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10 IntroductionThe Internet is a network of networks that interconnects computers aroundthe world supporting both business and residential users In 1994 amultimedia Internet application known as the World Wide Web becamepopular The higher bandwidth needs of this application have highlightedthe limited Internet access speeds available to residential users Even at 288Kilobits per second Kbpsthe fastest residential access commonlyavailable at the time of this writingthe transfer of graphical images can befrustratingly slowThis report examines two enhancements to existing residentialcommunications infrastructure Integrated Services Digital Network ISDNand cable television networks upgraded to pass bi-directional digital trafficCable Modems It analyzes the potential of each enhancement to deliverInternet access to residential users It validates the hypothesis that upgradedcable networks can deliver residential Internet access more cost-effectivelywhile offering a broader range of servicesThe research for this report consisted of case studies of two commercialdeployments of residential Internet access each introduced in the spring of1994 Continental Cablevision and Performance Systems International PSIjointly developed PSICable an Internet access service deployed overupgraded cable plant in Cambridge Massachusetts Internex Inc began selling Internet access over ISDN telephonecircuits available from Pacific Bell Internexs customers are residences andsmall businesses in the Silicon Valley area south of San FranciscoCalifornia20 The InternetWhen a home is connected to the Internet residential communicationsinfrastructure serves as the last mile of the connection between thehome computer and the rest of the computers on the Internet Thissection describes the Internet technology involved in that connectionThis section does not discuss other aspects of Internet technology indetail that is well done elsewhere Rather it focuses on the servicesthat need to be provided for home computer users to connect to theInternet21 ISDN and upgraded cable networks will each provide different functionalityeg type and speed of access and cost profiles for Internet connections Itmight seem simple enough to figure out which option can provide the neededlevel of service for the least cost and declare that option better A keyproblem with this approach is that it is difficult to
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