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Network gear to extend broadband's reach

Network gear to extend broadband's reach

Networking vendors last week announced moves to extend broadband services to customers they formerly could not reach. 3Com, Cisco Systems and Pulsecom highlighted products that overcome limitations of high-speed data access technologies, which run over existing coaxial cable and copper-wire infrastructures.

At the Comdex trade show here, 3Com officials revealed details of an ISDN DSL (IDSL) modem to be announced by the end of this month, which will provide up to 288Kbps throughput full-time to customers located beyond the reach of conventional DSL. On carrier networks equipped with repeaters for ISDN, the IDSL modem will work at locations as far as 11 kilometres from the carrier central office. Today, users farther than 5.5 kilometres from the central office cannot receive DSL service.

IDSL delivers always-on service that uses bundled leased-line ISDN connections. Unlike ISDN, it does not require per-usage charges and is easier to set up, according to 3Com. It can deliver a maximum 144Kbps both to and from the customer site. Carriers' monthly fees for IDSL are likely to range from $US50 to $210, but will present many users with their first opportunity to get DSL services, 3Com said.

The modem can work with any service provider's DSL access multiplexer that supports Point-to-Point Protocol. It includes both Universal Serial Bus and serial connectors as well as software that supports both PC and Macintosh clients.

The IDSL modem is available now.

Also at Comdex, Cisco unveiled products that can deliver broadband even in areas where last-mile carrier networks are not available. The Cisco WT2700 Wireless Technology Suite can be added to the company's Universal Broadband Routers. It is the first set of products from Cisco's Broadband Fixed Wireless Ecosystem, announced last month.

In announcing the suite, Cisco touted trials of the wireless technology on broadband provider Excite@Home's network and for City Telecom Hong Kong. City Telecom has set up high-speed wireless links carrying voice and video over IP.

The WT2700 is available now, priced at $US21,850.

PulseCom announced a deal with BellSouth in which the RBOC will use PulseCom equipment to bring DSL to customers on Digital Loop Carrier (DLC) systems. PulseCom's WavePacer RAM-1100 allows users on any type of DLC system to enjoy DSL services.

DLC last-mile networks have been deployed in many suburban areas in BellSouth's service area. The WavePacer lets carriers deploy either Asymmetric DSL or DSL Lite services.

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