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Broadband Communications and Networking
Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.
Broadband communications is usually considered to be any technology with transmission rates above the fastest speed available over a telephone line. Broadband transmission systems typically provide channels for data transmissions in different directions and by many different users. For example, the coaxial CATV system is a broadband system that delivers multiple television channels over the same cable. In addition, it can handle data transmissions (primarily Internet access for home users) in an entirely different frequency spectrum.
Refer to "Network Core Technologies" for information about transmission systems such as SONET and DWDM that are used at the core of carrier and service provider networks.
Typical broadband communication systems include the following:
DSL, cable, and broadband wireless will largely solve the problem of providing high bandwidth to home users. This is the so-called "last mile," although last mile has traditionally referred to the copper local loop that connects homes to local telephone central offices. In this respect, CATV and broadband wireless have never had a last-mile problem. DSL solves the last-mile problem in the local loop.
Another aspect of most of these broadband technologies (although not directly related to the definition of broadband) is that they provide direct access to the Internet. There is no need to dial up and hope you get a connection. You are always connected, in the same way that your TV is always connected to the CATV network.
As bandwidth increases, customers will gain access to higher qualities of service for voice, video, and data using packet-based Internet technologies. Global Internet-based telephone calls and videoconferences will become more commonplace, as will distance learning and high-resolution imaging as applied in areas like telemedicine.
An interesting technology that can provide broadband service is HALO (High Altitude Long Operation), which is a scheme to put high-flying planes or balloons above major metropolitan areas. Angel technologies is promoting HALO in the form of a 28-GHz LMDS system that typically uses three planes as aerial base stations. Data rates are in the 10-Mbit/sec range. Skystation International uses balloons that provide 1-Mbit/sec to 12-Mbit/sec transfer rates. The systems connect with ISP and carriers so that users can access the global telecommunications infrastructure.
Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.