Aktino hails 100 Mb/s over copper (lots of copper)

Aktino, which sells Ethernet-over-copper gear for line-bonded broadband, today announced plans to double the rate/reach performance of its products. Starting in May, Aktino’s gear will deliver “up to 100 Mb/s on just five copper pairs (80 Mb/s on four copper pairs).” On five copper pairs, Aktino’s range for 100 Mb/s is 4,000 feet, the company said. And using eight pairs, the range for 100 Mb/s is 9,000 feet.

The news instantly reminded me of Ericsson’s demonstration last week of 500 Mb/s VDSL2 over six copper lines. Great, but how many homes have six copper lines? One of the limitations of broadband bonding is the relative scarcity of homes that have more than one copper pair (with the former BellSouth territory a possible exception). AT&T has repeatedly pushed back the goalposts on bonded VDSL2 — which the carrier seems to view more as a rural reach-extender than a speed increaser.

But the gear Aktino is talking about isn’t meant for the last mile to the home. It’s meant for wireless backhaul and small-business services as well as the links between central offices and remote DSLAMs in residential broadband networks (more bandwidth to those remote cabinets can enable 1.5-Mb/s and 3-Mb/s services for users downstream). Four to six pairs are common among SMBs, said Hossam Salib, Aktino’s senior vice president of marketing and product management (and one of its cofounders). And cell sites often have 25 to 50 pairs, he said, which Aktino typically bonds in groups of eight.

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