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September 6, 2001 Provided by System Dynamics Inc. in association with Pulver.com

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IN THIS ISSUE:


Heard on the Net

News about People and Companies influencing The Broadband Home

People News

Joe Collins will move from being CEO of Time Warner's Cable division to running a new AOL/Time Warner unit to develop interactive television services. Jim Chiddix , formerly CTO of T-W Cable, was named president of the new unit. ( www.aoltimewarner.com )

Kevin DeNuccio has been named CEO and president of Redback Networks. DeNuccio was formerly an executive with Cisco. ( www.redbacknetworks.com )

Hossein Eslambolchi was named CTO and president of AT&T Laboratories. He succeeds David Nagel , who is now chief executive of Palm Inc.'s new subsidiary Platform Solutions. ( www.att.com )

Greg Fadul has joined Uniden America Corporation as VP of Sales and Business Development for their broadband and business systems units. Formerly with Netvoice Technologies, Fadul will lead development of new products related to the growing business and residential demand for broadband access. ( www.uniden.com )

Pete Fowler , previously of Cypress Semiconductor, was named VP, Sales & Marketing at Magis Networks. Scott Lutz has also joined Magis as VP and General Counsel. ( www.magisnetworks.com )

Andy Jent has left Flashnet Communications to become CFO at EngineX Networks. Scott Lingren has left Clearwire to become VP of sales and marketing. ( www.exn.com )

Kevin Kennedy has joined Openwave Systems as COO. Kennedy was previously a senior VP in charge of Cisco's products for telecom carriers. ( www.openwave.com )

Sonia Khademi was appointed EVP at Chinook Communications. Khademi was previously President and CEO of CableSoft Corporation. ( www.chinook.com )

Roy Levin will head Microsoft's new Silicon Valley research unit in Mountain View CA. He was formerly director of Compaq's Systems Research Center. He is joined by former colleague Michael Schroeder. ( www.microsoft.com )

David Moss was promoted from senior VP of sales to CEO of North American operations for Canal+ U.S. Technologies. He replaces Jean-Marc Racine , who will become EVP of marketing for Canal+ in France. ( www.canalplus-technologies.com )

Jean-Charles Point was promoted to Chief Scientist at COM21 Inc. ( www.com21.com )

Luiz Antonio Viana , formerly president of BR Distribuidora, has been chosen to take over leadership of Globo Cabo as part of its restructuring. ( www.globocabo.com )

(Please email people@bb-home.com to report a change in your position.)

Company News

--Acquisitions

A Novo Broadband Inc. is purchasing the equipment repair business of Broadband Services Inc. for $8 million in cash and assumed liabilities. ( www.a-novobroadband.com )

BreezeCOM and Floware Wireless Systems completed their merger. The name of the newly merged entity is Alvarion . ( www.alvarion.com )

Essent Kabelcom , Netherlands 2nd largest MSO, has acquired the interests in AtHome Benelux held by ExciteAtHome and Intel Capital. Essent is a majority shareholder of AtHome Benelux. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. ExciteAtHome will continue to provide core technologies and broadband services to AtHome Benelux. ( www.essentkabelcom.nl ) ( www.excitehome.com )

Olameter has purchased EPCOR Utilities Inc.'s meter operations in Ontario. Olameter's aim is to create an infrastructure that manages automated services such as utility meter reading, high-speed Internet, home automation and entertainment applications. ( www.olameter.com ) ( www.epcor.ca )

Telenor has agreed to purchase Sweden On-Line (SOL) for SEK 195 million thereby getting 185,000 new customers in Sweden. An extensive investment program is planned to upgrade SOL's cable network to facilitate distribution of digital TV and interactive services. ( www.telenor.com )

Zhone Technologies Inc. has bought Nortel's Access Networking Technology for an undisclosed amount. The deal includes assuming support for the existing AccessNode and AccessNode Express installed base. ( www.zhone.com )

--Funding

Aravox Technologies raised $14M in Series B funding. ( www.aravox.com )

IP Unity Inc. landed $24 million in a third round of financing, bringing its the investment total to $48 million. ( www.ipunity.com )

Japan Telecom Co. Ltd. will invest $33.3 million for about 15 percent of Japan's eAccess Ltd. , a DSL services provider. ( www.japan-telecom.co.jp/english ) ( www.eaccess.net/jp )

Navini Networks has secured $51 million in financing. The company will use the funds to speed the deployment of its Nomadic wireless broadband technology. ( www.navini.com )

Santera Systems has raised $100 million in third-round equity financing, plus $10 million in lease financing. ( www.santera.com )

SnowShore Networks raised $20 million in second round equity financing. ( www.snowshore.com )

--Other News

Broadcom announced the availability of the Broadcom(R) BCM2200, a single-chip modem designed for broadband wireless applications using VOFDM technology. It combines the functions previously accomplished with ten integrated circuits, has more than 48 Mbps of symmetrical two-way data and is designed to work in non-line-of-sight environments. ( www.broadcom.com )

CableLabs has announced they will begin developing the DOCSIS 2.0 specification immediately, a process to be completed by year-end. The specification will incorporate advanced physical layer modulation techniques to significantly increase cable bandwidth for data without requiring any physical rebuilding of cable networks. It will feature both S-CDMA and A-TDMA modulation, and will allow upstream speeds of 30 Mbps per 6 MHz with "noise immunity". ( www.cablelabs.com )

cyberManor and ECI Telecom B.V. announced a partnership in which ECI Telecom B.V. will set up a wholly owned subsidiary incorporated as cyberManor B.V. to serve the residential information technology needs of customers in The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg. ( www.cybermanor.com ) ( www.ecitelecom.nl )

DIRECTV Broadband, Inc. and Circuit City Stores announced an agreement that will make DIRECTV DSL available in 435 stores across the U.S. The partnership results from Hughes previous acquisition of Telocity and makes DIRECTV more competitive with cable operator offerings. ( www.directvdsl.com ) ( www.circuitcity.com )

Excite@Home 's financial situation continued to worsen during August. Since @Home is the leading third party cable ISP, customers are concerned that they will lose service, just as they saw happen with the demise of many DSL providers. @Home has cut a large number of jobs and has tried to sell some of its media properties, which have little value in the current economic situation. Although this casts a pall on broadband services, much of the financial difficulty seems to originate from @Home's merger with the Excite portal business and the subsequent market implosion for web site advertising and media. ( www.home.net )

Korea Thrunet Co., Ltd. announced the launch of its VoIP service for residential and SOHO customers. The service, under the "e-c@ll" brand name, provides local, long-distance and international telephone services via the IP network rather than through the PSTN. ( www.thrunet.com )

Liberty Media Corp. is acquiring six regional cable TV companies from Deutsche Telekom AG. The 5.5 billion euro, or about $4.9 billion U.S., deal will have more than 10 million subscribers. If approved by the German government, Liberty Media will be the leading German TV cable operator. ( www.libertymedia.com )

MGM Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. entered into a joint venture to create an on-demand movie service to offer a broad selection of theatrically-released motion pictures via digital delivery for broadband Internet users in the United States. The service will primarily be an open-access IP based system, although other means of delivery will be explored after the launch of the service. This is a signal that the studios believe broadband Internet is important and signifies increasing competition for the cable TV business. ( www.footage.net/newswire/news1703.html )

Microsoft Corp. and Chyron Corp. announced availability of Chyron Metaplayer, a software-based tool that helps broadcasters automatically manage and deliver ATVEF-based interactive TV triggers to multiple channels. ( www.chyron.com )

MovieFlix.com , the Web-based broadband movie provider, has launched MovieFlix Plus. The paid subscription service will offer members full-length movies, short films, independent films and television shows for $4.95 a month. ( www.movieflix.com )

Narad Networks announced the Narad Ultra Broadband Modem (UBM) chip set, enabling full-duplex Gigabit Ethernet transmission on the existing HFC plant by leveraging previously unused spectrum between 860 MHz and 2 GHz. ( www.naradnetworks.com )

OpenTV announced that its middleware has been installed in 18.2 million digital set-top boxes worldwide as of June 30, 2001. Deployment growth in the quarter included digital cable, digital satellite and digital terrestrial networks. ( www.opentv.com )

Pacific Broadband announced it will release a CMTS (cable modem termination system) in Q4 2001 that supports the just-released requirements for Cablelabs DOCSIS 2.0 spec. ( www.pacificbroadband.com )

ProSyst has announced their mBedded Server 5.0, which is based on the future OSGi standard 2.0 and will offer new features. ( www.prosyst.com )

Rainmaker Technologies announced technology capable of delivering 10Gbps of digital capacity to the side of the home over existing cable networks. The technology enables fiber-speed data capacity from existing in-band RF cable spectrum in a way that coexists with current services. ( www.rainmakertechnologies.com )

SONICblue has introduced its new home-networked digital video recorder/home video server, a product with broadband connectivity that lets consumers store up to 320 hours of television or other media, share video clips between rooms or with friends outside the home, and play back recorded programs without commercials. ( www.SONICblue.com ) ( www.replaytv.com )

Symbol Technologies announced that its 802.11b NetVision(R) Phone has been verified for interoperability with Cisco networking technology and is now an approved product in the Cisco AVVID Partner Program. ( www.symbol.com/wireless )

Tut Systems Inc. has closed a deal to offer video-on-demand and high-speed Internet access services in hotels and apartments in Japan. They are teaming with NTT-ME, Rikei Corp., Toyo Communications and EnReach Technology to offer apartment dwellers and hotel chains the services over an IP infrastructure. ( www.tutsys.com )

Two Way TV has been signed up by Energis Interactive 's new interactive television service, brightBlue, as its lead games channel. This provides Two Way TV access to 5.25 million digital satellite households. ( www.twowaytv.com ) ( www.energis-interactive.co.uk )

Ucentric Systems announced partnerships with MediaUnbound, RadioWave and SimpleDevices to deliver enhanced digital music services to a variety of devices in the home, including televisions and stereos. ( www.ucentric.com ) ( www.mediaunbound.com )

World Wide Packets and Hitachi Information Technology Co., Ltd. , announced a broadband partnership agreement in Japan. They will offer customers broadband solutions designed to address the high growth multi-tenant and multi-dwelling (MxU) markets in Japan. ( www.worldwidepackets.com ) ( www.hitachi-it.co.jp )

--Public Policy

Canada -- The Canadian government plans to build eight new public Internet access centers in Canada, with five of the structures being built in Beaver County, Alberta. The program aims to establish public Internet access sites in remote, rural and urban communities throughout Canada. More than 800 access centers have been established or approved in Alberta since the program's launch in 1995. The government has invested more than $13 million in the program. ( cap.ic.gc.ca/english )

US -- The FCC initiated its third inquiry under section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 into whether "advanced telecommunications capability" is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion. The commission has written two previous reports on broadband deployment, one released in February 1999, the second in August 2000. The agency considers "high-speed" broadband to be at least 200 Kbps in both directions. Last year's report concluded that although U.S. broadband deployment is "generally" reasonable and timely, consumers in some regions, such as rural areas, are lagging behind.

Meanwhile, there are conflicting approaches to broadband policy pending in the U.S. House and Senate. The House version, called the Tauzin-Dingell bill (covered previously in BBHR) favored by the Bells, stops the FCC and states from requiring the incumbents to open their networks to other high speed service providers and requires Bell operating companies and their affiliates to deploy high speed data services. The newer Senate bill introduced by Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.) requires structural separation of Bell companies' retail and wholesale operations and lets a competitive carrier bring an action against a Bell company for violations of the '96 Telecommunications Act, with fines, timeframes and a dispute resolution process.

Against this backdrop, a number of high-tech, high-profile CEO's will be participating in a Washington, D.C. event by TechNet, which sees broadband as the magic bullet for overcoming the high-tech slump. With the Washington scene buzzing with stakeholders for the Bells, the "anti-Bells" and the high tech industry, one wonders who represents the real public policy issues of consumer access, economic benefit, global competitiveness, etc.

( www.fcc.gov ) ( www.technet.org )


A View From the Valley - Act II

Act I: Flash back to April 2000 and our first issue of the Broadband Home Report. It described visits with three broadband companies in Silicon Valley. Now fast forward 16 months to the present -- it's August 2001, and we again visited companies in the Bay area. The popular media might have you believing that the differences between then and now are easy to describe. The picture in 2000 is all painted in bright reds and yellows (and greens for the color of money), with unbridled enthusiasm and the sky the limit. The new picture is painted in shades of grey and black with doom and gloom in every corner.

Like all simplifications, this one does have some elements of truth in it. Yes, there have been lots of layoffs, some good people are trying to decide what they will do next and some companies are in real trouble or no longer exist. Yes, the office space that used to be impossible to find is not only available, but costs much less. Yes, venture capital is hard to find.

We're not presumptuous enough to present our observations as any more than our personal view, but we'd like to share some thoughts on the how we see the changes and what they might mean for "the broadband home".

First, lets look at the changes in the three companies we visited in 2000.

  • At 3Com, we wrote about how they had formed a Residential Connectivity Group (RCG) and its intent to play a major role in the "Consumer Digital Lifestyle" business. In the intervening time they bought Internet radio company Kerbango, came out with the Audrey Internet appliance, worked on residential gateways, continued their thrust in DSL and cable modems -- and then withdrew, exiting the consumer cable and DSL modem business and associated consumer devices. Layoffs followed and many broadband experts moved to other jobs. Although the root causes are different at some of the other big companies, like Lucent and Nortel, the outcomes have been similarly bleak.

  • We see quite a different picture if we look at the progress of residential gateway provider 2Wire, over the same timeframe. They have moved from their initial HomePortal product to a wider set of offerings. They've chalked up a number of partnership and distribution deals including ones with broadband service providers SBC and EarthLink. And in a validation of the market, they have been joined in this segment by a number of competitors who also see the power and potential of residential gateways.

  • Our third visit had been with Symbol Technologies, which had described their vision of the role wireless LANs might play in the broadband lifestyle. Since that time, 802.11b has gone from an obscure sounding technology to something embodied in products appearing on the shelves of computer stores and in consumer's homes. As with 2Wire, we don't predict who will be the winner in this segment, but simply that the market has started to be validated.

During our August visits we met with an entirely different set of companies (some of which we'll describe in more detail later). We also talked with venture capitalists, technology users, reporters and people looking for new jobs in broadband. Here are our conclusions from what we saw and heard.

1. The growth of residential broadband communications (and the services it enables) is inevitable. Just as it took time for home PCs, widespread Internet use and music file sharing to happen, broadband won't have 60% penetration overnight. But broadband access penetration is approaching 10% in North America, and 100,000 new subscribers a week is nothing to sneer at. Churn is negligible - nobody wants to give up broadband once they have it. Any downturns or slowdowns (however painful) are simply bumps in the road.

2. There's lots of promise and growth in the virtually untapped market for residential gateways and other devices and applications made possible by broadband connections to the home. While companies like 2Wire are addressing the more complete need at the outset, others like Linksys and D-Link are starting from their base of NICs and hubs and building to more complete products. New companies like Soundpipe, Sigpro and Innomedia are building some of the endpoints, software, and services that are becoming possible. As with any new market, there will be successful ideas and companies and lots that don't make it, but new ones are continuing to try for the brass ring.

3. Funding is still available, but more difficult to get. As Glenn Bischoff stated (Telephony 8/27/2001) "Money is still available for those that combine strong fundamentals with common sense". Reading our list each month of new funding, it's clear that the criteria for getting money and the amounts available have tightened considerably. Nonetheless, those with solid business plans that contain realistic performance metrics, a great team (marquis names certainly help), and a fast track to EBITDA-positive status are still able to get capital.

4. The implications of broadband are important not just to technologists and early adopters, but also to builders and to those planning new communities. The Irvine Company, which we visited, is creating the largest master planned urban environment in the US. As it lays out new communities, it decides what infrastructure to put in the ground, and it writes the specifications for in-home connectivity for the builders; both are now configured for broadband.

5. In-home broadband is creating a new class of company (see "It's Time for the IP Plumber!" BBHR 3/18/2001). Cybermanor (which we visited) has made a business of designing and installing in-home connectivity for new customer homes and re-modeling projects, and has recently partnered to deploy its approach in the Netherlands. Audio and video are moving from analog to digital, causing groups like CEDIA, which represents the traditional AV installation people, to rethink traditional approaches and the skill sets of the installers. The possibilities and impacts of residential broadband and the ecosystem which is involved in its supply are organic and growing.

6. The competitive drive in broadband is clearly seen at the chip level where companies like Broadcom and Intersil are focused on embedding increasing amounts of function, flexibility and integration in silicon, while driving up volumes and driving down unit costs. They are building for a future that accommodates many different types of broadband access, several flavors of home networking and the potential to incorporate lots of yet-to-be determined functions and devices in the home network.


Visits in Irvine

We spent several days in Irvine before traveling up to the Bay area. About 35 miles south of Los Angeles, Irvine is a high-technology center, and has become the center of home networking. Most of the companies that make mass-market networking systems and "cable/DSL routers" are located in or near Irvine, along with their key technology providers. The close geographical proximity of these companies -- including Broadcom, Conexant, D-Link, Intersil, Linksys and SMC Networks -- encourages rapid product refinement and close attention to cost reduction to build volume.

Low overhead, high penetration -- A visit with Linksys

We've visited enough high-tech companies with clever names for conference rooms that it took a while to understand that "the rafters" wasn't another one. When Corporate Communications Manager Karen Sohl, our Linksys host, told us apologetically that we were meeting in "the rafters", we found ourselves in a temporary room built on pillars above the assembly space. This successful networking company has outgrown its building (it's moving in a few weeks), and had improvised to add more space. This seemed entirely in character for this "mighty mouse", which commands a huge chunk of the retail networking market.

Linksys makes a broad line of low-cost network cards, adapters, hubs and switches, and claims to be the top networking manufacturer in the retail channel. Its "cable/DSL router" leads the market in home gateways, shipping more than 100,000 per month. They have preferred to characterize their device as a "router", reserving the word "gateway" for a device which incorporates a broadband modem and a home networking base station as well as a router. But it already fits our definition of a gateway (see "Home Gateways - What Are They For?" in BBHR 9/10/2000 for a description of user needs and gateway functions).

Other vendors (such as 2Wire and Broadband Gateways) chose to enter the market with a full-featured gateway with a comparatively high selling price. Linksys has instead been focused on consumer price points and has built up from the router core. They offer many models of "cable/DSL routers" incorporating various added features such as Ethernet ports, wireless or phone line LAN; print server; and VoIP. Their high-volume product, which bundles the router and a 4 port Ethernet switch, is priced at $120 and available at under $100.

Linksys is also the market leader in wireless access points, shipping over 100,000 units a month. They recently introduced a "cable/DSL router" product which combines the router, a 4-port Ethernet switch and a wireless access point at a price of $250.

During this growth from simple to more complicated networking products, Linksys has followed a clear approach. They start with what they believe is the mass-market "willingness to pay" price point and put in as much functionality as they can and still meet that price. As volumes go up, they drop the price of earlier products and bring out new products with more functionality at the top price.

Their next step will be to complete the package by adding a choice of built-in cable or DSL modems. Once they do, we expect that they will characterize the unit as a "home gateway".

Their rapid growth has not been trouble-free. We have heard about delays in reaching customer support, and expect these will not be resolved until they have moved to a new building and have hired and trained additional customer support personnel.

( www.linksys.com )

Janie Tsao, Linksys VP of Business Development, will deliver an industry perspective at the upcoming BBH Fall 2001 conference. She will also participate in a breakout session on "Home Gateways - Market and Customer Experience", where she will be joined by speakers from 2Wire and Cayman Systems.

Setting the pace in wireless networking - A Visit with Intersil

Intersil, the leading provider of wireless LAN technology, is a short drive from Linksys. We talked with Brent Mosbrook and Todd Johnson, Strategic Marketing in Intersil's PRISM wireless LAN group - Brent in person and Todd by phone.

The past year has seen a rapid growth in shipments of products based on the IEEE 802.11b standard for wireless networking. Much of this growth was enabled by the success of the Wi-Fi™ certification process for interoperable products. In the first year of the process, more than 100 products from 43 companies were certified and received the Wi-Fi logo.

The 801.11 technology was originally designed for and marketed to businesses; many believed that other wireless technologies such as HomeRF would be used in consumer applications. But the rapid growth in 802.11b volume and aggressive reductions in chip pricing led consumer-oriented companies such as Linksys to adopt 802.11b and bring networking products to market at consumer price points. The price of 802.11b access points and PC cards plummeted -- Linksys and others now offer an access point combined with a cable/DSL router and an Ethernet switch for $250 or less.

Deficiencies in the security mechanisms in 11b have recently been the subject of a considerable amount of negative press -- images abound of thieves cruising the streets and breaking into home-based LANs. While we believe this is of more serious immediate concern to business users, the press attention has accelerated efforts to finalize security enhancements (802.11i).

With 11b established as the standard for wireless broadband networking, work is under way to extend it for additional applications such as voice and video. Unlike data applications, these new applications are very sensitive to latency and jitter, and require appropriate "quality of service" mechanisms to work properly. An IEEE task group on QoS (802.11e) is expected to complete a draft so that products can add this capability over the next year.

High-quality MPEG-coded video, as is used over satellite and in DVD players, operates at 4 to 8 Mbps. 802.11b, designed to operate at 11 Mbps, is adequate for a single video channel; multiple channels require higher speeds. The wireless networking industry is pursuing two parallel paths toward higher-speed operation: (1) Move to the 5 GHz band (802.11a and HiperLAN 2); or (2) Extend the speed at 2.4 GHz (the "turbo" or 802.11g extension to 11b). While many companies are developing chips and products for 802.11a, several are also working on "turbo"; Intersil is pursuing both paths.

Before our meeting, we wondered how 11b and 11a could coexist in the market - they operate at different frequencies and appear inherently incompatible. We now believe that 11b (at 11 Mbps) will be preferred for data networking and 11a (at 55 Mbps) for shorter-range video. The "turbo" approach may well act to extend the life of 11b, and then act as a "bridge" between 11b and 11a.

( www.intersil.com ) ( www.wirelessethernet.org )

Brent Mosbrook will represent Intersil at BBH Fall 2001 in a breakout session on "Whole Home Distribution Solutions", where he will be joined by speakers from Broadcom and SerCoNet (Israel).

Seeking "the collapse of incumbents" - A Visit with Competisys

We have been following the Gigabit Ethernet approach to Fiber to the Home, and have wondered how this approach would work in suburban communities (see our BBHR articles about the use of this approach in large European cities -- 6/27/2000 on Sweden and 6/18/2001 on Milan). So we were interested to learn that Competisys, a startup company based in Irvine, had equipped a new development in northern California with a "GigE FTTH" infrastructure.

We visited Competisys and met with Bill Prentice, CEO, and Dan Baker, VP of Marketing. Competisys offers an integrated package of broadband telecommunications and energy to planned communities and commercial properties. Its roots lie in the deregulation of energy in California.

In discussing the deployment of advanced broadband services in the US, Bill made it clear that, in his view, there were no economic or technical obstacles. Rather, he felt that all the obstacles were regulatory - the long history of local, state and federal regulation which favors the incumbent telephone and cable companies. Any attempt to create a truly competitive broadband provider would be met by stiff opposition from the incumbents.

Bill told us that his objective was to "precipitate the collapse of the incumbent telcos and cable companies - whether we do it or just precipitate it". This may seem like an extreme position, but it's the same disruptive approach that Bill McGowan of MCI used successfully to break into the telephone business.

For now, Competisys is focused on new planned communities and municipalities that are willing to be pioneers in the new technologies and regulatory regimes. Their approach is on display in a new development in American Canyon, California -- it's just south of the vineyards in Napa Valley, for anyone interested in visiting.

While we believe that new technologies like GigE FTTH may be far superior to today's prevalent broadband technologies for tomorrow's applications, we doubt that incumbent carriers would consider deploying them. New carriers -- as in Sweden and Italy -- are far more likely to embrace the new technologies, but face enormous regulatory hurdles in the US. We'll closely watch Competisys and others as they seek to remove the barriers.

( www.competisys.com )

Bill Prentice will speak at BBH Fall 2001 in a breakout session on "Futureproofing New Homes and Communities", where he'll be joined by speakers from Cisco and GE-SMART.

Using HomePNA for video networking - A Visit with Broadcom

Broadcom is the leader in chips for broadband communications and networking. Most cable modems are built on their chips, as are many of the products for home networking. Now they've made a strong push on home networking over existing phone lines - the so-called "HomePNA" approach.

Broadcom is headquartered in Irvine. We visited their Silicon Valley office to meet with Steve Palm, Principal Engineer in Broadcom's Home Networking business unit, to discuss the present and future of HomePNA.

HomePNA and 802.11 have followed similar paths. Both were introduced with claimed speeds of 2-3 Mbps (HomePNA 1.0 and 802.11) and failed to capture much attention in the consumer market. Both have been boosted to around 10 Mbps (HomePNA 2.0 and 802.11b), in the same league as wired Ethernet. Since the current products provide a good solution for connecting multiple PCs to a single broadband modem without adding new wiring, they're likely to gain a significant presence in the consumer broadband market -- certainly in American homes which are usually prewired with a phone jack in nearly every room. HomePNA is better suited to a home with only desktop computers, while 802.11b is better for notebook computers; the ideal arrangement might be a combination of both.

We were especially interested in learning more about how HomePNA could be extended to provide the necessary speed for video communications. While Category 5 structured wiring can support Ethernet at 100 Mbps, we doubted that multi-channel video speeds were possible over conventional phone wiring. We were surprised to learn that Broadcom is proposing to use HomePNA over coaxial cable to get to video speeds (after all, the "P" stands for "phone line"). Since existing coaxial cable is likely to be much better than phone wiring at carrying high-speed data, this sounded like an intriguing idea.

We learned that HomePNA 2.0 as defined is capable of operating at 32 Mbps. While some existing home telephone wiring might be able to operate at this speed, nearly all coax should be able to do so. Broadcom claims that HomePNA can coexist on the same cables with existing TV programming; in some homes, passive components (typically splitters) might block the HomePNA signals and would need to be replaced.

As high-definition TV creates the need for higher bandwidth, Broadcom says that the HomePNA spec could be extended to 100 Mbps for operation over cable.

Since coax typically runs to all the TV sets in the home, and telephone wiring to every computer, the idea of using HomePNA as a common technology seems well worth considering. We'll watch to see if networking vendors embrace this concept and bring out products for HomePNA over coax.

( www.broadcom.com )

Steve Palm will speak at BBH Fall 2001 in a breakout session on "Whole Home Distribution Solutions", where he will be joined by speakers from Intersil and SerCoNet (Israel).

Gigabit Ethernet over Fiber to the Home - Dinner with World Wide Packets

"You'll really enjoy meeting Bernard," we were told before our meeting with World Wide Packets. And we did enjoy our dinner discussion in San Jose with Bernard Daines, CEO, and Octavio Morales, VP of Marketing. We had talked with both on the phone, but it was great to meet them in person and exchange stories and visions; Dave discovered that he and Bernard had very similar early experiences with college and computers.

World Wide Packets provides "last mile" technology to deliver Gigabit Ethernet over fiber to the home. Their Access Portal provides the link in the home between Gigabit Ethernet and the home IP devices -- such as PCs, digital settop boxes, IP telephones -- all operating with standard Ethernet. Further out in the network, Access Concentrators and Access Distributors aggregate subscribers and provide upstream connections to service providers and/or content servers.

Competisys is using WWP's technology in its American Canyon deployment. Their technology is also being deployed in Grant County, Washington, to provide open access for competitive service providers; the Wall Street Journal featured Grant County in a recent front-page article (August 17, 2001).

World Wide Packets is a strong advocate for fiber to the home and Gigabit Ethernet. They're a founding member of the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council, formed recently "to promote fiber optic broadband access throughout North America."

( www.wwp.com ) ( www.gcpud.org/zipp ) ( www.ftthcouncil.org )

Octavio Morales will speak at BBH Fall 2001 in a breakout session on "Focus on Fiber to the Home", where he will be joined by speakers from FastWeb (Italy) and Bredband Benelux BV (Netherlands).


Broadband Home Fall 2001: San Jose, October 1-3

Consumer Broadband Continues Growth amid Tech Doom and Gloom

The Broadband Home Fall 2001 Conference, to be held October 1-3, 2001, will challenge the prevailing wisdom that technology-related businesses are all in deep trouble. This conference, the fifth in the Broadband Home conference series, will take place at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California, epicenter of the gloomy reports.

BBH Fall 2001 will bring together industry leaders to discuss why they are bullish on consumer broadband services both to and within the home, where money is still being invested, and how some applications and businesses are flourishing while no one is noticing.

Although the bar has been raised considerably for what gets funded, money is available for well-grounded broadband ventures. The conference will feature venture capitalists Guy Kawasaki and Gary Lauder, speaking about how and where they decide to invest in broadband. There's also a panel on "The Investor's View - Is there still money for broadband? " featuring Stewart Alsop of New Enterprise Associates (and columnist at Fortune Magazine), Bart Schachter of Blueprint Ventures, Peter Gardner of Allegis Capital and Kelly Porter of Zap Ventures.

With broadband access continuing to increase, broadband IN the home is starting to generate entirely new revenue. Home networking products are reaching maturity and many will be on store shelves for this holiday season. You'll hear from HomePNA, HomePlug Powerline Alliance, HomeRF Working Group, and 802.11b.

Many homes have bought inexpensive home gateways and "cable/DSL routers" which permit multiple home PCs to operate with a single broadband account and provide a platform for new services. These all include a firewall for added security, and the latest models include built-in support for home networking; some include a built-in broadband modem. You'll hear from Linksys, Cayman and 2Wire about their similarities and differences in approaches to this market.

What is the future for all the competing residential access technologies? Is fiber to the home the end-game? And if so, when? Companies both large and small will share their views -- including Sprint, Wildblue, Cisco, Competisys, Comcast, World Wide Packets, FastWeb and more.

And what about the current emphasis on broadband voice? Will it be the "killer app"? Is it ready? There's bound to be lots of disagreement during our General Session - "Voice Over Broadband: Who Will Survive?"

Or will the "killer app" be video and pictures including user-generated content like home videos and pictures being shared within and outside the home? We'll explore what it takes to move the content around and how it will be stored and retrieved in such sessions as "Sharing Your Audio and Video" and "Whole Home distribution solutions".

Although budgets are tight, you won't want to miss the latest broadband business insights and real-work experience from industry perspective speakers and panelists. The conference will include 15 industry perspective speakers and twenty-four panel sessions drawn from across the industry and around the world. Speakers come from countries such as Belgium, Italy, Israel and Sweden. Attendees from outside the US have represented over 30% of delegates at past US conferences.

There's lots more, so check out the conference details, schedule and the participating companies at http://www.thebroadbandhome.com/bbhfall/ . In response to past requests, we've included a detailed description of each session to help you decide which break-outs you'll attend - see http://www.thebroadbandhome.com/bbhfall/details2.html .

We continue to hear stories from former conference attendees about the business deals they have consummated as a result of people they met at past conferences. As always, we'll have plenty of networking opportunities, including a reception Sunday evening, an all-conference party Tuesday evening and time at breaks and lunches for schmoozing.

Seating for the conference is limited. If you are thinking about attending, we suggest that you register soon at http://www.thebroadbandhome.com/bbhfall/register.html . If you plan to attend and will require a hotel room, we recommend that you make your hotel reservation as soon as possible at http://www.thebroadbandhome.com/bbhfall/hotel.html to take advantage of the special conference rate.

Some sponsor and exhibitor opportunities are still available. If you are interested, act soon by contacting Stu Milberg at stu@pulver.com or (631) 547-0800 or visit http://www.thebroadbandhome.com/bbhfall/exhibit.html .


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Please send your comments and feedback regarding this issue of our report to editor@bb-home.com. Your suggestions for topics to be covered in future issues would be greatly appreciated.

Sandy Teger and Dave Waks
Sandy and Dave's Report on The Broadband Home
Originally published as The Broadband Home Report
September 6, 2001

editor@bb-home.com
http://BroadbandHomeCentral.com/report



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