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The Internet Solution: AMR Reborn

Fortnightly Magazine - October 1 1999

by the residential consumer.

IP networking technology has evolved at a dizzying pace over the last several years and shows no signs of slowing down. An IP-based network connection to the home appears to offer the right choice for a multi-service telemetry system for several reasons.

First, it provides a base solution for covering the maximum number of homes immediately, that of implementing the IP connection over the shared residential phone line. There is no extra WAN infrastructure to deploy, greatly reducing the cost of the system, increasing its flexibility and providing a clear path toward future technologies.

Second, it allows a full-time Internet connection to be re-used for telemetry data. Rather than create an expensive, single-purpose infrastructure such as a wireless LAN/WAN system, this approach leverages the continuing high levels of investment in IP connections to the home such as cable and DSL.

Third, it creates a future-proof telemetry system, since the architecture easily can adapt to new physical media. Internet protocol has shown a remarkable ability to adapt to additional physical network media as they are created. Some of the common media available to the home that support IP are: (1) PSTN, including sharing a single residential line, (2) coaxial/hybrid fiber-coaxial network (HFC), via cable modem, (3) DSL and (4) ISDN.

IP provides the basis for an architecture that operates over multiple WAN media. In fact, communications to different customer segments often are best achieved with different physical media to the home. Shared PSTN provides a broad reach for most consumers. However, as deployment of cable and xDSL modems continues, interfaces to these devices via 10baseT (Ethernet) increasingly will be required.

David Gaw is president and Adam Marsh is vice president of marketing for Coactive Networks Inc., based in Sausalito, Calif. Coactive Networks is a developer of control network connectivity systems for flexible access to home automation control systems.

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