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    The age of the internet is exciting. Information is accessible with just a few taps and clicks. The way the world operates and communicates in the 21st century provides anyone with a laptop and an internet connection unparalleled access to information. To support the surge in smart devices and streaming, upgrades to copper lines and a transition to fiber optic cable is heating up the skilled labor market. Scalable data networks demand a scalable workforce that can provide an optimized experience to every end-user.

    Optimizing Existing DSL / Copper Lines

    While fiber optic lines might be sexy, short-term upgrades to existing telecom infrastructure may be more cost-effective in limited use-cases. The more modern DSL standard, conceived in 2010 and presented to the market in 2014[1], is designed to enhance existing copper infrastructure. On distances less than 500 meters (1/3 of a mile), technology allows for end-users to experience gigabit speeds over a traditional copper line. This is a perfect solution for companies that are rolling out fiber optic lines between drops, but need a cost-effective solution to reduce the bottlenecking on “last mile” lines.

    The majority of MSO’s in the United States have installed fiber optic lines within their data infrastructure, relying on coaxial cable or copper lines for the last mile, or connectivity within neighborhoods. It makes sense. Fiber optic lines represent a significant investment If there’s a way to extend the serviceable life of current installations, the savings for a large operator would be in the millions of dollars. In developing markets, it makes sense to leverage lower-cost networks to reach more people.

    However, even with technology that enhances DSL infrastructure (vDSL,, ADSL, ADSL2, etc.), the fragile nature of these enhanced copper lines negate many of the benefits. As data providers utilize higher frequency ranges on existing lines, there is an increased risk that a minor kink or electromagnetic interference will negatively impact real-world performance.

    Fiber optic lines are resistant to kinks and are not impacted by electromagnetic interference because the data is transmitted via light instead of current[2]. In addition, fiber optic lines can provide high-bandwidth data transmission across exponentially longer distances without requiring expensive hardware to amplify and filter the signal at regular intervals. To maintain high-bandwidth transmission of data over a significant distance (more than a quarter of a mile), copper / DSL / coaxial infrastructure requires repeaters, amplifier and switches at regular intervals. This hardware needs to be updated with each new iteration of DSL technology, necessitating expensive hardware solutions and increased installation costs.

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