Using some old networking tricks, Alcatel-Lucent has been able to push 100-megabit speeds through standard copper wires. In a recent article it states that these speeds were able to be sustained up to 1/3 rd of a mile. So what type of new technology was used to gain these speeds over POTS – plain old telephone system?

Well the technology being used was first invented back in 1886 by John J. Carty., an electrical engineer who eventually became a vice president at AT&T. In a recent article it states:

He examined the traditional method of sending digital signals over two wires twisted together (one positive, one negative), and discovered that it was possible to send a third signal on top of four wires arrayed as two separate pairs.

The negative part of the phantom connection goes down one pair, and the positive part travels down the other pair. Analog processors sort out the two real signals and one phantom signal at the wires’ final destination.

Any added bandwidth from phantom channels typically gets lost in the increased noise caused by electrical “cross-talk” induction among the bundled wires. But another method known as DSL vectoring was used to cancel out the noise by sending the exact opposite of the cross-talk signal.

A third trick known as bonding also treats multiple copper lines as a single cable, and boosts bandwidth by a multiple almost equal to the number of cables. Both vectoring and bonding have been used in certain urban areas of Europe and Asia, where the economics make sense.

But this technology will not become a reality for the next 5 to 10 years. If you would like more information about the governments plans for broadband, try this interactive tool at the FCC web site found here.


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