Friday, January 30, 2009

200MB-400MB Broadband over Power Line (BPL) from DS2

DS2 Corporation

DS2 technology allows any electrical network to be converted into a high-speed access mechanism. DS2 supports powerful repetition capabilities, which allows the PLC signal to reach any corner of a building. Multi-dwelling units, hotels and schools can be easily connected for high-speed networking.

Last mile access can be provided by using the electrical cabling that connects every building to its transformer substation; it is even possible to fit medium voltage transformer stations with DS2-based equipment, allowing quick and inexpensive deployment of metropolitan area networks using the medium voltage powerlines (which carry 10 kVolts to 66 kVolts of electricity) as a transmission medium.

How it Works:
Original Article

A Brief History of Powerline Communications

Powerline first started in the '30s with a few power companies sending signals over their high voltage networks. Early applications were all narrowband and at the time, the powerline was considered to be a difficult medium for data communications due to low speed, signal attenuation, noise interference and line impedance. Broadband powerline communications have become possible in recent years due to:

· New OFDM signal modulation techniques and protocols;

· Adaptive networking methods;

· Improvements in semiconductor technologies making the technology possible and affordable

In the late 1990´s the major hurdles facing the fledgling Powerline market were still technological. Competing technologies delivered speeds of between 1, 2, 4 and up to 14Mbps, mainly for data sharing but the technology was not yet fast enough or robust enough to support the emerging broadband applications.

Robust, multi-carrier PHY for reliable communications

In 1998, DS2 a new semiconductor startup set about developing a powerline technology that would deliver higher speeds at lower cost specifically for multimedia broadband applications. Using advanced Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) as the basic modulation technique to build the physical layer (PHY), DS2 developed the first robust powerline technology with the ability to cope with the frequency selective fading channels and large time spreads in the powerline channel. Using high density constellations the DS2 OFDM PHY delivers throughput speeds of up to 200Mbps for bandwidth hungry applications such as video. The DS2 system uses High Density Advanced Modulation at each sub carrier of the OFDM signal. Each operation mode (10, 20 and 30 MHz) has 1,536 sub-carriers, the highest number for any powerline technology with modulation densities of 2 to 10 bits per sub carrier and applied independently to each sub-carrier. This ensures reliable communications even in the face of interference. Modulation parameters are adapted in real-time depending on channel quality parameters for each user and each carrier. A further benefit that arises from including such a large number of sub-carriers is the ability to introduce very narrow notches. DS2 technology supports dynamic notching which provides the flexibility to satisfy regulatory requirements around the world or to notch out specific frequencies at any time even in already deployed devices. Key specification highlights or key features of DS2´s 200Mbps Powerline technology include:

Plug and Play configuration

No configuration is required ensuring an immediate out-of-the-box plug-and-play experience essential for self install networked entertainment services such as powerline communications enabled IPTV services.

QoS for simultaneous real-time multimedia applications

For critical data transfer, the "Quality of Service" (QoS) function automatically prioritizes voice and video data over other applications. In this way, real-time applications can be transferred without interference, even if multiple devices are operated in the network at the same time, each running a different application.

Remotely managed through native TR-069 protocol

Unlike most available powerline technologies, DS2 includes on chip support for advanced remote management to deliver real time visibility of the network. In built remote management functions help service providers guarantee the minimum 20 Mbps throughput necessary to deliver high definition video applications.

Link Layer Topology Discovery protocol

DS2 includes on chip support forr advanced user side troubleshooting. Using Microsoft’s Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) protocol Windows Vista automatically detects networking devices and displays them in Windows Vista N etwork Map, allowing one-click access to the device’s Web User Interface to display the actual physical topology of the network

With throughput speed 4 times faster than WiFi DS2´s 200Mbps Powerline technology is ideal for services that require a lot of bandwidth and consistent data throughput such as Internet TV and video on demand and this high speed technology is fully compatible with DS2´s 100Mbps Powerline technology for home data and audio networking applications. No other standard or proprietary solutions available today offer full compatibility between different generations of Powerline chipset technology and products. Avoid earlier 14Mbps and 85 Mbps powerline. These versions are not compatible with any of today´s powerline devices. DS2´s 100Mbps and 200 Mbps technology is the world's highest-speed fully featured powerline communications technology and the only universal option for transmitting high-quality digital video with full home coverage. Advanced features such as quality of service management, multicast, and network isolation make this the ideal choice for any application from Smart Grid applications to integration in consumer electronics devices such as televisions, home theater and IP set-top boxes for triple play. DS2 200 Mbps chips have been awarded the prestigious Best of Innovations Award in the Software/Embedded Technologies category at CES, Las Vegas, 2005 and in 2007.


Next generation powerline communications products must support bandwidth hungry applications including FFTH, Multi-Dwelling Unit and BPL applications and within the home networking market new HD-capable multimedia applications, such as multi-channel HD-IPTV delivery or multi-room PVR that will require more than double the throughput speeds provided by today´s powerline technologies. DS2 400Mbps technology will be available in next generation products from DS2 on time to satisfy the demands for extra bandwidth in the digital home and last mile applications that most analysts predict will happen from 2009 onwards.

Microsoft's advice to the Obama administration

Original Article - InfoWorld

Now that the Obama administration has officially taken over, it's faced with technology problems all too common in today's enterprise. Chief among those, perhaps, is the goal of advancing the government's own IT infrastructure not only to catch up to and keep pace with current technology trends but also to plot a future in which U.S. residents can tap citizen services and in which Internet access becomes truly ubiquitous -- all of which have been cited by the Obama team as goals.

Susie Adams, the CTO of Microsoft's federal arm, spoke with InfoWorld Editor at Large Tom Sullivan about technology challenges the Obama administration faces, how it can give cloud computing a boost, and what enterprise CTOs and CIOs can learn from government IT practices.

[ What should be President Obama's tech strategy? InfoWorld's experts and others offer their recommendations. ]

Q: What are your first impressions of Obama and his technology intentions -- in general but also within the stimulus package specifically?

A: He's obviously very focused on broadband to the masses, which I think is necessary for cloud computing to actually take off in the consumer space, in the large enterprise space, as well as in state and local governments. It's very similar in concept to the telephone of years ago if you think about how the government got involved to provide telephone service and electricity to rural areas. He's taken a fresh look at that, which I think is good for the IT industry as a whole and the general public.

The administration is also talking about how to modernize the federal government. I've been supporting the federal government for Microsoft for over 10 years now. You can walk into agencies today and find lots of legacy remnants in their IT organizations for a variety of different reasons -- budgetary constraints on some ends, fear of the unknown on other ends, people who've been in the business 20 to 25 years just basically allowing the government to run as it has been running. I think we're starting to see that become a problem with some agencies having to spend more money than they should on their IT infrastructure and on their human capital to actually run these systems for basic core missions, not even to provide enhanced citizen services.

When I look at Obama's top-line message, it's "Hey, we really want to provide these enhanced services, we want to get into the 21st century and take advantage of Web 2.0 technologies." And they can't really do that unless their infrastructures get updated.

Obama has lofty goals for government. I think it's a very good thing, and good things will come out of it. We're starting to see trends already. If you make IT accountable for its costs, CIOs understand that's where the cloud can come in. You can start to take advantage of the economies of scale, and they're starting to do things like build their own private cloud, such as through server consolidation into three or four datacenters, and then they provide services internally.

Q: So, bearing that need to update infrastructure in mind, where will the government's IT budget go in, say, the next four years?

A: Especially right now with all the talk around the stimulus package, it's going to be very well defined where that money goes. On the whole: broadband infrastructure and making sure net neutrality is not compromised in any way.

Q: IT folks -- pundits, visionaries, and otherwise -- are calling on Obama to advance a variety of technologies, everything from a national computing cloud to a smart fabric. What would you advise our new president to focus on?

A: One of the biggest challenges facing the federal government is it doesn't really understand the current state of its IT departments. One of the things that I'd think would be on top of my mind for many of these federal agencies is to understand what they have today and what their challenges are, and then to plot a road map moving forward. Every agency is different, so it's not a one-size-shoe-fits-all. What we're finding as we work with these agencies is that some are more in a basic mode and some are a little bit worse.

Q: What one technology could the federal government adopt right now to make it more efficient?

A: I don't think it's just one technology. I don't necessarily think that across the board it's a technology problem. In some instances it is, but it really depends on the agency, what its mission is, and where it is in its IT evolution.

Q: Now, what is Microsoft's opportunity in this?

A: What we believe is our next evolution is to move to support three types of computing devices: cell phone or mobile PC, obviously the desktop, and then the cloud. That's why we introduced Azure, our commodity-based services, and things like Live Mesh.

Q: That sounds pretty similar to many of the corporate opportunities Microsoft is pursuing.

A: Right, but I would add that with government comes a number of different challenges from a security perspective. One of the biggest things government agencies are worried about is risk management, such as through encryption standards very specific to the federal government. Altogether, there are about 172 security controls out there.

Q: So what can enterprise CIOs and CTOs learn from the federal government's security practices, such as those 172 controls?

A: There are several ISO standards that encompass many of those controls, with some nuances. Obviously, from an authentication perspective, right now the civilian side of the government house requires an HSPD-12 smart card that forces you to authenticate any time you log in to any desktop or server. The commercial space is starting to catch up in terms of authentication, but then also from an ISO standards perspective, there are some vertical industries that are further down the road than others.

I think you'd want to start enterprises to conform to more of these ISO standards. The one that comes to mind is the newest one, ISO 27001.

Q: What did you think upon learning that Obama's administration tapped Sun's Scott McNeely to compile a report on open source for the government?

A: First of all, Microsoft's stance on open source is not "we hate it." Typically, people think that Microsoft and open source are oil and water. That's not the case. As for McNeely's comments, it's an interesting concept, the document, and we're very interested in reading it when it comes out.

Obama, Congress Pack Net Neutrality, Broadband Into Stimulus

Original Article - Taily Tech

House Democrats and the President push stimulus bill which contains provisions for the expansion of broadband networks and the preservation of net neutrality

Barack Obama and House Democrats talked big when it came to broadband expansion and net neutrality. Apparently, they made good on their promises and packaged net neutrality and broadband expansion provisions into an $819B USD emergency stimulus package.

On Wednesday, House Democrats approved the $819B USD bill, which includes a $40B USD boost to certain areas of the tech sector. The bill offers $6B USD to help expand broadband to areas it does not currently reach and $20B USD to help America bring its health care records online, which should help to greatly cut health care costs.

The bill also includes $11B USD to revamp the nation's electrical grid which is very dilapidated throughout much of the country, having been built in the 1960s, 1950s, or even earlier. The bill will also pump $2B USD into energy efficiency and renewable energy research.

The bill was virtually split on party lines, passing 244-188. Not a single Republican voted to approve the bill. Republicans wanted to cut out the grants and loans for broadband, technology education, and scientific research expansion. They want to replace the bill with a slightly leaner one, with slightly more tax cuts, targeted across more income levels, including for those making over $200,000. The bill now awaits Senate approval.

The Senate is currently drafting its own bill, so technically two bills will go through the approval conference. The House and Senate leaders will meet at a special conference committee to iron out the differences between the two bills. They hope to have a finished piece of legislation submitted by mid-February for President Obama's signature.

Google's Eric Schmidt, Motorola's Greg Brown, IBM's Sam Palmisano, Micron Technology's Steve Appleton and Xerox's Anne Mulcahy were among the CEO's Barack Obama brought to the White House to discuss the bill and other matter. President Obama stated, "I know that there are some who are skeptical of the size and scale of this recovery plan. And I understand that skepticism, given some of the things that have happened in this town in the past."

The new bill is perhaps most significant as it represents the first major legislative victory for both net neutrality and open networks. Net neutrality, stymied under the Bush administration via threat of veto, is the concept that internet traffic, including P2P streams, should not be discriminated against or throttled. Open networking is the principal that network providers should not be allowed to discriminate against certain manufacturers or providers devices, if they have the capability to access the network. Those receiving funding to build networks under the bill will have to abide by these principles.

The bill also includes some of the internet speed mandates previously mentioned. Seventy five percent of the networks built must be fast enough to support video conferencing. While telecom comments are scarce, CTIA, the wireless carriers' principal trade group, did urge lawmakers to vote against the proposal which it called "vague, undefined and unnecessary", citing opposition of telecoms to the openness provisions.

Motorola's Brown however supports the bill, stating, "At the heart of this debate over the economy is the question [of] whether America will be the preferred destination for businesses to operate, entrepreneurs to start ventures, investors to make their financial bets and high-skilled workers to continue their careers. President Obama understands that our economic policy must be geared towards strengthening U.S. competitiveness for the long term."

The bill realizes many of the technology initiatives alluded to in President Obama's inaugural address. While avoiding passing painful regulations on existing networks, the bill offers a nice balance by simply ensuring that new networks are more open and data neutral.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Broadband, Net Neutrality Ride with House Stimulus Package

Original Article -

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Vacant TV Channels and Rural Broadband

Center for Rural Strageties

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is deciding whether to open up vacant TV channels - also known as white spaces - to communities, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs for wireless broadband and advanced communications. Opening up these vacant channels presents a valuable opportunity to bring broadband to rural communities.

Only a third of rural residents have access to broadband at home, according to a 2007 survey from the Pew Internet and America Life Projects. Rural communities have long heard promises of telehealth and long-distance education, but without access to broadband, the benefits of high-speed Internet remain a neglected promise. Access to broadband will provide rural residents with important opportunities for education, health, economic development, and public safety.

Vacant TV channels will enable Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) to reach underserved areas of rural America. These signals can penetrate buildings, cut through dense foliage, and travel over mountains and long distances, providing a cost-effective solution for the rural broadband problem.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Qwest wants federal funds for rural broadband

Original Article -

Qwest Communications International Inc. is asking President-elect Barack Obamaand infrastructure in rural areas.

The Denver, Colo.-based telecom company pitched its proposal in a letter last week, suggesting that federal grants would help companies overcome high costs associated with building infrastructure in rural areas and generate jobs.

Qwest, the dominant carrier in Minnesota, asked that such telecom funding be included in an economic stimulus proposal. Obama has voiced support for expanding broadband access in underserved areas, but has not released details of what a plan might look like, though tax credits have been discussed as an option.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Digital Road to Recovery: A Stimulus Plan to Create Jobs, Boost Productivity and Revitalize America

Original Document(PDF)
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
Robert Atkinson, Daniel Castro and Stephen Ezell

As Congress considers a substantial stimulus package to get the economy moving, investing in new economy digital infrastructures will provide significant opportunities not just for short-term stimulus and job creation, but also longer term economic and social benefits. In the report, ITIF provides a detailed analysis and estimate of the short-term jobs impacts of spurring investment in three critical digital networks: broadband networks, the smart grid (making the electric distribution system intelligent) and health IT, and outlines policy steps to spur this investment.

ITIF finds that investments in America's digital infrastructure will spur significant job creation in the short run. Specifically, ITIF estimates that spurring an additional investment of $30 billion in America's IT network infrastructure in 2009 will create approximately 949,000 U.S. jobs.

ITIF's major findings are as follows:

1. Investments in America's digital infrastructure will spur significant job creation in the short run.

Broadband networks: A stimulus package that spurs or supports $10 billion of investment in 1 year in broadband networks will support an estimated 498,000 new or retained U.S. jobs for a year.

Health IT: An additional $10 billion investment in health IT in 1 year would create as many as 212,000 new or retained U.S. jobs for a year.

Smart power grid: A $50 billion additional investment in the smart grid over 5 years (e.g., $10 billion per year) would create approximately 239,000 new or retained U.S. jobs for each of the 5 years on average.

2. Investments in America's digital infrastructure that create a network effect (or network externality) will offer superior job creation benefits because of the "network multiplier."

3. Investments in America's digital infrastructure will lead to higher productivity, increased competitiveness, and improved quality of life in the moderate to long term.

Complete Docoment(PDF)