P. Michael Henderson


Papers Available

Check the papers available on Voice over DSL, Optical Networks, SONET/SDH, digital wrapper, and my latest paper which describes the framing and multiplexing of DS1, DS2, DS3, E1, E2, and E3 signals, titled "DS1/DS3 and E1/E3 Framing and Multiplexing." 



Thank you for visiting my Web Site.  I'm new to building web sites - so please pardon any "glitches" you may run into.

I'm an engineer-marketing person, working in the communications industry.  Like many marketing people, I started as an engineer but eventually moved to marketing to gain a wider view of the industry.  

The early days of my career were spent working as an engineer on modems for AT&T Paradyne, where I rose to Engineering Director.  In March 1996, I moved to Rockwell Semiconductor in Newport Beach, CA to run the Marketing for central site modems.  Shortly after I joined Rockwell, I helped initiate the development of 56Kbps modems.

This started the 56K modem wars between Rockwell and Lucent on one side and US Robotics on the other.  What a baptism into Marketing!  But what an exciting time!  The whole company was focused on this one product and I was marketing the central site version of it.

In case you don't remember the war, US Robotics was a modem manufacturer, headquartered in Skokie, IL, who had a strong position in the modem market, both in the central site and with end users.  An inventor by the name of Townshend came to them and proposed the idea of a higher speed modem.  They began developing the modem in secret, with the goal of rolling it out to their customers, through a software upgrade to both central site and end user modems.

If they could have achieved this goal, they would have dominated the modem business.  Other modem manufacturers would have had to come to US Robotics "hat in hand" seeking a license to the 56K technology.  Starting from scratch, it may have taken up to a year for the other modem manufacturers to develop their own 56K technology, and by that time, US Robotics would have gained a dominate position in the market.

US Robotics made the mistake many people/companies make in their situation - they talked too much.  The senior executives of US Robotics disclosed to financial analysts that they had some new modem technology, and the financial analysts, being what they are, spread the news far and wide.

Since we were already working on the technology at Rockwell, we made the logical choice and announced it on September 10, 1996.  This kicked off the war.

The problem I faced as central site marketing manager was to get manufacturers of central site modem equipment to use our 56K technology instead of US Robotics.  They actually had an incentive to work with us because US Robotics manufactured a central site product, making them a competitor.  The more difficult problem was to get the ISPs to install and advertise our 56K technology, because end customers would buy modems with the technology that their ISP used.  It was a hard marketing slog, and I had to offer financial incentives to both the equipment manufacturers and ISPs to get our technology installed and advertised.

One of my minor contributions to the fight was a paper which explained how 56K modems worked.  It received very wide distribution on the web, as many ISPs put it on their web sites to explain how 56K modems worked.  You can probably still find it on the web, or look here.

The net of the war is that, instead of dominating the modem business, US Robotics wound up being sold off to 3COM, who eventually sold them off to an Asian partnership.  They still exist as a shadow of their former selves.  So loose lips really do sink ships.

Although we were in the midst of the 56K war, I could see the time coming when higher speed communications would be required.  I began working on a number of ideas, but the one which seemed most likely to succeed was the idea of developing a "splitterless" ADSL modem technique which could be installed without a "truck roll" to the customer's home.  I organized a team to develop the technology, which we demonstrated at Comdex in 1997.  We also filed a number of patents on the concept, including a fundamental patent on "splitterless" operation, patent number 6,101,216, on which I am the lead inventor.

The splitterless ADSL concept was embraced by the communications industry, with a consortium being formed in January 1998, called the Universal ADSL Working Group (UAWG), headed by Compaq, Intel, Microsoft, and most of the major US telephone companies (Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, BellSouth, GTE, SBC, Sprint, and US West).  The work in the UAWG eventually resulted in an ITU standard for splitterless ADSL, G.992.2.

I was promoted about this time to the CTO Organization, and given free rein to investigate other potential technologies/products.  I began by investigating voice over DSL, both symmetric and asymmetric DSL.  I published two papers on the technology, one for HDSL and one for ADSL.

I then turned to the optical market, learning more about the basic technology and the market.  At the time, there wasn't a lot of knowledge of optical communications within Conexant, as Conexant was making a transition from being a modem maker to being a manufacturer of a broad range of communications products. I began attending the ANSI T1X1 and ITU Study Group 15 meetings and reading the papers on optical communications and SONET/SDH, eventually learning quite a bit about the technology and the market.  To disseminate this knowledge within the company, I wrote several papers, including one each on optical networks, SONET/SDH, and digital wrapper (G.709).  I also gave classes on the technology within the company.  The SONET paper was chosen for inclusion in the book Telecommunications Technology Handbook as Chapter 6.

In June of 2001, I accepted a position with TDK Semiconductor in Tustin, CA to do Strategic Marketing, reporting to the VP of marketing.  My responsibilities are to develop the product roadmap for the TDK broadband product line, develop strategic relationships.  During this time, I developed the concept of the "Personal Web Server" which you can read about here.

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Last updated - 08/15/2008

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