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Copper to continue playing a major part in European telecom networks

By Donna Donnawitz
August 22, 2013

It may seem like copper is slowly making its way toward dinosaur status in telecom networks, though much more slowly than some industry stakeholders may like. However, the reality is that many telecoms are still getting the results they want through copper, and probably will be for a while. A recent Point Topic study found that most European telecom networks will still be built on copper infrastructure as of 2020, Advanced Television reported.

Clinging to copper
Now, the tech geek in me wants to bemoan this research because fiber is so much newer, better and cooler than copper, but the study's findings indicate that clinging to copper is not a representation of a backwards approach to managing the network. Instead, it is much more an iterative method of developing better performance for end users. Citing the study, the news source explained that even if fiber-to-the-home infrastructure will not become the predominant network type in the next few years, performance upgrades are still on the horizon. In fact, advancedVery-high-speed Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL) technologies are expected to boom in Europe, bringing access to 30 Mbps network speeds to 90 percent of European homes.

According to the news source, the performance capabilities unlocked by VDSLtechnologies will meet standards set forth by the European Commission's Digital Agenda for broadband networks. As a result, the effort to stick with copper systems may be more of an indication that network upgrades in the region are moving forward. However, Point Topic's research indicates that the European Commission's goal of 100 percent of households having access to super​fast broadband by 2020 will not be reached. Goals for performance are expected to be met, but not those set for penetration.

Preparing for the future
Fiber is going to play a large part in telecom networks moving forward, regardless of whether fiber or copper end up being dominant in reaching homes. Even copper-based solutions depend heavily on middle-mile fiber lines and optical backhaul. In many cases, the best copper services to the home are built on fiber-to-the-node concepts. The end result is a situation in which fiber to Ethernet media converters are an extremely important part of the telecom landscape. Media conversion tools can unlock advanced performance capabilities, ease interoperability challenges, enable strategic network upgrades and position telecoms to give users the best performance at the lowest possible cost.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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