The February 2023 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

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.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

How Police Exploited the Capitol Riot’s Digital Records

Forensic technology is powerful, but is it worth the privacy trade-offs?

11 min read
 Illustration of the silhouette of a person with upraised arm holding a cellphone in front of the U.S. Capitol building. Superimposed on the head is a green matrix, which represents data points used for facial recognition
Gabriel Zimmer

The group of well-dressed young men who gathered on the outskirts of Baltimore on the night of 5 January 2021 hardly looked like extremists. But the next day, prosecutors allege, they would all breach the United States Capitol during the deadly insurrection. Several would loot and destroy media equipment, and one would assault a policeman.

No strangers to protest, the men, members of the America First movement, diligently donned masks to obscure their faces. None boasted of their exploits on social media, and none of their friends or family would come forward to denounce them. But on 5 January, they made one piping hot, family-size mistake: They shared a pizza.

Keep Reading ↓Show less