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Exploring Carrier Media Options: Speeds and Needs

Technological advancements fueling broader media opportunities have increased the speeds for customer needs, with options designed for service providers, as discussed in-depth in this afternoon’s session, Next-Generation Technology Fiber vs. Copper vs. Gigabit Wireless.

The event features speakers from copper bonding gear vendor Actelis Networks Inc., point-to-point microwave radio maker BridgeWave Communications and service provider XO Communications Inc. Jerry Watts, vice president of government industry affairs for Interstate FiberNet, will moderate the session.

Whether carriers have transmission facilities in the ground or not, panelists will detail three primary options fiber, copper and broadband wireless and the best uses for each by telcos looking to effectively meet the evolving needs of their customer bases.

The demand for Ethernet services is booming as businesses, educational and health care systems are all looking to increase capacity and lower cost by replacing traditional T1 and frame relay WAN services, said Craig Easley, vice president of marketing for Actelis Networks. The company makes equipment that enables customers to combine multiple channels on a DSL line into a much larger one called copper bonding for bandwidth-devouring applications.

Easley recently was named to the board of directors of the Metro Ethernet Forum, an industry group created to drive Ethernet technology in service provider networks, among other goals.

Actelis and competitors are capitalizing on service providers interest in maximizing the voice-grade, twisted-pair wire they already have in the ground in access networks, rather than the cost and time of replacing it with fiber. The decision comes to one of economics. The lack of fiber in the access network is the No. 1 challenge to reaching more potential subscribers, claimed Easley.

Providers can deploy 5.7mbps per pair, and bonding four to eight pairs lets them offer 10mbps to 45mbps services, which is the sweet spot of the market, according to Easley. XO, which is represented in the session by Heather Burnett Gold, senior vice president of government relations for the carrier, is delivering Ethernet services on equipment from Actelis and others.

The carrier operates an IP OC192 backbone network with OC12 uplink in its markets and to its data centers, over 100 private and public peering relationships, and both dedicated Internet access and DSL access PoPs. For carriers not wishing to lay additional copper or fiber and not yet able to handle soaring customer bandwidth needs, BridgeWave Communications provides radios that deliver 100mbps and gigabit speeds using licensed or unlicensed frequency bands when mounted on buildings in densely populated areas.

With the wireless approach, carriers can service enterprise customers, multidwelling units and even other service providers, with a payback in as little as six months in some cases, according to session speaker Gregg Levin, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the 8-year-old company.

The top applications are high-capacity business access, augmenting fiber in city network backbones, private network services and wireless base station backhaul, said Levin. And once your bandwidth reaches about 200 megabits, its cheaper to go with gigabit.

BridgeWaves radios run in the 60GHz (spectrum license required) and 80GHz (unlicensed) frequency bands, which are far higher than traditional point-to-point microwave links used for decades. The former model is designed for distances of under a mile, while the 80GHz model is targeted at distances of 1 to 3 miles, added Levin.

As is the case with copper bonding technology, demand for Ethernet services is a big driver in the deployment of BridgeWave broadband wireless equipment. The biggest selling point for BridgeWaves wares: For point-to-point wireless links, its a substitute for installing fiber, claimed Levin.

The three speakers will go well beyond feeds, speeds and even customer needs to explore the economics carriers need to consider when evolving the three options.

Actelis Networks Inc. www.actelis.com
BridgeWave Communications www.bridgewave.com
Metro Ethernet Forum www.metroethernetforum.org
XO Communications Inc. www.xo.com


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