Cable modems: Cooking with gas

— 1:17 AM on February 29, 2000

Broadcom Corp., a communications chip maker, announced it was going to purchase Digital Furnace Corp. (seriously, would I make that up?). You can get the skinny here at Yahoo Daily News. If you're wondering why you should even care, Broadcom got some software out of the deal by the name of Propane. The software upgrades DOCSIS cable modems by using "special mathematical algorithms to keep the flow different kinds of Internet traffic neat and orderly. . ."

The net result here is that it will boost cable modem speeds by up to 200%. Speaking as a cable modem user, I'm ecstatic, of course, but at the same time this kinda cracks me up. I'm currently capped at 1.5Mbps downstream and 384Kbps upstream; I'm not exactly crying myself to sleep at night. But these guys are working on the fundamental assumption that cable modems aren't fast enough. To quote Vincent Vega, "That's a bold statement." I like it. This is the bandwidth equivalent of Carmack getting his Ferrari F50 and saying "Not fast enough. Stick on some turbochargers."

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