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ADTRAN UBE–It’s GigE, but simplified

Huntsville, AL – ADTRAN (www.adtran.com) made big waves in Paris last month by announcing Ultra-Broadband Ethernet (UBE), delivering Ethernet at 100 Mbps over standard copper for up to 300 feet.  It turns out there’s no big secret sauce to the underlying technology because it’s based on GigE. More interesting, UBE may become a more open “standard” that anyone can build hardware for.

Baseline copper GigE uses two pairs of wires and some power, so UBE simply subtracts one pair of wires, slows things down to get the longer distance over telco-grade wires, and adds power from the CPE/customer termination end.

Voila! UBE!

Efforts are afoot to make UBE a standard – wasn’t clear it was going to be an ITU or an IEEE one – by formalizing the roll-in of power-through-the-end node(s). (At which point I grunted and mumbled, “Sure, a standard 5 years and half a million units shipped later…”C’mon, we all know how the standards process *ahem* works these days).

ADTRAN product managers noted that anyone – yes, anyone – could build UBE equipment by following the standard, but the company was also filing patents on certain technologies in the company’s implementation.

Product managers also said the technology could be further stretched/slowed to deliver 10 Mbps Ethernet for some *mumble-mumble* longer distance of copper, say 2500 feet or so.

Hinted at in the initial media reports, there was not much info on speeds above 100 Mbps. Moving back/up to 1 GigE would require adding back that other copper pair, more power and who knows what else.

UBE came out of a discussion of needs requirements with a U.S. Tier 1 carrier – ADTRAN didn’t say which one, but you think about who is doing FTTN and wants faster speeds on the last couple hundred feet and you come up with AT&T without breaking a sweat.

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