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3 January 1996 Broadband network selection issues
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Selecting the best network for a given cable or telephone company provider is not as obvious as it appears. The cost and performance trades between Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC), Fiber to the Curb (FTTC) and Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line networks lead to very different choices based on the existing plant and the expected interactive subscriber usage model. This paper presents some of the issues and trades that drive network selection. The majority of the Interactive Television trials currently underway or planned are based on HFC networks. As a throw away market trial or a short term strategic incursion into a cable market, HFC may make sense. In the long run, if interactive services see high demand, HFC costs per node and an ever shrinking neighborhood node size to service large numbers of subscribers make FTTC appear attractive. For example, thirty-three 64-QAM modulators are required to fill the 550 MHz to 750 MHz spectrum with compressed video streams in 6 MHz channels. This large amount of hardware at each node drives not only initial build-out costs, but operations and maintenance costs as well. FTTC, with its potential for digitally switching large amounts of bandwidth to an given home, offers the potential to grow with the interactive subscriber base with less downstream cost. Integrated telephony on these networks is an issue that appears to be an afterthought for most of the networks being selected at the present time. The major players seem to be videocentric and include telephony as a simple add-on later. This may be a reasonable view point for the telephone companies that plan to leave their existing phone networks untouched. However, a phone company planning a network upgrade or a cable company jumping into the telephony business needs to carefully weigh the cost and performance issues of the various network choices. Each network type provides varying capability in both upstream and downstream bandwidth for voice channels. The noise characteristics vary as well. Cellular quality will not be tolerated by the home or business consumer. The network choices are not simple or obvious. Careful consideration of the cost and performance trades along with cable or telephone company strategic plans is required to ensure selecting the best network.
© (1996) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Michael E. Leimer "Broadband network selection issues", Proc. SPIE 2615, Integration Issues in Large Commercial Media Delivery Systems, (3 January 1996);


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