Actelis aims at fiber deprived businesses

Actelis Networks has expanded its product line with a device designed to enable carriers to offer metro Ethernet services over multiple copper lines in areas where fiber isn't available or economically feasible.

Actelis Networks has expanded its product line with a device designed to enable carriers to offer metro Ethernet services over multiple copper lines in areas where fiber isn't available or economically feasible.

Called the MetaLIGHT 100E, the system uses the same MetaLoop technology as Actelis' existing product, the MetaLIGHT 1500, which serves up DS-3 speeds over multiple copper lines. MetaLoop is a patented spatial division multiplexing algorithm.

The technology uses multiple lines instead of one fiber connection. MetaLoop parses packets, transmits the fragments over the multiple lines, then reassembles them at the receiving end.

"In the metro market there aren't very many options between a T-1 and a DS-3," says Hamid Lalani, senior vice president of global marketing and business development for Actelis. "With the 100E we're trying to allow providers to serve that in-between market."

There should be demand for metro Ethernet services in the WAN, because the technology is so pervasive inside the enterprise, says Michael Kennedy, managing partner and co-founder of consulting firm Network Strategy Partners.

"I think there's a market for Ethernet over copper," he says. "Guessing the size is the tough part."

Only approximately 11% of business in the U.S. have access to fiber, so the potential market for Ethernet services over copper is large, Lalani notes.

The MetaLight 100E can serve up speeds ranging from 3M bit/sec to 60M bit/sec over a maximum of 16 copper pairs. The box supports a range of 18,000 feet and relies on standards-based G.SHDSL technology to achieve its high speed connections.

Each installation requires a MetaLIGHT 100E at the customer site and one at the nearest central office. The systems communicate over a point-to-point, symmetrical connection and support voice, video and data transmission.

The MetaLIGHT 100E features IEEE 802.1q virtual LAN tagging and 802.1p priority queuing with four available queues. If a copper pair is unable to transit data, the other copper pairs will compensate for the disabled connection, Lalani says. 

Kennedy believes MetaLIGHT should appeal to incumbent carriers. Actelis' first product is in use at Cincinatti Bell and Qwest.

Since the 100E is geared towards companies requiring more than a T-1 and less than a DS-3 of bandwidth, it shouldn't cannibalize the incumbents' traditional data base, observers note. But the product's biggest selling point, Kennedy believes, is that it requires very little capital investment on the part of the incumbent.

"There's no system to install here," he says. "You place a box on one end and a box on the other."

Depending on how much bandwidth a customer wants, pricing for a pair of MetaLIGHT systems should run between $10,000 and $20,000, Kennedy says. If providers price their high-bandwidth Ethernet services at more than $1,000 per month, they'd be looking at a return on investment possibly within a year or two.

The MetaLIGHT 100E is available now.

Learn more about this topic

Actelis says it has cure for fiber exhaustion

Network World, 10/07/03

Lighting up copper

The Edge, 10/11/02  

This story, "Actelis aims at fiber deprived businesses" was originally published by The Edge.

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