Copper at the Speed of Fiber?

A new standard for faster DSL could bring better broadband to homes before fiber gets there

4 min read

13 October 2011—As ideal as optical fiber is for transmitting huge quantities of data over long distances, running fiber to millions of individual homes is one expensive construction project. For now, the quest for faster broadband for the masses still involves finding better ways to use the existing copper infrastructure, such as digital subscriber lines (DSL), which evolved from telephone dial-up service. Alcatel-Lucent has just released technology that it says will more than triple the 20- to 30-megabit-per-second data speeds that most DSL subscribers and cable modem users are limited to today.

In late September, at the Broadband World Forum, in Paris, Alcatel-Lucent announced that it is starting commercial rollout of an enhanced version of a very high-speed DSL technology, called VDSL2, with vectoring. Vectoring is a technique that reduces copper-wire interference simultaneously for multiple customers in order to push broadband speeds over 100 Mbps. While running fiber all the way to the home can produce speeds of several hundred megabits per second, VDSL2 vectoring can use legacy telephone access networks.

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The Cellular Industry’s Clash Over the Movement to Remake Networks

The wireless industry is divided on Open RAN’s goal to make network components interoperable

13 min read
Photo: George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

We've all been told that 5G wireless is going to deliver amazing capabilities and services. But it won't come cheap. When all is said and done, 5G will cost almost US $1 trillion to deploy over the next half decade. That enormous expense will be borne mostly by network operators, companies like AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and dozens more around the world that provide cellular service to their customers. Facing such an immense cost, these operators asked a very reasonable question: How can we make this cheaper and more flexible?

Their answer: Make it possible to mix and match network components from different companies, with the goal of fostering more competition and driving down prices. At the same time, they sparked a schism within the industry over how wireless networks should be built. Their opponents—and sometimes begrudging partners—are the handful of telecom-equipment vendors capable of providing the hardware the network operators have been buying and deploying for years.

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