Substantial progress has been made in the last few years in improving approaches to the trunking portion of CATV plant, largely through innovations in broadband analog optical fiber transmission technology. While this provides a trunking system with essentially unlimited potential bandwidth and excellent performance specifications, it leaves the remaining coaxial distribution plant as the weak point in these networks. This paper presents an approach to distribution architecture, and to tap design, which addresses this issue. This approach greatly reduces or eliminates the use of in-line amplification in distribution plant, and introduces the use of "active taps." This means that the reach of the distribution plant is determined primarily by cable loss, as splitting loss is largely eliminated. Active devices are used to provide isolation and output levels sufficient to drive subscriber drops. The failure of any active device in such a system would affect only the very few subscribers fed by that individual tap.
In addition to an architectural and strategic overview, specific tap design possibilities are outlined, and the capital and operating economics of such a plant are reviewed. This paper is intended to contribute to a dialogue in the cable television industry which may lead to the development of a new family of coaxial distribution hardware.