forwarded message from John Conover

From: John Conover <>
Subject: forwarded message from John Conover
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 13:12:12 -0800

The attached is one of the things that concerns me. ISDN is a French
invention, developed in the 1960's, to wire all residential houses in
France together to the national switched digital communications
infrastructure-which was completed in the 1970's. By this time,
several countries, for example, Singapore, had already done so.

Deployment of ISDN in the US will not be complete until whenever the
phone companies get around to it.

ISDN has some technical limitations-the inherent architecture was
compromised to run on twisted pair, to avoid the enormous cost of
re-wiring the French telephone system.

ATM is a far superior switched system, but the costs have not come
down adequately to make it commercially viable on a large scale
deployment. The US still uses T1/T3, which is a dated technology-far
older than even ISDN.

Some how, we just seem to be loosing the "technical edge."

I doubt that the issue is technological. I would suggest that it is an
infrastructural issue. And this is the point. There are prevailing
concepts that such decisions should be made in the business sector,
and survival of the fittest decision will decide the infrastructural
agenda. This is true-if, and only if, the agenda exhibits economically
decreasing returns, and an economic equilibrium prevails in the
market. Do technological markets exhibit such a phenomena? No, they
don't. (In point of fact, they exhibit increasing returns[2], which
have no market equilibrium-so what you will have is competing
technologies, with no market dominance of any ever assertable. In
point of fact, in these scenarios, the worst technology can even
dominate and win over the market. And we would be stuck, forever, with
an inferior technology-kind of looks like what has happened.)


BTW, note that the backbone infrastructure proposed in the attached
(and now under construction,) is optical. Most Ethernet/tcp/ip is run
on RG59 coax in this country, which has a digital bit capacity of
about 10MBits/second for about a hundred feet of coax. (I can't
remember the exact numbers in the spec, but its somewhere in this
range.)  The issue is not one of termination, bandwidth, etc., it is
the propagation velocity in the coax, which is about 0.9X the speed of
light. This means that phase propagation (ie., phase distortion,)
issues limit the length of coax to about a hundred feet, or so. (A
Fourier analysis of the situation reveals that digital signals kind of
fall apart over distances longer than a hundred feet-the high
frequency components of the digital signal arrive at the terminal end
"quicker" than the low frequency components, so a square wave-ie., a
digital signal-is no longer a square wave. It looks triangular[1].)
With optical, since the propagation velocity is virtually the speed of
light, large distances can be traversed. Note that it is not a
bandwidth issue, per se, but a phase propagation issue.

[1] You can think of a digital signal as a sum of (virtually,)
infinitely many coherent sinusoid signals, a la Fourier. The word
coherent is the issue, and means that phase relations between the
signals must be maintained if the integrity of the square wave is to
be preserved. By superposition, we could "study" each of the sinusoid
signals independently. Obviously, there is no voltage or power
distortion in a perfect coax, so all sinusoid signals arrive at the
terminal end of the coax. However, as each of the sinusoid signals
propagates down the coax, it takes time. And this time translates into
phase "lag" of the sinusoid. This phase lag will be different for each
different frequency, so that when all of the sinusoid signals are
summed at the terminal end of the coax, you will no longer have a
square wave. Essentially, what you have is a kind of strip line
filter, since summing sinusoid signals that are delayed in time
produces a sin(x)/x power spectrum.

[2] The paradigm of neo-classical economics was based on Alfred
Marshall's work in the last century. These concepts formed the
foundation of Keynesian economics of supply and demand
equilibrium. There are several solutions to Marshall's general
concepts, of which decreasing returns is the simplest, and the only
solution that can be done in mathematical "closed form." It, also, has
the advantage that it adequately described industrial manufacturing
systems in the industrial age. So, bottom line, we have a model that
is mathematically expedient, and adequately described the prevailing
economic systems of the era. Marshall was well aware that
increasing-returns was a viable solution to certain economic
systems. Until recently, these systems were considered "economic
anomalies." However, with the advent of the modern computer,
economists started evaluating many industrial markets that exhibited
dynamics that could not be described in "closed form." (Computational
methodologies are the only technique that can be used to do this.)
Today, many, (most?) markets in the industrialized nations exhibit
increasing-returns. (Although, many old-line manufacturing markets
still exhibit diminishing returns market dynamics.) The actual
economic systems in industrialized countries has changed over the last
century. Unfortunately, the prevailing concepts of economic systems
hasn't. We still make decisions based on the concept of market
equilibrium, which does not exist anymore.

------- start of forwarded message (RFC 934 encapsulation) -------
Message-ID: <"K9xdd3.0.Od4.W7wTo"@netcom14>
From: John Conover <>
To: John Conover <>
Subject: NTT aims to offer low-cost network service by 2005
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 4:12:03 PST

         TOKYO, Oct 30 (Reuter) - Nippon Telegraph and Telephone
Corp  said on Wednesday it plans a new network service
in Japan by 2005 which will allow users to connect to the
Internet at a speed 400 times faster than the current phone
line and at a low cost.
         NTT announced the network plan, called Mega Media, on
Wednesday as its new research and development target for the
year 2005.
         "It will allow users a smooth and cheap downloading of
motion pictures from the Internet," NTT's executive vice
president Toshiharu Aoki said in a news conference.
         NTT aims to send information at a speed of 10 megabits per
second -- about 400 times faster than that of the ordinary
phone line -- on the nationwide optical network system it is
now constructing.
         It will introduce a new telephone switch system called ATM
on the optical network, which will help to reduce the monthly
fee for consumers to use the new service to around 10,000 yen
($87), including the basic and service costs, he said.
         NTT plans to connect Japanese homes in big cities with the
optical fibre network by 2005, completing the nationwide
network by 2010.
 ($1<114 yen)

------- end -------

John Conover,,

Copyright © 1996 John Conover, All Rights Reserved.
Last modified: Fri Mar 26 18:55:44 PST 1999 $Id: 961030131219.1993.html,v 1.0 2001/11/17 23:05:50 conover Exp $
Valid HTML 4.0!