Cranking Up DSL Capacity

VDSL Systems' hardware allows copper networks to handle bandwidth-intensive applications

Hotels and office buildings with robust infrastructures need not build over the copper network to improve Internet access speeds for their diverse array of users. Thats because new IP-based very-high-speed DSL technologies are on the way touting speeds of up to 30 times faster than traditional DSL services.

VDSL Systems Inc., a broadband technology provider based in Helsinki, Finland, that just opened shop in Highlands Ranch, Colo., this month launched a line of IP-based very-high-speed DSL (digital subscriber line) hardware to speed up transmissions over the existing copper network.

Targeted at service providers, the products are slated to turn the last mile—still an ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) system—into a system compatible with the back-end IP network.

The objective is to transform the millions of miles of copper wire across the globe into a high-speed system capable of handling bandwidth-intensive applications such as video-on-demand and high-definition television.

"ADSLs [asymmetric digital subscriber lines] are maxing out," said Chris Britton, president of VDSL Systems Highlands Ranch office. "They can only handle one-channel video. These are problems weve been asked to solve by the service providers."

VDSL Systems customer-premise equipment and DSL access multiplexers for central offices give service providers a faster and easier way to reach users in office buildings, hotels and other environments with shared broadband access connecting multiple PCs. The SpeeDSLAM IP access multiplexer supports any network configuration and works with all transmission standards, including Gigabit Ethernet, asynchronous transfer mode, Fast Ethernet and optical networks.

In the customer premises equipment department, the company makes access routers for small and midsize offices and set-top boxes for hotel rooms.

For hotels catering to business travelers, the ability to provide videoconferencing and video-on-demand without the cost of new infrastructure is increasingly a selling point.

"If you had to stop and install fiber optics to every room in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, you wouldnt do it," said Paul Pauesick, director of research at DataComm Research Co., in Chesterfield, Mo. "DSL is a technology that is doing more and more with copper and with the installed base. Copper has proven to be pretty flexible and easy to use."

The IP-based products also allow service providers to offer bandwidth on demand and offload usage patterns to billing, facilitating new payment options.

"They are trying to provide a tool for providers to capture customers usage," Pauesick said. "With this product it would be much easier for a hotel to do some kind of micro-packet accounting."

VDSL Systems is also working on technology that can be installed in set-top boxes and on a hybrid solution for cable multiple system operators.

According to VDSL Systems, the new technology will enable service providers to deliver as many as four separate high-definition TV channels and real-time videoconferencing as well as voice and Internet access services over a single telephone line.

Carriers will be able to bundle voice, video, hosted applications and network file/application backup services, and they will be able to manage VDSL technology to provide bandwidth in varying increments to offer tiered services at different prices, according to officials.