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High Speed Internet Access over common Cable TV

Here are some excellent URLs on CableModem technology and other sites:

* Comparison of ISDN to ADSL to Cablemodems and my initial thoughts of @Home's service


Chambers Cable is trying again..


Chambers Cable of Chico, CA is starting a commercially available cablemodem service for a relatively low cost. Though the system may seem initially like a good deal, there are several problems with their design that will make it ultimately fail until they upgrade their coax cable plant. Here are the facts as of November 1st, 1997:

*Why should you be weary of Chamber's second attempt? !!!So should you buy it? Hmmm... that depends. When the system works properly, it should be significantly faster than 33.6 / 56Kb/s modems or ISDN. The issues will be about how well they manage the system and whether or not they will upgrade their coax backbone to deal with the new demand. If you can get lease a cablemodem from Chambers and you are willing to deal with slow to dead network performance on occasion.. go for it. Try it.

Chambers Cable and CSU Chico's original Cablemodem venture..

Chambers Cable and California State University, Chico conducted a preliminary test of sending/receiving TCP/IP over existing Cable TV system at 10Mb/s (Ethernet speeds). This pilot lasted about 8-10 months and Chico State wanted to deploy the system on a city-wide basis but Chambers Cable was not interested in investing the necessary money to bring their existing system up to 1990's specs. Ultimately, to make a long story short, Chambers dropped the project since they didn't feel that Cablemodems would be a profitable venture. This is very unfortunate for the power users of Chico since the only other high speed alternative to cablemodems is ADSL.

How does it work:

In Chico, Chambers Cable provides various television programming from channel 2 to, currently, channel 36. Cablemodems and other hardware made by LanCity Corporation, receive Internet traffic on an unused channel (37) and send Internet traffic back on channel (-2). If you would have tuned your TV to channel (37) when the pilot was active, you would have noticed the slightly moving horizontal lines. Between those two lines was network data traffic!

A little Background:

Each non-compressed television channel uses typically about 6Mhz [6 million signals per second] of bandwidth for both the video and audio signals. In contrast, a common analog telephone line uses only about 3.2Khz of bandwidth. So if you think your 28.8k modem is fast.. you haven't seen anything yet! Putting it very generically, the cablemodem is just like an analog modem using a MUCH larger bandwidth to transmit and receive data over a different connection.

This how my test network was configured. This screen capture was taken from the Win95 application 'Ws_Watch' now called What's UP from IpSwitch [very cool]

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Last Updated: 09/13/99

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