A new technique for transmitting data over copper has enabled one vendor to achieve performance identical to fiber-optic media on bundled phone lines, a technology carriers plan to use to sell high-speed services to customers without fiber links.
Actelis Networks has 13 pending patents defending its rights to Spatial Division Multiplexing, a technology that allows carriers to send 10-megabit-per-second to 100-Mbps symmetrical traffic over eight or more unconditioned copper loops bundled together. SDM allows carriers to break up packets as they send them onto different loops and reassemble them on the other end of the link.
"Our first SDM implementation is working very well — it has run for four weeks without bit errors," says Paul Fagan, general manager at Actelis.
Actelis bases its claim of fiber-like performance on the line-bit error rate of SDM-conditioned copper lines, which is identical to fiber. Beta customers are impressed.
"I am very excited about this technology," says Al Weigand, vice president of operations at North Pittsburgh Telephone. Weigand, who compared forthcoming SDM-powered equipment with a "DSL-like solution," had been looking for an economical way to give customers that outgrow the fastest long-distance copper-based connection — a T1 (1.5 Mbps) — something faster but cheaper than a fiber- based DS-3 (45 Mbps). An ideal candidate for SDM-powered service would be a small Internet service provider that operates from someones basement. While North Pittsburgh Telephone would like to have that business, running fiber to a single-family home may not work.
Actelis will sell the gear later this year.