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As many of you know, many pay TV TV DVRs and other set top boxes are far behind in terms of technology and recording capabilities. In addition to the reduced feature set, there is a cost of anywhere between $10-$20 a month in rental costs just to bring the TV signal to your television. If you have 3 TVs in the house, like I do, then you can be looking at around $40 a month in rental fees.
About three years ago, I got sick of paying for these rental boxes and decided to build my own system. Not to save money per se, but to increase the capabilities of my cable TV system. When I say cable TV system, I am talking about services from companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Any system that allows you to rent a cable card is supported.
First off, let me point out that there are very little cost savings in the first two years when it comes to building your own system.
Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs says that he'd like to see LTE technology deployed on unlicensed spectrum, though he's a bit ambiguous on how exactly they plan to accomplish this. "We’ve been working on this for a while which is, we’re actually putting LTE into the unlicensed bands," Jacobs said in an article at Electronics Weekly
. "Up till now Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have mostly used unlicensed bands. There is a tremendous amount of spectrum that’s been allocated around the world in unlicensed bands." Fierce Wireless
theorizes the technology could use the 3.5 GHz band, which is being eyed for small cells here in the States.
Comcast continues to blaze a trail in terms of IPv6 deployment, a company blog post
this week stating that 75% of the Comcast network now has native IPv6 support, and that the company expects to finish their IPv6 deployment entirely by sometime early in 2014. "Today, over 25% (and growing) of Comcast’s Xfinity Internet customers are actively provisioned with native dual stack broadband Internet service," says the company. The Internet Society (ISOC) measurements
confirm Comcast now leads the industry with the largest IPv6 deployment. The milestone comes nearly eight years after the company began their IPv6 upgrade plan, and about four years after they began consumer IPv6 trials.
Tablets are among the coolest and most widely-used handheld devices ever created, right up there with electric razors, cordless drills and digital cameras. A Pew report this past summer
revealed one in three adults in America own a tablet. The tablet – just one of many sci-fi items that made its way to reality – made fictional debuts in films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey
, novels such as Isaac Asimov's Foundation
, and in several episodes of Star Trek
, in many shapes and forms.
It's cool that tablet technology is here.
Some years ago Verizon froze FiOS expansion to focus on making more money off of FiOS users (rate hikes), improving uptake rates in existing FiOS areas, and converting stubborn DSL users in those areas to FiOS. Speaking recently at an investor conference, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo estimated that the 300,000 DSL to FiOS migrations Verizon performed this year saved the company about 600,000 truck rolls and $100 million
in repairs and maintenance in 2013 alone.
Security research firm Renesys has authored an interesting blog post
noting how they're seeing a significant uptick in the number of large-scale man in the middle attacks. What's more, insists the firm, these attacks are increasingly gobbling up a larger and larger share of overall Internet traffic without most people bothering to notice.
While Microsoft really wants
the Xbox One to be the center of the television universe, the fact is that for all of its technological improvements, it still hasn't eliminated its biggest obstacle to that goal: the cable and broadcast industry.
As we saw with the Xbox 360
, licensing restrictions designed to prevent disruption result in video services where content is only available on a console if you have a traditional cable connection -- or in some cases only if your broadband ISP has struck a deal with a broadcaster.
One of the most notable bits in Sandvine's recent study on bandwidth and Internet traffic
is that the doomsday bandwidth apocalypse scenarios breathlessly predicted by numerous analysts, lobbyists, and ISPs never materialized. While peak bandwidth usage is still healthy and growing at 40%, overall bandwidth growth continues to slow substantially, continuing to be manageable with only modest network investment.
UK researchers last month announced
they were able to achieve speeds up to 10 Gbps using LEDs. The technology, dubbed "Li-Fi," is line of sight, though some researchers have seen success with reflected light
to expand the reach of Li-Fi indoors.
Opinion story continues..
: Whether it's their treatment of Google Wallet
, the Nexus 7
or the Nexus 5
, Verizon Wireless is increasingly making it clear that they're using their position as gatekeeper to engage in anti-competitive behavior -- with few properly calling them out for it. In all of the above instances, Verizon is using network safety and faux-technical explanations to justify why they can't offer a pure Google product -- but can instead offer you one of their own, usually inferior, bloatware-riddled products and services.
On Monday, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt commented on recent reports
that the NSA was covertly hacking into Google and Yahoo data centers, telling the Wall Street Journal
the agency's behavior is "outrageous." "There clearly are cases where evil people exist, but you don’t have to violate the privacy of every single citizen of America to find them," stated Schmidt. Back in September Google already stated
they were beefing up the use of encryption between data centers.
Google today finally took the wraps off of their new Nexus 5 smartphone
and Android 4.4, aka Kitkat. There wasn't much in the announcement that wasn't already established by countless leaks; like the 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and a 4.95" 1920x1080 display.
Sony marketing is working hard to herald next month's Playstation 4 launch as the next generation of the broadband-connected living room, but the future as Sony sees it lacks some very basic building blocks from the past. According to a new PS4 FAQ released by Sony
, the game console won't include support for either the MP3 format, or DLNA streaming from PC to the console.
AT&T has announced that the company will expand their Digital Life
home automation and security services to another seven markets. According to the AT&T statement
, AT&T users in Birmingham, Las Vegas, Louisville, Nashville, Raleigh, Richmond and Tucson can now sign up for the option.
While new DOCSIS 3.1 modems should ultimately be capable of hitting 10 Gbps downstream, 1 Gbps up (albeit shared across numerous users on a node), the first modems to be released will likely "only" be capable of half of those speeds initially
. The first wave of modems will be 3.0/3.1 hybrids, with the DOCSIS 3.1 half combining two channels/blocks orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) at 192MHz-wide each, and two 96MHz-wide channels for the upstream. Considering how rare anything over 150 to 300 Mbps is among cable operators (Comcast does offer a 505 Mbps tier though that's technically hybrid fiber to the home
), that certainly shouldn't be a problem initially.
Broadband Reports readers are already familiar with ICSI Netalyzr
, a free network measurement and diagnostic tool developed at the International Computer Science Institute
at Berkeley. Netalyzr's a "two-mouse click" network tester that runs in your web browser as a Java applet.
Back in December NASA announced
that the agency would be conducting a Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) they believe will someday be capable of delivering speeds up to 600 Mbps. The test was successfully conducted this week
, and involved communicating with the LADEE robotic probe orbiting the moon using telescopes that are just under one meter in diameter.
Comcast this week announced
that in conjunction with Ciena, they've conducted
the country's first 1 terabit live network trial, the first time in which live data traffic was carried over a 1Tb/s 16QAM super-channel on an existing, commercial network. The 1Tb/s trial used Ciena's 6500 Packet-Optical Platform solution over a distance of 1,000 kilometers. "This comes soon after we completed our Nx100G backbone upgrade in the past few years," writes in Comcast employee and DSLReports user ccneteng
. "Comcast today has upgraded paths on the network to upwards of 14x100G and continues to invest heavily in capacity growth every quarter."
Former FCC boss turned top cable lobbyist Michael Powell wants a sexier moniker for DOCSIS 3.1, the faster and more efficient cable specification that CableLabs yesterday announced would be officially unveiled before the end of the month
. "We need to own this thing and sell this thing with passion and commitment," Powell told attendees of a cable engineer expo in Atlanta
this week. "We’re in a 4G and 5G world -- we need to sell this thing to consumers." "Our industry has historically been a little conservative, a little slow on the swing, a little scared to take risks," Powell added later. "I think sometimes we're slow on the uptake."
Following on the heels of decisions to shut down their secure e-mail services by Lavabit
and Silent Circle
, CryptoSeal says they too will be shutting down their VPN service due to government requests for the company's cryptographic keys. The companies that have been closing have protested that government requirements have made their very existence as secure service providers untenable, while also claiming gag orders violate their free speech rights.
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