Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cable to U-Verse and back again

Executive summary: AT&T U-Verse out, Comcast cable in.

I've been living as an Amateur Radio operator with AT&T's U-Verse service for about 18 months.  It was a great experiment, to see whether ham HF operation could be compatible with U-Verse's VDSL2 signalling.

VDSL2 delivers a bit stream over channels stretching from a low frequency to over 8 MHz, so it was a challenge to work at power levels over 50 W or so in the 160, 80, or 40 M bands.  We tried lots of things -- ferrites everywhere, shielding, etc.  At the same time, AT&T's technology improved, with higher bit rates and more tolerant modems.  We weren't too unhappy as U-Verse customers -- but that was only because I don't spend a lot of time on the air (especially QRO) during TV viewing hours.

Still, I have grown tired of having to think too much about my TV, Internet and phone service.  They should just work!  Even for radio amateurs.  Back to the cable world -- Comcast.

The problems with Comcast will undoubtedly come.  Maybe they'll throttle me if I don't watch enough NBC shows. But in 2 years, maybe we'll see Google or Verizon or somebody offering something more attractive?  Stand by.

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