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New Alcatel DSLAM quadruples user support

May 26, 20032 mins

Alcatel last week unveiled a DSL access multiplexer that quadruples the number of users that its current platforms can support, in addition to enhancing multimedia service provisioning capabilities.

Alcatel last week unveiled a DSL access multiplexer that quadruples the number of users that its current platforms can support, in addition to enhancing multimedia service provisioning capabilities.

Alcatel, the market leader in DSLAMs, owned 40% of the $2.25 billion worldwide DSL access concentrator market last year, outdistancing the No. 2 vendor, NEC, which had 7.5%, according to Dell’Oro Group.

Alcatel’s newest box, the 7301 Advanced Services Access Manager, is a derivative of Alcatel’s widely installed 7300 ASAM, the platform upon which Alcatel says it has shipped more than 25 million DSLs.

The 7301 is a higher-capacity, broader service-enabling cousin of the 7300 that’s intended to accommodate growing subscriber demand for bandwidth-intensive applications such as business access and residential video services.

For example, a single line on the 7301 ASAM delivers audio, video and data to up to 10,000 simultaneous users, Alcatel says. This is a fourfold capacity increase over the 7300.

This increase also is beneficial for DSL services that move closer to users and into remote locations, the company says. In this scenario, the 7301 lets carriers tap the small and midsize enterprise market by offering VPN services over DSL, the vendor says.

And a Gigabit Ethernet interface on the 7301 provides an evolution toward aggregation of Ethernet metropolitan-area network services, Alcatel says.

The 7301 features a 5G bit/sec processor and a 170G bit/sec backplane, and supports 1.4G bit/sec of bandwidth per slot. It also features a 622M bit/sec broadcast video bus and a 155M bit/sec data bus.

The dedicated broadcast video bus lets each user access up to 250 channels.

Users of the 7300 ASAM can upgrade to the 7301 by swapping out the network controller card from the DSLAM’s 12 shelves. Like the 7300, the 7301 consists of 12 shelves daisy-chained together through a so-called extender card in each shelf.

“The new processing and bandwidth capacities will enable carriers to accelerate the delivery of advanced, comprehensive DSL-based service packages – including digital TV/video – and thereby compete more effectively with their chief rivals, the cable operators,” says Erik Keith, a senior analyst at Current Analysis.

“While certainly a dramatic enhancement for the 7300 series, [it] is still an ATM-centric solution that rival DSLAM vendors may attempt to position as not truly future-proof, since many carriers are deploying IP-based DSLAM systems,” Keith says.

Managing Editor

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 28 years, 23 at Network World. He covers enterprise networking infrastructure, including routers and switches. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy and at

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