Skip to Main Content
Several spectacular changes in the communications scene over the past few years will have a still stronger impact in 1997. Most obviously, the World Wide Web has been expanding. Showing a nice mixture of optimism and concern, the telecommunications establishment is mulling how best to exploit the Web commercially while deploying such packet-switched networks as the integrated services digital network (ISDN) and such subscriber access technologies as asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) to keep the telecom infrastructure from being overwhelmed. Amid the competitive pressures generated by deregulation, telecom companies have more incentive than ever to squeeze as much performance as possible out of their existing infrastructure. Hence the attraction of local-access technologies like ADSL for boosting the capacity of installed copper subscriber loops, and long-haul technologies like wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) for boosting the capacity of installed optical fiber. Wireless local-area networks (LANs) are benefiting from spread-spectrum technology, just as cellular telephony is. Also planned is provision of satellite-based, global mobile voice and datacom services to pocketsized, hand-held devices.