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Squeezing Capacity From Copper Networks While Undertaking a Transition to Fiber Broadband

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Photo of Chip Spann of Connected Nation Michigan

November 24, 2020 — In a virtual conversation sponsored by Connected Nation Michigan, Wes Kerr, director of community solutions at Connected Nation, was joined by Chip Spann, director of engineering and technical services at Connected Nation, to discuss the predominant technologies providing broadband service today and detail what kinds of technologies can be expected in the future.

According to Spann, there has been much effort focused on revitalizing the broadband technologies of the past to meet the bandwidth demands of the present moment.

“Vectored DSL technology is keeping many companies in the game,” said Spann, explaining that “vectoring” is a method of increasing the speeds possible over existing digital subscriber lines, so that they can deliver higher bandwidth speeds than they previously would be able to achieve.

The technology is allowing companies like AT&T, CenturyLink, and Frontier to maintain relevancy across their rural DSL networks, rather than retiring the aging copper systems.

VDSL is claimed to be capable of delivering speeds of 80 Megabits per second (Mbps) within the first 500 feet from the DSL Access Multiplexer, and speeds of 10 Mbps at distances up to three to four miles away from the DSLAM, or the DSL Access Multiplexer.

“Many rural Americans currently have no choice besides DSL,” said Spann. “I’m glad to see these companies are stepping up to provide better through-put speeds to those customers.”

Spann detailed the fiber technologies being employed to power futureproof networks across the country and the differences between fiber-to-the-home technologies being utilized.

“The key difference between active optical fiber networks and passive optical fiber networks is how the signal is split between the multiple fibers going to each customer and the resulting speeds,” said Spann.

Active optical fiber networks are considered point-to-point networks, as each customer gets its own individual fiber strand. On the other hand, passive optical fiber networks use optical splitters to divide bandwidth. PON customers share bandwidth, while active ethernet subscribers do not, resulting in a difference in speeds.

While PONs typically offer symmetrical speeds of 1 Gigabit per second, active ethernet can exceed this, commonly offering symmetrical speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

“PONs are advantageous in rural marketplaces because they are more cost effective to deploy,” said Spann, adding that AONs are more beneficial in urban markets.

“XGS-PON, a higher bandwidth symmetrical version of PON, is something you’re going to start hearing about,” said Spann, detailing more future forward technology. XGS-PON is a way of introducing higher bandwidth to PON networks, offering symmetrical speeds of 10 Gbps.

“AT&T has advanced its fiber-to-the-home ‘last mile’ U-Verse network by deploying XGS-PON and has targeted 40 markets across the U.S.,” said Spann.

Looking forward, Spann said 5G and low earth orbit satellites hold the potential to offer new possibilities.

“LEOs claim they can solve the connectivity and latency issues associated with traditional geostationary satellites,” he said. LEO satellites “offer a new opportunity for areas unserved by other broadband technologies, if they work out the way Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos say they will.”

Former Assistant Editor Jericho Casper graduated from the University of Virginia studying media policy. She grew up in Newport News in an area heavily impacted by the digital divide. She has a passion for universal access and a vendetta against anyone who stands in the way of her getting better broadband. She is now Associate Broadband Researcher at the Institute for Local Self Reliance's Community Broadband Network Initiative.

Fiber

Windstream Focuses on Gigabit Infrastructure for Future Broadband Challenges

Company head says scalable, gigabit future is a priority now to deal with future broadband challenges.

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Photo of Tony Thomas from his address during Fiber Connect 2021.

November 24, 2020 — In a virtual conversation sponsored by Connected Nation Michigan, Wes Kerr, director of community solutions at Connected Nation, was joined by Chip Spann, director of engineering and technical services at Connected Nation, to discuss the predominant technologies providing broadband service today and detail what kinds of technologies can be expected in the future.

According to Spann, there has been much effort focused on revitalizing the broadband technologies of the past to meet the bandwidth demands of the present moment.

“Vectored DSL technology is keeping many companies in the game,” said Spann, explaining that “vectoring” is a method of increasing the speeds possible over existing digital subscriber lines, so that they can deliver higher bandwidth speeds than they previously would be able to achieve.

The technology is allowing companies like AT&T, CenturyLink, and Frontier to maintain relevancy across their rural DSL networks, rather than retiring the aging copper systems.

VDSL is claimed to be capable of delivering speeds of 80 Megabits per second (Mbps) within the first 500 feet from the DSL Access Multiplexer, and speeds of 10 Mbps at distances up to three to four miles away from the DSLAM, or the DSL Access Multiplexer.

“Many rural Americans currently have no choice besides DSL,” said Spann. “I’m glad to see these companies are stepping up to provide better through-put speeds to those customers.”

Spann detailed the fiber technologies being employed to power futureproof networks across the country and the differences between fiber-to-the-home technologies being utilized.

“The key difference between active optical fiber networks and passive optical fiber networks is how the signal is split between the multiple fibers going to each customer and the resulting speeds,” said Spann.

Active optical fiber networks are considered point-to-point networks, as each customer gets its own individual fiber strand. On the other hand, passive optical fiber networks use optical splitters to divide bandwidth. PON customers share bandwidth, while active ethernet subscribers do not, resulting in a difference in speeds.

While PONs typically offer symmetrical speeds of 1 Gigabit per second, active ethernet can exceed this, commonly offering symmetrical speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

“PONs are advantageous in rural marketplaces because they are more cost effective to deploy,” said Spann, adding that AONs are more beneficial in urban markets.

“XGS-PON, a higher bandwidth symmetrical version of PON, is something you’re going to start hearing about,” said Spann, detailing more future forward technology. XGS-PON is a way of introducing higher bandwidth to PON networks, offering symmetrical speeds of 10 Gbps.

“AT&T has advanced its fiber-to-the-home ‘last mile’ U-Verse network by deploying XGS-PON and has targeted 40 markets across the U.S.,” said Spann.

Looking forward, Spann said 5G and low earth orbit satellites hold the potential to offer new possibilities.

“LEOs claim they can solve the connectivity and latency issues associated with traditional geostationary satellites,” he said. LEO satellites “offer a new opportunity for areas unserved by other broadband technologies, if they work out the way Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos say they will.”

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Fiber

Fiber Connect 2021 Panelists Reflect on Political Action During Pandemic and Concerns

Industry association reps discussed changing attitudes in Washington about broadband and concerns about political action.

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Photo of panel during Fiber Connect 2021.

November 24, 2020 — In a virtual conversation sponsored by Connected Nation Michigan, Wes Kerr, director of community solutions at Connected Nation, was joined by Chip Spann, director of engineering and technical services at Connected Nation, to discuss the predominant technologies providing broadband service today and detail what kinds of technologies can be expected in the future.

According to Spann, there has been much effort focused on revitalizing the broadband technologies of the past to meet the bandwidth demands of the present moment.

“Vectored DSL technology is keeping many companies in the game,” said Spann, explaining that “vectoring” is a method of increasing the speeds possible over existing digital subscriber lines, so that they can deliver higher bandwidth speeds than they previously would be able to achieve.

The technology is allowing companies like AT&T, CenturyLink, and Frontier to maintain relevancy across their rural DSL networks, rather than retiring the aging copper systems.

VDSL is claimed to be capable of delivering speeds of 80 Megabits per second (Mbps) within the first 500 feet from the DSL Access Multiplexer, and speeds of 10 Mbps at distances up to three to four miles away from the DSLAM, or the DSL Access Multiplexer.

“Many rural Americans currently have no choice besides DSL,” said Spann. “I’m glad to see these companies are stepping up to provide better through-put speeds to those customers.”

Spann detailed the fiber technologies being employed to power futureproof networks across the country and the differences between fiber-to-the-home technologies being utilized.

“The key difference between active optical fiber networks and passive optical fiber networks is how the signal is split between the multiple fibers going to each customer and the resulting speeds,” said Spann.

Active optical fiber networks are considered point-to-point networks, as each customer gets its own individual fiber strand. On the other hand, passive optical fiber networks use optical splitters to divide bandwidth. PON customers share bandwidth, while active ethernet subscribers do not, resulting in a difference in speeds.

While PONs typically offer symmetrical speeds of 1 Gigabit per second, active ethernet can exceed this, commonly offering symmetrical speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

“PONs are advantageous in rural marketplaces because they are more cost effective to deploy,” said Spann, adding that AONs are more beneficial in urban markets.

“XGS-PON, a higher bandwidth symmetrical version of PON, is something you’re going to start hearing about,” said Spann, detailing more future forward technology. XGS-PON is a way of introducing higher bandwidth to PON networks, offering symmetrical speeds of 10 Gbps.

“AT&T has advanced its fiber-to-the-home ‘last mile’ U-Verse network by deploying XGS-PON and has targeted 40 markets across the U.S.,” said Spann.

Looking forward, Spann said 5G and low earth orbit satellites hold the potential to offer new possibilities.

“LEOs claim they can solve the connectivity and latency issues associated with traditional geostationary satellites,” he said. LEO satellites “offer a new opportunity for areas unserved by other broadband technologies, if they work out the way Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos say they will.”

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Fiber

Speed Focus Could Harm Telecom Industry, Plume CCO Says at Fiber Connect 2021

Companies disagree about what fiber providers should prioritize, and whether hard standards should be set.

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Photo of panel during Fiber Connect 2021.

November 24, 2020 — In a virtual conversation sponsored by Connected Nation Michigan, Wes Kerr, director of community solutions at Connected Nation, was joined by Chip Spann, director of engineering and technical services at Connected Nation, to discuss the predominant technologies providing broadband service today and detail what kinds of technologies can be expected in the future.

According to Spann, there has been much effort focused on revitalizing the broadband technologies of the past to meet the bandwidth demands of the present moment.

“Vectored DSL technology is keeping many companies in the game,” said Spann, explaining that “vectoring” is a method of increasing the speeds possible over existing digital subscriber lines, so that they can deliver higher bandwidth speeds than they previously would be able to achieve.

The technology is allowing companies like AT&T, CenturyLink, and Frontier to maintain relevancy across their rural DSL networks, rather than retiring the aging copper systems.

VDSL is claimed to be capable of delivering speeds of 80 Megabits per second (Mbps) within the first 500 feet from the DSL Access Multiplexer, and speeds of 10 Mbps at distances up to three to four miles away from the DSLAM, or the DSL Access Multiplexer.

“Many rural Americans currently have no choice besides DSL,” said Spann. “I’m glad to see these companies are stepping up to provide better through-put speeds to those customers.”

Spann detailed the fiber technologies being employed to power futureproof networks across the country and the differences between fiber-to-the-home technologies being utilized.

“The key difference between active optical fiber networks and passive optical fiber networks is how the signal is split between the multiple fibers going to each customer and the resulting speeds,” said Spann.

Active optical fiber networks are considered point-to-point networks, as each customer gets its own individual fiber strand. On the other hand, passive optical fiber networks use optical splitters to divide bandwidth. PON customers share bandwidth, while active ethernet subscribers do not, resulting in a difference in speeds.

While PONs typically offer symmetrical speeds of 1 Gigabit per second, active ethernet can exceed this, commonly offering symmetrical speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

“PONs are advantageous in rural marketplaces because they are more cost effective to deploy,” said Spann, adding that AONs are more beneficial in urban markets.

“XGS-PON, a higher bandwidth symmetrical version of PON, is something you’re going to start hearing about,” said Spann, detailing more future forward technology. XGS-PON is a way of introducing higher bandwidth to PON networks, offering symmetrical speeds of 10 Gbps.

“AT&T has advanced its fiber-to-the-home ‘last mile’ U-Verse network by deploying XGS-PON and has targeted 40 markets across the U.S.,” said Spann.

Looking forward, Spann said 5G and low earth orbit satellites hold the potential to offer new possibilities.

“LEOs claim they can solve the connectivity and latency issues associated with traditional geostationary satellites,” he said. LEO satellites “offer a new opportunity for areas unserved by other broadband technologies, if they work out the way Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos say they will.”

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