The Existing Infrastructure
Videos not only use up the resources of a computer, they also demand a high bandwidth for data transmission. With regard to these two points, the situation has improved in the last few years for companies . Prices for storage space have dropped and Intranet solutions have now reached a technical state that allows videos to be transmitted with acceptable quality.
With regard to an Internet connection, the situation for home users isn't so rosy. Modems that have transmission rates up to a maximum of 56 kbps are most widespread. Only a few end users can savor a broad bandwidth technology. The installation of a fibre-glass cable in a household or a connection through a cable network are still relatively expensive affairs.
The established broad bandwidth cable network, which uses copper coaxial cables, is ideal for digital television. However, for a high speed Internet connection, some cable networks lack the necessary return line (upstream) which means that a transmission is in one direction only (unidirectional). Therefore, not every cable network provider enables you to use the Internet. Another transmission medium is the power grid. As with cable television, only few providers exist for this network. It remains to be seen whether these media will emerge in a leading role.
The real state-of-the-art solution is Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) , also known as ADSL. The prefix "A" just stands for asymmetric which describes the transmission mode. DSL (or ADSL) uses existing telephone lines and therefore eliminates the need for new wiring. The advantage of ADSL: download rates are increased by a factor of 120 (approx. 8 Mbit/s) compared with rates possible with a 56k modem.