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Product Reviews
January 2004

MetaLIGHT 100E

Actelis Networks, Inc.
6150 Stevenson Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94538
Tel: 866-228-3547
Web: www.actelis.com

Price: MetaLIGHT systems are priced from under $10,000 per link, depending on quantity purchased and number of modems required to establish the high speed link.

Editor's Choice Award

Installation: 5
Documentation: 4.75
Features: 5
GUI: 4.75
Overall: A

First, there was the �gold rush� of 1849 -- now, after checking out Actelis� MetaLIGHT 100E (�E� meaning Ethernet) product, there just might be a �copper rush.� Actelis� MetaLIGHT 100E product bonds several pairs of copper (up to 16) and based on G.SHDSL chipsets, it aggregates the bandwidth for each pair of copper to have long-reach, low-bit error rate at speeds that can even rival fiber. The real beauty of the Actelis product is that you don�t need to lay expensive fiber to have fiber-like speeds -- it utilizes ubiquitous copper instead.

In addition, many organizations already have copper laid between buildings and branch offices that sit unused. Using this product you can leverage your existing copper wiring to add an impressive amount of bandwidth. The Actelis technology delivers two to 67Mbps of Ethernet bandwidth (using one to 16 copper pairs) up to 18,000 feet. VDSL, by comparison, offers around 23 to 25 Mbps with a reach of only about 4,000 feet, which vastly diminishes the potential customer base. We should mention that Actelis also offers the MetaLIGHT 1500, a DS3 ATM/TDM solution that utilizes the same core technology as their Ethernet product.

Actelis told us that customers are using their technology not only for data applications but also voice and video. Since the Actelis solution only adds three milliseconds of delay, the ability for service providers to offer their customers voice and video applications can become a reality.

We tested MetaLIGHT in our lab and used a DSL simulator from Spirent that can simulate various distances (equivalent to 26AWG cable) from the CO, which affects the maximum bandwidth achievable. By utilizing the distance simulator we were able to determine the effect of distance on the product.

Before we get into our tests, first some of MetaLIGHT�s features and specifications. First, MetaLIGHT supports 10/100BaseT network interfaces. The MetaLIGHT system requires -48VDC power. While -48VDC is readily available in most carrier or service provider environments, it may not be available in certain locations. Actelis provides an optional add-on six-amp AC to DC power converter, which we found can easily attach and detach from the rear of the unit.

The product is NEBS Level 3 compliant. In fact, we noticed there was no on/off switch and we were told that it can handle any surges caused by plugging cables in with the unit on. The solution is Telcordia OSMINE compliant as well. They claim to have a typical bit error rate of 10-12 or better, which is quite impressive. Other features of the solution include automatic line prequalification and cut line protection. You can set up to two copper pairs as a backup in case a line goes down.

We should point out that Actelis solutions are based on their patent pending MetaLOOP technology that transforms multiple copper pairs into a fiber-quality High Speed Link (HSL). The HSL delivers scalable symmetrical bandwidth while complying with established international spectral compatibility standards. MetaLOOP technology combines the space and time diversity principles of spatial division multiplexing with powerful algorithms for intelligent bandwidth optimization and forward error correction.

Those familiar with DSL know that modem pairs come out screaming trying to attain the highest possible bandwidth rate, which often results in a lot of crosstalk. Well, Actelis�s modems come out screaming as well, but it will back off on one pair if there is too much crosstalk, enabling higher rates on the other pairs, resulting in a much higher aggregated rate.

Operational Testing
First, you select what bandwidth rate you want (�Target Bandwidth�) and how many copper pairs (lines) to use and the system will then go out and try to �find� that bandwidth by calibrating the lines to match the bandwidth rate that you specify. The �Target bandwidth� is determined in the planning phase before the installation. We determined that if we chose too high of a rate, the system will deduce from the huge difference between the �planned rate� and the �actual possible rate� that there is a planning fault that the user should resolve, resulting in a slower bandwidth and an alarm set to the user. As explained by Actelis, this mechanism is intended to maintain minimal noise margins for transmission resiliency against disturbances.

For example, we initially set 16 modem lines to have various distances ranging from 4,000 to 12,000 feet. We attempted to achieve 40Mbps and were successful. Next, we set all 16 modem lines to 12,000 feet and again attempted to achieve 40Mbps. It failed and we only achieved 6Mbps and the system alerted the user to resolve the �Planning Fault.�

To prove this notion correct, we kept the modems set to 12,000 feet and told the system to try and �find� 20Mbps. It achieved 19.6Mbps, which was very close to our goal bandwidth rate and which is much better than the 6Mbps when the modems were trying to achieve a 40Mbps rate.

One final test that we did was disable lines 7-16, leaving just lines 1-6 enabled. We set all the lines to 12,000 feet and attempted to achieve 12Mbps and we were once again successful. We thought it was pretty impressive to achieve 12Mbps in such conditions.

Overall, we were very impressed with the bandwidth rates achieved at such long distances. If we were to simply look at the xDSL specifications and then someone told us that they could achieve better rates using industry standards, we would say it�s impossible. Well, Actelis has proved the impossible to be possible!
Service providers are seeking to satisfy demands for high-speed data/WAN links while leveraging their existing network infrastructure wherever possible. By utilizing the Actelis MetaLIGHT solution, service providers, carriers, and even corporations can turn on high-speed data connections using ubiquitous copper to do so rather than digging trenches to install fiber. MetaLIGHT, which promises return on investment in less than a year is the perfect solution to bring �dark� copper into the �light� and to solve your bandwidth needs.

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