to work for CommScope, a company that helps operators deploy broadband services
around the globe. These broadband services help consumers connect, which is
important for many things like commerce, communication and education.
There are many ways
subscribers can connect to the outside world. In a series of blogs, I will explore
six basic technology choices for deploying broadband services to the end
customer. This first blog will cover three: DSL, satellite and wireless.
Subscriber Line – How Much Longer?
line (DSL) is the most mature of these technologies
in terms of its early acceptance, standardization and use. This technology
provides Internet access by transmitting digital data over a local telephone
network. Basic DSL requires fiber build-out to a node, or terminal, which is
close to the customer. From the node, a twisted-pair copper connection is made
to the existing copper within the customer premises.
- Cost per subscriber is typically low
compared to most competing technologies as it leverages copper in existing
- Approximately 80 percent of brownfield
builds in the world have twisted-pair copper.
- To provide greater bandwidth, nodes must
be moved further into the field and even closer to the customer.
- Electronic equipment in the outside plant makes
the network potentially vulnerable to natural disasters.
DSL will reach the point where it can no longer provide enough bandwidth to
customers – thus, a major technology upgrade will be required.
Satellite – No Infrastructure Necessary
not always grouped among popular telecom technologies, satellite does provide a medium for video and data transmission
as a direct competitor to cable television operators.
- It covers wide areas without the need for major
- It provides services to remote areas under-served
or not served at all by other media.
- Upstream and downstream transmissions are
not equal – downloads are typically faster than uploads.
- Transmissions are vulnerable to weather
conditions and other failures that can cause service outages for long periods
Wireless – Still Needs Fiber
Wireless technologies provide
extensive coverage to many people and devices. Any wireless network is
supported by a fiber (wired) backhaul network. One major difference between a wireless and a
fiber-to-the-home/node network is that there is never a one-to-one ratio of
user to provider. To alleviate congestion, wireless providers deploy more
antennas requiring power and fiber connectivity.
- Instead of having a dedicated line
between the customer and the node, multiple wireless users simply tap into the
wireless network and extract bandwidth.
- Too many users can cause service
availability and quality issues.
- Providing higher bandwidth
necessitates either more antennas or a reduction in the coverage areas.
In my next
blog, I will provide you with the final three technologies operators are using
to deploy broadband to their subscribers.
MORE: There’s No Limit
to What Fiber Can Do