ADTRAN Enables 100 Mbps Ethernet on In-Building Cat 3 Wires

  • ADTRAN
HUNTSVILLE, AL - Networking equipment vendor ADTRAN announced a new Ethernet technology that supports all grades of wiring, extends service reach three times beyond the limits of standard Ethernet and delivers high-speed voice, data and Power over Ethernet from a single device.

The initial application for the new technology, ActivReach, is in ADTRAN’s new NetVanta 1535P Gigabit Ethernet switch. The switch allows businesses and service providers to design networks across long distances of Cat 3, Cat 5 and Cat 6 cable. This means existing voice-grade wiring infrastructure can now be used to access IP-based voice, hosted services and cloud-based unified communications and to deliver data networking speeds at 100 Mbps while transitioning to a gigabit future.

New Services on Old Wires
Many older buildings rely solely on Cat 3, or voice-grade cabling infrastructure, for legacy phone systems. However, voice-grade cable is unsuitable for traditional Ethernet, limiting the ability to take advantage of IP voice and data network capabilities. Traditionally, building owners must run new cable to enable new services. However, with new cabling upgrade costs running at hundreds of dollars per drop, this option can be cost prohibitive.

“Our business customers that reside in these older buildings have told us time and time again that recabling costs are a significant barrier in their ability to adopt our hosted service offerings. Despite the overall total cost-of-ownership benefits that VoIP can offer them, they back away from the service because the initial investment is just too much,” says Mark Stappenbeck, senior manager of business development for Windstream-Allworx. “ADTRAN’s ActivReach-enabled NetVanta 1535P Gigabit Ethernet switch delivers 100 Mbps over existing cable plant infrastructure, allowing us to offer flawless voice quality without impacting the existing data network. All of our customers can finally take advantage of the complete set of benefits that our hosted VoIP and UC services can offer.”

ActivReach has applications in a variety of industries and verticals, including hospitality. The Best Western Rivertree Inn in Clarkston, Wash., for example, recently completed a hotel expansion which resulted in different communications infrastructure and service capabilities throughout the hotel property — the old wing was equipped only with legacy voice-grade copper and the new wing had CAT3-grade cabling. The design of ADTRAN’s NetVanta 1535P uses standard 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet or ActivReach for extended power and connectivity in a variety of cabling environments. This design accommodated and blended the two disparate infrastructures to provide the hotel with a complete solution for flexible data connectivity up to 100 Mbps.

“Until recently, we were not able to provide all of the data services that our guests have come to expect from the hotel industry. We needed to provide a consistent guest experience, regardless of which room they were in, and we were unable to do that before,” says Ella Dilling, owner, Best Western Rivertree Inn. “ADTRAN’s ActivReach technology has enabled us to offer high-speed data access across the entire property, while lowering our overall operating expenses for the hotel because we were able to avoid the costly installation of new cable.”

The NetVanta 1535P has 24 copper ports and 4 fiber ports for uplinks and stacking. Each copper port can be configured for speeds of 10/100 Mbps in ActivReach mode at distances up to 365 meters (1,200 ft) or standard IEEE 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet at distances up to 100 meters (328 ft). Therefore, infrastructure upgrades can be performed incrementally and the same switch port previously configured for ActivReach can be transitioned to Gigabit networking speeds once new cabling is put in place, maximizing total cost of ownership.

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