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100 Mbps Ethernet over Copper is Available
Business bandwidth in the range of 20 to 100 Mbps is now available over copper pair.

By: John Shepler

Ethernet over Copper is rapidly taking over from T1 lines as the bandwidth service of choice for low to medium speed applications. Multiple copper pair can support bandwidths of 20 Mbps up to 50 Mbps in some locations. Beyond that, it’s assumed that fiber optic service has to be brought in. Not any more. Now there’s 100 Mbps Ethernet over Copper available from Paetec.

A New Use For Existing Copper
Twisted pair copper has a legacy of connecting central offices to telephone sets for over a century. The enormous installed base of copper connections makes this an extremely valuable resource even in the era of digital communications and fiber optic cabling. The problem is that unshielded small gauge copper wire loops were engineered to carry low frequency audio signals up toseveral miles. It’s a tribute to clever engineering that these same pairs can be repurposed to carry high frequency digital signals.

Bonded Pairs Dramatically Increase Bandwidth
Paetec is applying Ethernet over bonded Copper Products from Overture Networks as the technology behind this amazing bandwidth fete. Overture acquired the technology when it purchased Hatteras Networks earlier this year. Their HN product series can deliver up to 15 Mbps per copper pair depending on distance. By bonding up to 32 pairs, bandwidths approaching 500 Mbps can be achieved. Typically, the equipment is used to support user bandwidths from 10 to 100 Mbps.

Fast Ethernet For LAN, MAN and WAN
Speeds in the hundreds of Mbps, even up to 1 Gbps, over copper have been announced in experimental setups. Now, you can order 100 Mbps Ethernet over Copper as a standard bandwidth service. This is particularly significant in that 100 Mbps “Fast” Ethernet is a standard LAN speed. By extending this into the MAN and WAN, the bandwidth speed bump experienced when exiting the office is eliminated. Two locations can share files as if they were side by side in the same building.

Who Needs More Bandwidth?
Ethernet over Copper technology has been gaining in popularity as the need for higher speed network connections increases. Business automation, medical file transfers, video transport and the move to cloud based services is rendering low bandwidth connections obsolete. T1 line used to be considered a broadband service at 1.5 Mbps. Now many companies need at least 10 Mbps to get their jobs done. So, too, wireless backhaul was fine using T1 lines as long as the traffic was voice and low speed data. Since 3G and 4G have become so popular, slow backhaul is no longer acceptable.

Save The Fiber Construction Cost
Why not just switch to fiber optic service with it’s unlimited bandwidth? Someday that will be the case. Right now, ready fiber access is available in core business districts and colocation centers. Many metropolitan buildings remain unlit for fiber. Small and medium size towns are relatively fiber-poor. Yes, there is a lot of fiber construction underway. But why pay a king’s ransom and wait six months to a year when there are multi-pair coppercables already run into your building? By employing Ethernet over Copper technology to take full advantage of that existing wiring, you can have higher bandwidths now without enormous construction costs.

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