110 channels, with 15 channels at no charge, and the rest available on an a la carte basis. PCCW says now TV has 654,000 subscribers.
offers a range
of video features
V CAST offers daily snacks
Instead of making customers sign up (and pay) for the monthly meal, Verizon has launched a new daily subscription option for its mobile V CAST video service.
The new subscription option costs $3 per day, and gives customers 24-hour access to V CAST's range of TV show recaps, movie trailers, news, and sports clips.
In comparison, the monthly VPak subscription costs $15. The daily subscription service will also give customers the ability to try the service before making a larger commitment.
It might also draw more customers to mobile video services, a category that has had questionable adoption. A recent survey of U.S. adults found that just 16 percent of respondents would like to have the ability to watch video or TV via their cell phones. The highest score went to mobile mapping features (51 percent), followed by sending text messages (48 percent), taking pictures (47 percent), and playing games (34 percent).
On Command checks in Amino's IPTV set-tops
On Command has equipped some of its hotel industry customers with Amino's AmiNET series set-tops to provide in-room interactive entertainment and access to guest service systems.
On Command is using the Amino boxes for pay-per-view movies as well as broadcast channels, on-demand games, and information services. The AmiNET series of IPTV set-top boxes can be configured with MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 encoding standards, standard and high definition TV, personal video recording and home networking.
On Command, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Media, is a provider of in-room entertainment technology to the lodging and cruise ship industries.
The RCA Akimbo Player
Akimbo owners get
major studio movies through Movielink
Akimbo said Movielink has programmed its VOD service specifically for the Akimbo Player. That means owners of the Akimbo Player will be able to download movies, on a VOD basis, from several major studios that make films available through MovieLink, including Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Studios, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.
Prices will range from $0.99 to $4.99. The RCA Akimbo Player allows consumers to download video through a broadband connection to watch later on TV.
Verizon launches FiOS TV service in Mineola, N.Y.
Verizon is now offering its FiOS TV service to subscribers in Mineola and in East Rockaway, N.Y., in a cluster of towns on Long Island, just outside New York City. On the slate for FiOS TV service later this year are the Town of Greenburgh in Rockland County, and, upon New York State Public Service Commission approval, the Long Island communities of Smithtown, Huntington, Valley Stream and Farmingdale, as well as the Westchester County village of Irvington.
3102 Business Phone
IBM, 3Com combo on corporate VoIP
IBM and 3Com announced the first customers for their new IP telephony products, designed to integrate directly with customers' core business applications. They include the Fashion Institute of Design Management, Polar Beverages, and Typex Group.
The IBM System i IP Telephony product, announced in April, combines all VoIP system elements into a single computing platform from IBM, teamed with 3Com's VCX systems. The simplicity of the system is designed to appeal to smaller operations with limited IT resources.
The System i IP Telephony Express Editions, expected to be available in early November 2006, are sized and priced for companies from 100 to 1,000 users and can be added to new or existing System i platforms. IBM is offering System i IP Telephony Express Editions in both single and double system versions - one to act as the primary system and another correctly sized, configured and priced to serve as the back up system where the highest availability is required. A single system offering starts at $37,900 and a double system offering for high availability starts at $51,900.
Cedar Point to get schooled in selling VoIP to colleges
Cedar Point Communications has hooked up with Sentri, which will now support deployments of Cedar Point's SAFARI C3 Multimedia Switching System within the campus and enterprise markets.
Sentri will work with Cedar Point to identify prospective customers, and to create and sell solutions that include SAFARI C3 as part of a comprehensive VoIP architecture. Sentri will also provide installation and remote and on-site technical support capabilities.
Cedar Point apparently had a good experience with the University of Massachusetts, and expects there's more business to be had on college campuses (see story). The University of Massachusetts deployed the SAFARI C3 to support services to a base of more than 30,000 users on its campus.
TWC makes it official: Siemens servers for its VoIP network
Time Warner Cable officially selected the Surpass IP servers from Siemens Networks as a key component of its VoIP systems as it rolls out the service.
TWC has been testing the Siemens equipment in its Herndon, Va. system (see story). TWC is planning its migration path from VoIP to converged services based on the IMS architecture, and has apparently decided the Surpass system will do the trick.
In the short term, in addition to providing call management functionality, the Siemens platform will help Time Warner Cable deliver a growing feature set to TWC's Digital Phone subscribers. TWC says 1.6 million of its 14.4 million U.S. subscribers take its Digital Phone service.
Siemens' Surpass hiQ platforms have also been deployed by Cablevision, Shaw Cable in Canada, Multimedios in Mexico, and UPC, Com Hem, Casema and Essent in Europe, among many others.
VoIP completes two phase 1s:
Of net expansion and of restructuring
VoIP Inc. said its carrier subsidiary, Volo Communications, has built out its network to now include locations in New York, Florida, Massachusetts and Georgia. There are 50 million households and business subscriber lines in those areas, by VoIP's count, which the company was able to reach previously, but only through the facilities of other carriers. The company plans to next establish its own facilities in Colorado, Texas, New Jersey, Arizona, Washington, North Carolina and California.
Separately, the company completed the first phase of its restructuring, by streamlining operations, and reducing its overall level of indebtedness and raising additional capital. VoIP Inc. converted approximately $7 million in debentures into common stock, and separately raised $2.3 million via a private placement. The company also terminated its marketing and distribution agreement with Phone House Inc. Additional cost-cutting measures will follow.
Vonage subs can dial 511 for traffic updates
Vonage continues to add to the slate of services available to its customers. Vonage customers can now dial 511 from their Vonage phones, at no charge, to receive local traffic reports from their area 511 systems. There are currently thirty 511 systems operating in 26 states. Last week, Vonage cut a deal to make AccuWeather reports available to its subscribers.
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Dish Network starts packaging video-data double play
EchoStar Communications is now offering a bundle of video cobbled together with satellite-based Internet access from WildBlue. WildBlue's top tier offers transmission speeds of 1.5 Mbps downstream and 256 kbps up.
Packages start at $49.95 per month - the same price WildBlue charges for its lowest tier. Service includes multiple email addresses, web hosting space, and 24/7 Dish Network technical support. A separate satellite dish is required to receive the high-speed Internet service.
low-power Wi-Fi chips for mobile devices
Broadcom announced a new family of ultra-low power 54g wireless LAN (WLAN) chips for high-performance Wi-Fi connectivity.
Broadcom says its silicon is suitable for a wide range of mobile devices and portable consumer electronics, including mobile phones, portable media players, handheld gaming systems and digital cameras.
Broadcom has one chip for 802.11b/g applications and another that combines 802.11a/b/g. The company is claiming unparalleled power performance; unique algorithms for improved coexistence with Bluetooth wireless radios; and superior RF performance.
Broadcom's power performance claims are based on high integration and a software architecture, which in combination, help the chips intelligently manage how they transmit and receive data packets. The company rates power consumption at less than 270 mW.
Both chips can be combined with Broadcom's Bluetooth, VoIP, multimedia processor, FM radio and cellular products.
The two new ICs are sampling to early access customers.
Sprint revs up EV-DO Revision A deployment
San Diego is home to Sprint's first foray into EV-DO Revision A, an advanced mobile broadband platform that gooses upstream capacity.
EV-DO Revision A supports average upload speeds of 300 to 400 kbps, and an average of 450 to 800 kbps in the downstream. In comparison, current EV-DO networks offer an average of 50-70 kbps upstream, and 400-700 kbps downstream.
Sprint said it expects to offer the faster technology in 20 more markets in 2006, and reach north of 40 million people. Most initial deployments will be concentrated in airports and business districts.
Markets scheduled for 2007 EV-DO Revision A launches include Denver; Kansas City, Mo.; San Francisco; Seattle; Boston; Newark/Trenton, N.J.; New York City; Las Vegas; Sacramento; Pittsburgh; Detroit; Buffalo; Providence; Philadelphia; Los Angeles; Salt Lake City; Washington, D.C.; Milwaukee; Hartford, Conn.; and Baltimore.
The entire Sprint "Power Vision" will be upgraded for the new technology by Q3 2007, the company predicted.
Ciena's CoreDirector Multiservice switch
Internet 2 to use Ciena switch
Ciena has bumped up its participation in the Internet2 consortium to the corporate partner level, and said its CoreDirector Multiservice Switch will be deployed in Internet2's advanced research and education network, which is still being built and is scheduled for full operation in mid-2007.
Ciena also recently began participation in Internet2's Hybrid Optical and Packet Infrastructure (HOPI) project, a national scale network test bed.
Juniper intros new Ethernet router
Juniper Networks introduced its MX960 Ethernet Services Router, a high-density, purpose-built, Carrier Ethernet platform. The company admits to being late to the party with an Ethernet router, but explained it has engineered a system that can be expanded to 480 GigE ports, which translates into anywhere from double to quadruple the maximum capacity of rival systems from Cisco or Alcatel.
The router is expected to provide aggregation at the edge of Ethernet networks. That's still more appropriate for telco customers, but as cable operators start offering Ethernet-based services - notably business services - they will find the MX960 increasingly attractive, Juniper said.
RCN Business Solutions certified for Ethernet services
RCN Business Solutions has been certified compliant with Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) specifications for Ethernet Private Line (EPL), Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL), and Ethernet LAN (ELAN) services. The MEF certification program involved a series of lab tests and remote monitoring tests on RCN's network and network equipment. RCN's test results passed the standards established by the MEF 9 test suite specification. RCN Business Solutions is a wholly-owned, but separately managed, division of RCN.