Speeds of 40Mbps ‘achievable’ here

28 Jan 2008

Symmetrical speeds of up to 40Mbps can now be achieved over copper networks in Ireland if certain technology is used, Smart Telecom’s chief technology officer told siliconrepublic.com.

This follows a pre-Christmas agreement between Eircom and ComReg on electronic frequency management over copper networks in Ireland.

Smart’s CTO Ronan Kelly told siliconrepublic.com that the company had lobbied ComReg and Eircom since June last year to get new frequencies enabled on Eircom’s existing copper loop frequency management plan.

This plan covers the use of existing services like ISDN, ADSL 1 and ADSL 2 on the nation’s copper network.

“These services have to interoperate with each other. You can’t have one service knocking out another. So when you want to introduce a new service or technology it requires testing within Eircom and within the industry,” Kelly explained.

Smart has deployed symmetrical digital subscriber loop (SDSL) equipment across its 37 exchanges nationwide.

“Existing broadband services use a frequency standard called G.FHDSL which caters for standard DSL broadband. However, a new standard called E.FHDSL, with the ‘e’ standing for ‘enhanced’, allows for up to 5Mbps symmetric broadband per copper pair.

“The symmetric technology we deployed could provide the enhanced service but we had it switched off.

“We set about lobbying Eircom to get these new frequencies enabled and deliver 5Mbps per pair.

“Our equipment supports the bonding of pairs to a maximum of eight pairs, which can allow us to deliver up to 40Mbps of symmetric broadband.”

Kelly said that despite the metropolitan area networks (MANs) and other fibre networks being deployed in Ireland, the nation will be living with copper for a long time to come.

“While fibre can enable speeds up to 100Mbps, 40Mbps is not something to be sniffed at.”

Kelly said the new frequency management standard has been enabled for up to 100 businesses countrywide.

“This will help in particular areas where businesses want to avail of the MANs around the country. In some cities where fibre is plentiful businesses are still finding themselves stranded and don’t want to deal with the costs of digging ground and putting fibre in.

“This electrical frequency management over copper would allow businesses to avail of MANs over the last mile of copper and significantly reduces the barrier to entry for accessing MANs.

“This allows us to get rid of massive installation charges and as a result we are seeing significant traction within the corporate base. There are other solutions we are working on that will bring this further out into the regions,” Kelly told siliconrepublic.com.

By John Kennedy