Isdn Vs. Cable Modems Essay

2706 words - 11 pages

1.0 IntroductionThe Internet is a network of networks that interconnects computers aroundthe world, supporting both business and residential users. In 1994, amultimedia Internet application known as the World Wide Web becamepopular. The higher bandwidth needs of this application have highlightedthe limited Internet access speeds available to residential users. Even at 28.8Kilobits per second (Kbps)--the fastest residential access commonlyavailable at the time of this writing--the transfer of graphical images can befrustratingly slow.This report examines two enhancements to existing residentialcommunications infrastructure: Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN),and cable television networks upgraded to pass bi-directional digital traffic(Cable Modems). It analyzes the potential of each enhancement to deliverInternet access to residential users. It validates the hypothesis that upgradedcable networks can deliver residential Internet access more cost-effectively,while offering a broader range of services.The research for this report consisted of case studies of two commercialdeployments of residential Internet access, each introduced in the spring of1994:· Continental Cablevision and Performance Systems International (PSI)jointly developed PSICable, an Internet access service deployed overupgraded cable plant in Cambridge, Massachusetts;· Internex, Inc. began selling Internet access over ISDN telephonecircuits available from Pacific Bell. Internex's customers are residences andsmall businesses in the 'Silicon Valley' area south of San Francisco,California.2.0 The InternetWhen a home is connected to the Internet, residential communicationsinfrastructure serves as the 'last mile' of the connection between thehome computer and the rest of the computers on the Internet. Thissection describes the Internet technology involved in that connection.This section does not discuss other aspects of Internet technology indetail; that is well done elsewhere. Rather, it focuses on the servicesthat need to be provided for home computer users to connect to theInternet.2.1ISDN and upgraded cable networks will each provide different functionality(e.g. type and speed of access) and cost profiles for Internet connections. Itmight seem simple enough to figure out which option can provide the neededlevel of service for the least cost, and declare that option 'better.' A keyproblem with this approach is that it is difficult to define exactly the neededlevel of service for an Internet connection. The requirements depend onthe applications being run over the connection, but these applications areconstantly changing. As a result, so are the costs of meeting the applications'requirements.Until about twenty years ago, human conversation was by far the dominantapplication running on the telephone network. The network wasconsequently optimized to provide the type and quality of service needed forconversation. Telephone traffic engineers measured aggregate...

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