Can Copper Pair Challenge Fiber
New modulation technology
is giving bonded copper pair circuits the ability to deliver
By: John Shepler
Telecommunications technology advancement
has been steadily upward toward higher and higher bandwidths.
Twisted pair copper has been the mainstay of telecom services
since the telephone was invented. Copper pair connections are
still the standard for both analog telephone lines and T1 digital
lines, including ISDN PRI trunks for PBX phone systems.
Copper is so entrenched in telecommunications
infrastructure that services over twisted pair wiring are available
nearly everywhere. Unfortunately, higher bandwidths require fiber
optic cabling and fiber optic infrastructure is not nearly as
well deployed. It's a shame that copper is so bandwidth limited.
Or is it?
Copper Competes to 45 Mbps
Can copper pair wiring really substitute for fiber optic transport
at bandwidths above 1.5 Mbps or telephone trunks of more than
24 lines? It can indeed and is available to do so right now.
Even corporate LANs based on fiber optic wiring may find that
copper WAN connections make perfect sense.
So how is it possible that twisted copper
pair can equal fiber optic performance? It seems so counter intuitive.
The answer is bonding techniques and new modulation technology.
There are also a couple of caveats. At this point, copper bandwidths
are most practical up to about 12 Mbps for bonded pairs and 45
Mbps for EoC or Ethernet over Copper. EoC also has distance limitations.
But even so, a majority of business needs can be currently served
by copper technology that is readily available.
T1 bonded pairs offer a way to multiple
T1 line bandwidth from 1.5 Mbps to 3 Mbps, 4.5 Mbps, 6 Mbps and
up to 12 Mbps. The bandwidth goes up in 1.5 Mbps increments.
Line cost is also incremental steps of T1 line pricing. For ISDN
PRI telephone trunking each T1 phone line is independent and
supports 23 outside lines plus data and switching. You simply
add another T1 line to get an additional 23 phone lines. For
data transmission, T1 lines bandwidth is bonded together to create
a single larger conduit. With pair bonding, the multiple T1 lines
act as a single higher capacity line.
Pair Bonding Enables Ethernet Over Copper
Pair bonding is also part of the technology used to implement
Ethernet over Copper. In this case the modulation technique is
different from that specified for T1 lines, but the results are
similar. MIMO or Multiple Input Multiple Output interference
canceling techniques improve performance for multiple pair in
the same binder.
Ethernet over Copper provides Metro Ethernet
transmission up to several miles from the carrier's POP or Point
of Presence. The improved modulation technology supports bandwidths
up to 45 Mbps, a level comparable to DS3 delivered on fiber optic
cable. Many medium and larger businesses, plus smaller businesses
focused on high bandwidth services such as video production,
are migrating to DS3 levels to get the performance they need.
EoC now makes that possible without the construction costs required
for new fiber optic installation.
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