Vendors Boost DSL Accessibility And Cost
New products on offer promise connecition at greater distances and for more users per point of presence.
Several new products are expected to make DSL service more accessible and boost it as a cost-competitive alternative to T1 and frame relay.
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Paradyne, Redstone Communications and CopperCom plan to unveil WAN products in two weeks, and while they're intended for service provider networks, the products will likely make it easier and cheaper for enterprises to connect remote users at higher speeds.
"DSL is such a cost-effective way for me to connect telecommuters and remote sites," said Steve Clark, director of information services at Madison Building & Construction Co. "But so far I have been limited in my use of DSL because it simply was not widely available."
At the upcoming SuperComm trade show, Paradyne will showcase its Hotwire MVL technology that greatly increases the distance over which high-speed DSL services can be delivered. Such a capability could help remove the limit on the number of users that can be served from a single point of presence.
Most DSL technologies are rated for 18,000-foot local loops at 7Mbps from the network to the user and 640Kbps from the user to the network.
The Hotwire MVL technology can extend the reach of a service or allow it to be offered at a higher speed. For instance, the New Knoxville Telephone Co. in Ohio has been able to deliver 640-Kbps DSL service on a 29,600-foot local loop using Paradyne's technology.
Redstone Communications' product tackles a different DSL deployment problem. At SuperComm, the company will introduce the Broadband Access Feature Pak for its RX Edge Switch Router, which was announced last fall.
The new software helps providers deploy and manage DSL services. With the RX switch and the Broadband Access Feature Pak, service providers can resell DSL service from multiple carriers and then mask it from the users. Essentially this lets a provider activate many disparate high-speed access services from different carriers as one service offering.
This approach has already had some success. Last year, Concentric Networks started offering high-speed access services to its customers using a product from RedBack Networks. The RedBack System Management Server allows Concentric to use DSL services from Covad, NorthPoint and PacBell to reach a larger number of users than would have been possible with a single-carrier approach.
CopperCom is taking still another tack. The company has developed the CopperComplete DSL system that lets a provider offer up to 16 voice circuits and high-speed access on an existing DSL service.
The CopperCom system includes a subscriber unit and a switch that sits in a provider's network behind a DSLAM. The subscriber unit supports high-speed data services and up to 16 traditional analog voice lines. IT managers can continue to use their current telephones, fax machines, PBXes and other analog devices with the CopperCom customer premises equipment.
As users place telephone calls, bandwidth is dynamically allocated to those calls. Then when the calls are terminated, the bandwidth is automatically restored to the data link.
The calls are normal analog voice calls. In the service provider's network, all traffic is passed from a DSLAM to an ATM switch.
From there, the data traffic is then sent to an ISP backbone and the voice traffic is transported to the CopperCom switch, which in turn passes it to a traditional Class 5 central-office voice switch.