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Alcatel’s Spruyt: Multi-DSLAM is Technically Possible
Saturday, 01 December 2012 11:15

Could be very difficult, he believes. Deutsche Telekom claims it’s impossible for others to share their new vectored DSL network. No one wants to believe DT because competition is working so well and they are determined to protect it.. Nellie Kroes and speaker after speaker proudly noted European prices are half those in the U.S. because competition can work. Top analyst Yves Blondeel reminded the ECTA audience “They said number portability was impossible. Then we found a way. They said unbundling was impossible. It wasn’t. I’m sure we’ll find a way to solve this as well.”

The magic of vectoring is dependent on reducing noise, which is obviously more difficult when more parties are involved. John Cioffi of ASSIA contends that with proper management the problem can be minimized; DT and Alcatel are dubious. There are no results from the field, so everyone is extrapolating from models with different assumptions.

Paul Spruyt of Alcatel is a DSL pioneer with twenty years experience. Alcatel is the first to ship vectored DSLAMs and has high hopes of a DT contract in the hundreds of millions so has every reason to agree with them. Nonetheless, at the ECTA event he said that “multiDSLAM vectoring was technically possible.... In addition, cross-DSLAM vectoring requires very close operational alignment between the operators involved. Such conditions are certainly not trivial, and might be prohibitive in many markets.”

However, “It would be very difficult to impossible to accomplish for a long time across vendors. Nothing was happening nor planned in standards or testing. This implies that all co-located operators need to use equipment from the same vendor.”

Others disagree, especially Alcatel competitors who have no intention of conceding a monopoly. Both Adtran/NokiaSiemens and Huawei are ready to contest the market. So are chipmakers Ikanos and Lantiq, who have invested tens of millions into their own vectored chips. Lantiq demonstrated an impressive system at BBWF more than a year ago. Ikanos has essentially bet the company on winning market share for their “node scale” vectoring systems. ASSIA makes an alternative management system for DSL which they claims allows unbundling with vectoring. I’ve looked at the companies presentations at length and come to no conclusion. An engineer with a test lab might not be able to decide given the present state of the art, but no independent seems to have tried.

One of the largest telcos in the world tells me they would be much happier if a solution were found and their regulator was appeased. So I asked Paul what would that take to achieve. “Standards,” he replied, adding that would normally take many years. Another solution I’d consider would be a major carrier inviting all the vendors into their labs to develop interoperability. Both France Telecom and British Telecom are using VDSL without vectoring because of the regulator problem. They have incentive to force the vendors to cooperate.

Then Lisa Di Feliciantonio of FastWeb took the podium and totally changed the debate by announcing 3.5M lines of vectored VDSL with an understanding from Telecom Italia they will work together.

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 December 2012 16:36