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adapters. Functions and services provided by utility companies need to be protected from intentional or accidental damage by consumers, using "firewall" techniques and specialized, operating systems. On the other hand, consumers will want flexibility in selecting services and where/how they are provided.

Intelligence can be placed in different locations, largely depending on how much control is given to (or demanded by) consumers through packaging, such as:

  • Weatherproof utility box on exterior wall. In this location, processor electronics must be hardened for extremes in temperature, humidity, dust, and other environmental hazards. It is possible using today's PC technology to package all components (including plug-in adapters) in this manner and to exclude access to consumers.

  • Interior utility box. The possibility exists to "split" the RG into an "inside/outside" combination system. The maximum point of insertion rule would allow the demarcation point to be moved inside. An inside box protects sensitive electronics, and allows for easier consumer access to the CPIs.

  • For expansion adapters, it is important to note that the need for the physical layer protocol translation does not preclude the need for a TV set-top adapter. MPEG video compression circuits and software, for example, could be placed on the adapter that is used to distribute TV signals throughout the residence, as opposed to building this intelligence into the utility box. Although more expensive initially, this allows

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