@Home Network, headquartered in Redwood City, California, distributes high-speed interactive services to residences and businesses via its own network architecture and a variety of transport options including the cable industry's hybrid-fiber coaxial (HFC) infrastructure and telco circuits. The cable connection provides users significant increases in speed over conventional Internet access, and @Home's national, multi-megabit backbone allows for unique content offerings that go beyond current Web experiences.
@Home is not simply a connection to the already overloaded Internet. Instead, @Home uses advanced network technology to enable connections that are hundreds of times faster than traditional telephone modems. In addition, @Home Network provides a high level of network management and customer support, complemented by multimedia content that is tailored to the network's bandwidth capabilities. @Home Network is well-differentiated from other Internet connectivity solutions by its high-speed, performance-engineered network (able to transmit data more than 100 times faster than ISDN) and its fully featured service offerings.
Since its founding in May 1995, @Home Network has reached affiliate agreements with seven leading cable companies in North American, including TCI, Comcast Corporation, Cox Communications, InterMedia Partners, Marcus Cable, Rogers, and Shaw. @Home Network and its cable partners are marketing high-speed Internet services in several North America cities. @Home service deployments will continue in 1997 in select North American markets.
@Home Network operates its own national infrastructure, which connects to the global Internet at multiple Network Access Points (NAPs). The network also has Tier-One peering with other national and regional Internet Service Providers. A high-speed Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) fiber optic backbone connects these access and peering interchange points to @Home Network's RDCs. @Home Network's ATM backbone provides a high performance, cost-effective, scaleable transport mechanism, as well as the capability to extend service to new markets without having to constantly reconfigure the network as it expands. The backbone operates at OC-3 (155Mbps) speeds and can be upgraded to higher speeds.
In the home, a cable modem connects to the cable television coaxial wiring and also attaches to the user's Windows or Macintosh computer via a standard Ethernet connection. In the near future, "Internet appliances" and similar devices may provide access. Cable modems are sold by several vendors, including Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, Bay Networks and a number of smaller manufacturers. The speed of the modem depends on the specific model, but generally varies between 10 Mbps and 30 Mbps downstream to the home, and between 768 Kbps and 10 Mbps upstream from the home.
Multiple Delivery Systems
While two-way HFC continues to provide the best medium for broadband service, @Home Network provides multiple solutions to reach customers not serviced by two-way delivery systems. Telco-return systems deliver data via high-speed cable lines while upstream data travel over conventional phone lines. As the vast majority of traffic is downstream, the performance for telco-return users is more than 100 times faster than conventional dial-up services while the information they send, such as key strokes and mouse clicks, travel at analog speeds. In addition, telco-return provides a smooth migration path to a two-way delivery system for cable operators.
@Home's MDU solution enables cable operators to extend the @Home service to large residential complexes without the added expense of providing cable modems for each apartment or unit. Similar in design to a business LAN, information from the @Home Network flows through a regional data center (RDC) to a housing complex via a two-way digital line at T1 speeds or higher depending upon traffic loads. Information is then disseminated through a central high-speed router stored at the complex. From the router information is carried to secure Ethernet 10Base-T hubs in each building. The hubs are connected to single apartments or units by Ethernet wiring and within in each apartment or unit, data ports are installed in convenient locations, such as the den/living room or bedroom, for easy personal computer hook-ups.