First, there was the ï¿½gold rushï¿½ of 1849 -- now, after checking out
Actelisï¿½ MetaLIGHT 100E (ï¿½Eï¿½ meaning Ethernet) product, there just
might be a ï¿½copper rush.ï¿½ Actelisï¿½ 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 donï¿½t 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
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 MetaLIGHTï¿½s 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
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, Actelisï¿½s 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.
First, you select what bandwidth rate you want (ï¿½Target
Bandwidthï¿½) and how many copper pairs (lines) to use and the system will
then go out and try to ï¿½findï¿½ that bandwidth by calibrating the lines
to match the bandwidth rate that you specify. The ï¿½Target bandwidthï¿½
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 ï¿½planned rateï¿½ and the ï¿½actual possible
rateï¿½ 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 ï¿½Planning Fault.ï¿½
To prove this notion correct, we kept the modems set to 12,000 feet and
told the system to try and ï¿½findï¿½ 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 itï¿½s 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 ï¿½darkï¿½ copper into the ï¿½lightï¿½
and to solve your bandwidth needs.
[ Return To The January
2004 Table Of Contents ]