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Recent ISDN News & Events
California PUC Rules In Favor of ISDN Consumers
(NEW Nov 20th, 1996)
The ruling is not yet final, but it looks like the judge was
more impressed by the consumers' arguments than by Pac Bell's.
Here's the preliminary ruling, courtesy of Mr. Kashdan's scanner.
Thanks, Judge! Now let's see what happens between now and when the
ruling is finalized.
- 200 hour cap on unmetered monthly Home ISDN usage (Pac Bell had proposed 20)
- Free installation if not installed in 15 business days
- Hold, Consultation Hold, Three-way Conferencing, and Call
Transfer included for free with basic Home ISDN
- Wholesale rate at a discount of 17% from the retail rates
56 kilobits/sec over analog phone lines? Both
U.S.Robotics have announced modems that can
carry up to 56 kilobits/second over ordinary phone lines- as
long as the number you're calling has ISDN or a T1 line,
and doesn't get converted into an analog line at the other end,
and you have a clean digital connection.
It's one more small victory for users, if it works as advertised.
Unfortunately, it's not 56k in both directions, and if two people
with these modems call each other, they'll only get 28k.
That means it's not much good for realtime online games
(which is what I work on most of the time).
The trick (for you EE's out there) the modem digitizes at
a sampling rate much higher than 56k/sec, so it can
happily figure out what happened to the bits from the telco,
but since the telco digitizes at 56k/sec, the upstream link
is stuck at 28.8 or so.
Native Win95 ISDN Drivers Work... almost
The ISDN Accelerator Pack is Microsoft's native Win95 ISDN support.
I just tried this out with the U.S. Robotics Sportster 128
(aka the ISC Securelink 2). It works great- I didn't have to
read the manuals once I found the
A few hints:
I was online in five minutes. The latest drivers are stable, except
that they hang my machine sometimes when unloading (but I heard
from one fellow that this happens sometimes even without ISDN).
- Get the phone guy to write your phone numbers AND SPIDS on the
jack before he leaves. It'll be hard to misplace them that way.
- Enter your line's phone numbers WITHOUT area code.
- Ignore the manual, ignore Microsoft's web site; just download
the drivers from elroy.usr.com
and do what comes naturally. They include MS's 'ISDN Accellerator',
so you don't have to install that seperately. (In fact, I've heard it
is not yet compatible with the 1.1 ISDN Accellerator, so you're
better off using the one shipped with the USR drivers.)
SPIDs: the NIUF wants to get rid of 'em, too
NIUF Meeting March 15th, 1996, discussed SPID Simplification
Every other civilized country has abolished SPIDs as a form of punishment,
March 13-15 meeting
will host a panel on the subject:
On Friday March 15, 1996 at the NIUF Versions Working Group a panel of
experts representing the Regional Bell Operating Companies, AT&T
Network Systems, Ericsson Network Systems, Nortel, Siemens
Stromberg-Carlson, and Bellcore reported on proposed simplifications
for the SPID. The meeting included technical presentations on the
There was also a presentation entitled Taming the Beastly SPID ; see the meeting
agenda for details.
- A Generic SPID Format,
- Assignment of Feature Keys to Default TSP (Non-Initializing Terminals), and
- A process for Automated SPID Selection.
This overlaps with a similar effort by
AT&T Network Systems, 3Com, Ascend, and U.S. Robotics
in January. I think everyone wants to see this happen;
the only question is, will it happen before ADSL
or cable modems make ISDN moot?
SPIDs are not the only configuration problem. Why do ISDN devices
need any configuration? Even entering in the telephone
number is too much- you don't have to do that for a 28.8 modem.
New Bandwidth On Demand Add-on for PPP: BACP
A group of vendors has proposed an interoperable way to get
everyone's PPP products to agree how to add and drop channels
to handle changing load. Many products have been able to
do this, but only when calling another unit of the same type.
This is a big step forward for PPP. For the gory details,
"Draft PPP Bandwidth Allocation Control Protocol (BACP)".
recently revealed that it plans to spend $500 million to equip phone
companies to allow tapping of 0.25% of all phone lines in the
country on short notice.
They claim they won't tap any more lines than they
do now, about 1000 a year. That's about $50,000
per wiretap, if the equipment lasts 10 years.
Seems like an incredibly expensive way to catch crooks to me,
and a serious temptation for whoever's in power to tap 250,000 or
so phones. That would be enough to listen in on all the politicians
in the country.... or all the journalists...
Find out more about the FBI's plans,
and decide for yourself whether this massive increase in wiretapping capacity
is a good idea. If you think the FBI
is going too far, start calling talk shows and writing senators!
You can learn more about the FBI's efforts at
VTW's BillWatch (volume #24) or by visiting the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Microsoft Announces Win95 Support For ISDN
You can read their press release here,
"Windows 95 ISDN drivers will be available on-line for free download in the fourth quarter of 1995." A web page with details for developers
is promised soon. Until then, you can read the page at CICAT on how Win95 supports ISDN internally.
Flat Rate vs. Metered Pricing
To follow the heated discussion about the changes in Bell Atlantic
ISDN pricing, check out
Issues Concerning Pricing of ISDN Services.
US West is now proposing to triple their flat rate price; see ISDN Tariff News.
The FCC also has a few tidbits on ISDN charges. (Updated address)
One man's view of GTE's Florida Tariff
ISDN TA's break the $300 price barrier in US!
Psst! Think twice about spending more than $275 for a BitSurfr;
seems like Motorola must have lowered prices on the non-Pro Bitsurfr.
Retail chains seen offering ISDN equipment in California
so far include Egghead, Fry's, and CompUSA. A mail-order house or two and a
few smaller stores carry it, too.
One caveat: although the latest BitSurfr firmware supports Win95, there's
said to still be a glitch with Win95 Plus support.
One place that quotes a good price on the Bitsurfer is NECX;
not sure if it's in stock, though.
Here's their catalog section for ISDN Terminal Adapters.
Frame Relay Page
Businesses will be interested in the page of
Frame Relay Resources
that Steve Neil at Motorola has put together. Frame Relay
is a sister technology to ISDN, often used by businesses instead of ISDN.
It is more oriented towards WAN's than casual dialup use.
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Author: Dan Kegel <email@example.com>
Copyright 1995 Dan Kegel. All rights reserved.