Could Bell Lab Rescue Telephone Copper Lines?

Could Bell Lab Rescue Telephone Copper Lines?

Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Lab recently broke records when it successfully transferred 10 Gbps of data over 30 meters and 1 Gbps over 70 meters using traditional copper telephone lines.

The research lab’s XG-Fast technology easily competes with fiber optic services.

Telco companies find breakthroughs like this particularly appealing because the alternative allows them to sidestep the demand for fiber optics and deliver faster broadband speeds through existing copper lines thereby removing the need to replace them.

Companies like Verizon feel that video streaming services like Netflix should incur part of the cost required to upgrade outdated networks that cannot support high bandwidth demands.

Advancements such as these enable Internet service providers to postpone upgrading to faster technology which could surmount to billions of dollars.

In 2010, Verizon stopped deploying fiber optic cabling after forking out $23 billion dollars in fiber optic installation.

However, this particular XG-Fast technology requires pairing traditional copper lines with fiber optics to truly optimize performance.

Mark Jackson, chief editor of  ISPreview.co.uk comments that even though the technology is truly a breakthrough for copper technology, data transmitted at 500 Mhz is too high a frequency to successfully transfer data at longer distances.

fiber_opticJackson observes how quickly the data rate transfer plummets from 10Gbps over 70 meters to 1 Gbps over 30 meters. Because the data rate transfer decreases over longer distances, the XG-Fast technology could only supplant fiber optics in short distances such as those connections within a household network and would require the aid of a main fiber optic supply source to truly reach optimal speeds.

Copper wire has long been the foundation of telecommunications since the beginning of the 1820’s when Alexander Graham Bell first began experimenting with transmitting speech telegraphically. Since then, landlines have become an anachronism in the world of telecommunications with more efficient UTP and fiber optic cabling options.  But it seems that the new XG-Fast technology has “given the traditional copper telephone lines a new lease of life”.

Do you think the switch to fiber optics is long overdue, or should telco companies continue to resuscitate the utility of copper land lines?

Let us know what you think! Leave a comment below.

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