Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

[techbooks] REVIEW: "Residential Broadband", Kim Maxwell

Expand Messages
  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKRSDBBN.RVW 990507 Residential Broadband , Kim Maxwell, 1999, 0-471-25165-8, U$39.99/C$62.50 %A Kim Maxwell %C 5353 Dundas Street West, 4th Floor,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 19, 1999
    • 0 Attachment
      BKRSDBBN.RVW 990507

      "Residential Broadband", Kim Maxwell, 1999, 0-471-25165-8,
      %A Kim Maxwell
      %C 5353 Dundas Street West, 4th Floor, Etobicoke, ON M9B 6H8
      %D 1999
      %G 0-471-25165-8
      %I John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
      %O U$39.99/C$62.50 416-236-4433 fax: 416-236-4448 rlangloi@...
      %P 390 p.
      %T "Residential Broadband: An Insider's Guide to the Battle for the
      Last Mile"

      Having gone through the process myself, I can fully sympathize with
      Maxwell's agonizing over the publisher's choice of a title. And this
      is no idle complaint: Maxwell uses it to fulfill the general purpose
      of the preface, that is, specifying the topic to be addressed and the
      audience for whom it is intended. The book covers high speed
      communication to the masses, and deals not merely with technical
      minutiae, but also with applications and use. Maxwell also promises
      to look beyond current technologies to the extreme long range of
      prognostication. Thus, while the book is technical in part, it is
      aimed at the broader market of those who want to know what to expect,
      and to choose which avenue to pursue.

      Section one reviews the factors that will drive the demand for
      broadband access. Chapter one uses the dread phrase "Information
      Superhighway," but takes a realistic look at the facts behind the
      fantasy. The discussion of bandwidth, in chapter two, does not make
      comparisons easy but it does give good figures for a wide variety of
      media types.

      Section two looks at networks. Chapter three gives us a fascinating
      history (going back to the Greeks) and the useful basic concepts of
      networking. Competing protocols are examined and explained simply but
      accurately in chapter four, primarily concentrating on ATM
      (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) and IP (Internet Protocol). A number of
      Internet myths that catch even those who consider themselves
      technically with it are dispelled in chapter five. Oddly, though, for
      all that he chides the traditional network providers for technical
      timidity, Maxwell does not seem to realize the potential that
      increased processing power holds for "amateur" networks, such as
      variations on packet radio and Usenet.

      Section three talks about access, both within the home (or premises)
      and to it. Chapter six describes the characteristics of the existing
      networks that are available to most homes. Ten gigabits per second
      should be enough for anyone, says chapter seven. (I simply don't
      believe this. I can see, now, the fad for full frame, picture window
      sized, 1200 dots per inch, full motion video windows looking out on
      Tahitian beaches or Swiss ski resorts, requiring a hundred gigabits
      per second. Stupid, perhaps, but pet rocks got sold ...) The various
      contending technologies capable of delivering broadband levels of
      access to residences are reviewed in chapter eight. Chapter nine is a
      really wonderful explanation of modem technologies: technical, yes,
      but clear enough for anyone of reasonable intelligence. Similarly, a
      terrific description of ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line),
      including the physical properties of phone lines, is given in chapter
      ten, while cable modems are covered in eleven.

      Section four looks at the market, by application. Chapter twelve
      situates us in the current market. Applications for professionals and
      home based business are listed in chapter thirteen. Entertainment is
      discussed in chapter fourteen, but, again, the analysis is a bit
      timid, disregarding animated MUDs (Multiple User Domains) and other
      graphical collaborations. Chapter fifteen deals with consumer
      applications, including, somewhat oddly, education. The complex
      interaction of supply of bandwidth and applications and demand for
      those applications is examined in chapter sixteen. The book ends in
      chapter seventeen with projected figures for growth in various areas.

      Maxwell also provides a lot of humour on the way through. In one
      example, the tired phrase about having enough time to make a cup of
      coffee is expanded to a truly ludicrous extent, but one that the makes
      the point very effectively. (And is pretty much bang on for timing.)

      I have not yet found any other book that is as clear and realistic in
      giving the average non-specialist reader an understanding of the
      issues of providing and using high-speed networks. This work is
      solidly based, reliable, readable, and even entertaining. Internet
      clubs, community networks, interested hobbyists, and
      telecommunications managers should all consider it required reading.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKRSDBBN.RVW 990507

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      Book columns: http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev/mnbkc.htm
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade


      eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/techbooks
      http://www.egroups.com - Simplifying group communications
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.