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Ethernet Over Assorted Materials 323

saridder writes: "Cisco has demonstrated their latest last mile technology, and not only can you now have 10 MB Ethernet over Cat3, Cat2, Cat1, try lamp power cord, battery jumper terminals, barbed wire, etc. This may have solved the last mile problem, and at 10 MB, it blows DSL out of the water."
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Ethernet Over Assorted Materials

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  • I hope that this technology can help me get away from @Home er, ATT...
  • Ooh (Score:2, Funny)

    by keyne ( 524280 )
    Does this mean we're getting closer to bein able to wire mp3s lightning fast on a tin can system? :D
  • 5000 ft != MILE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:42PM (#2781768)
    I think it is just short of a mile, thus the technology is nothing more than hype. It is the last 20 miles that need to be addressed not the last 5000 ft.

    • A mile is 5280 ft, in fact. I definately agree that this is all hype, and that the last 20 (or more) miles are what's really important. I remember reading something about technology that allowed DSL to be repeatable up to 50 miles about a year ago, but it seemed to disappear as I haven't heard anything about it recently.

      Of course, what I really want is fiber to my home, but only ATT seems to be into that since it's required for cable modems (although even then it's only fiber to the pole outside your home). Unfortunately, ATT's horrible customer service has made them my last possible choice for providors of anything.

    • The technology is out there [godigital.com], but no one seems to be adopting it.
  • by corporatemutantninja ( 533295 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:43PM (#2781771)
    Is it just me, or did anyone else think "huge bare ass" when they saw "Hugh Barrass" in this article?
  • by BillyGoatThree ( 324006 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:43PM (#2781773)
    Nobody has run Cats 3, 2 or 1 to my house, nor have I got a barbed wire connection to my ISP. The last mile problem is not one of technology--there are millions of technologies that can solve the technical issues.

    The problem is money. Nobody wants to spend the dollars necessary to hook us all up with data cable. That's why all the hullabalo about cable ISPs and DSL--they both utilize an existing physical connection.

    In other words, the answer will not come from Cisco, it will come from somebody with deep pockets. And the only pockets deep enough in this case belong to the federal government.

    • by Lissst ( 451356 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:47PM (#2781814)
      Ummm.... actually I'm willing to bet that you do have at least Cat1 cabling in your building. Unless you don't have a phone line at all, Cat3 has been the standard cable used for regular phone lines in homes for quite a few years now. So their gist is that they can get high-speed data off regular phone lines.
      • by iphayd ( 170761 )
        Actually, _I_ didn't have cat1 in my house until recently. I had literally a pair of wires twisted together that my local phone guy took a sample of to show the people at the office. He figured that no-one there had ever seen that stuff.
    • You should try reading the article...the phone lines ARE the data cables.
      "By offering Ethernet-like speeds over regular phone wire, at reaches up to 5,000 feet, and co-existing with phone traffic, LRE brings rich, advanced services such as next generation video-on-demand to places it has not gone before"
      This means it'd be possible to get 10Mbit DSL, and get it 3000 feet farther than previous limitations allowed.
    • by apg ( 66778 )

      If you're not going to read the article before you post, at least have the decency to read the /. summary:

      not only can you now have 10 MB Ethernet over Cat3, Cat2, Cat1, try lamp power cord, battery jumper terminals, barbed wire, etc. [emphasis mine]

      The whole point is that Cisco's technology does -- in theory, at least -- take advantage of existing physical connections. Whether this is actually useful for practical implementation, as another poster questions, is a separate issue. If the press release says 5,000 ft., you can probably safely assume that that is the current upper bound.

      • When I read the article, I didn't see anything about lamp cord , barbed wire, etc. All they mentioned was cat1~3 -- in which case the primary advantage to the technology is that you can now wire most old buldings to 10megabit without having to run more copper through the walls (often without anything even approaching conduit in them.
        • Actually you can run plain 10-base T over Cat-3, but you're limited to 100 meters (300 feet) because of the timing restrictions of the collision detection. I'm sure CSMA/CD is the first thing that went out the window with LRE.
    • They are talking about it more like if you owned a building (say an old one, with crappy wiring) and want to offer a broadband type connection inside it without rewiring then you should use their technology. They really don't say that you will get this at home.

      BTW, not everyone deserves a high speed connection to the internet. I think that if you really want to have high speed access then you need to move to an area where other people want the same thing. You can't expect to live in the middle of nowhere and have a high speed connection.
    • In other words, the answer will not come from Cisco, it will come from somebody with deep pockets. And the only pockets deep enough in this case belong to the federal government

      Or your friendly neighborhood local monopolist.

      Plenty of companies would jump at the chance to install the channel - as long as they would be guaranteed exclusive access and unregulated pricing power forever amen.
    • What about the fact that the Cable industry had to replace many miles of line when getting ready for Cable Modem services?
  • by ENOENT ( 25325 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:43PM (#2781777) Homepage Journal
    Hey, I just went out and bought a spool of barbed wire, only to discover that Cisco hasn't yet developed Ethernet-over-barbed-wire technology.

    I guess I'll just have to reattach the alligator clips for my Ethernet-over-city-sewer connection.
    • You joke, but we have fiber running through our sewers here in Omaha, NE.

      http://www.citynettelecom.com/cities/index.html [citynettelecom.com]

      Slashdot did a story on it a while back, you can dig that url up though.
      • I didn't realize that the residents of Omaha were eating so much fiber that you could detect it in the sewers.
    • No, they have, but they only have Windoze drivers at the minute. It's this sort of bleeding edge technology that Micro$oft always gets the jump on.
    • Re:Barbed wire? (Score:4, Informative)

      by trippd6 ( 20793 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @07:23PM (#2782458) Homepage
      Funny you should mention this.

      I had lunch with a Cisco sales rep, and apparently thier demo for this stuff includes several feet of barb wire. They unhook it, and re hook it up, to prove its working.

      The demo starts out with like 1000 feet of Cat 3, then cat 1, then lamp cable, then the barb wire, then more cable, reavaling each section as they talk about it to wow you. I haven't seen it, the sales guy just told me about it.

      Sounds pretty interesting... it says 10 Mbps at 5000 feet... I assume you get less Mbps the farther you go out... actaully the sales rep was supposed to get me this info, and never did... I'll get on his back about it....

      • Re:Saw the demo (Score:5, Informative)

        by anticypher ( 48312 ) <anticypher@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @08:57PM (#2782849) Homepage
        I saw the demo for this last year, its pretty lame. If you can, grab the demo kit from the marketing slime and try it with regular 10bT ethernet and it still works.

        They have built a big wooden frame, about 1.2 metres on a side. Across the front of it they have a number of strips of cloth, held in place with velcro. The spiel starts about putting a signal down cat5 cable, and how expensive that can be. The rep pulls off the top strip of cloth, revealing some cat5 running between two RJ45 plugs, at the top is a connection to a LRE switch, and coming out of the bottom still hidden by 4 or 5 more strips of cloth is another RJ45 going to another LRE switch with a signal light. The rep makes a point to plug and unplug the cat5 to show the signal lights going on and off.

        Then the pitch starts talking about cheaper cable, and then he pulls off the next strip, showing cat3 phone cable. The jumper from the cat5 RJ45 goes into the RJ45 for the cat3, and the jumper on the other side goes down to the next level which is still hidden.

        Soon the pitch talks about pushing signal over anything, and the sales rep pulls off the next cloth, revealing two strips of lamp cord. And finally the bottom strip reveals four strands of barbed wire between 4 insulator posts, with RJ45 connectors at either end. BFD.

        The final result is that the LRE signal is running over a bunch of impedence mismatched wires for a total distance of about 5 metres. If the rep is doing this canned demo in a conference room and there is 10bT available, try running a regular 10bT signal through this frame, it will probably still work.

        They may also have a 200-250 metre spool of twisted pair phone wire with RJ45s at either end. That is impressive, since 10bT will have lots of error at such a distance, but LongReachEthernet will back down to about 2 Mbps and still function.

        And this isn't a direct plug replacement for ethernet, LRE requires both dedicated blades in their switches for distribution, and very expensive receiving units for the far end. They are targetting places with old wiring going to a wiring closet, they can't actually compete with DSL at this time. But there is always a question about using these switches for neighborhood distibution when a telco has a small remote switch serving customers at the end of a fibre loop. The rep will not make any committment to that.

        the AC
      • Re:Barbed wire? (Score:2, Informative)

        by breezer ( 184052 )
        Sounds pretty interesting... it says 10 Mbps at 5000 feet... I assume you get less Mbps the farther you go out... actaully the sales rep was supposed to get me this info, and never did... I'll get on his back about it....

        Actually, it's 10Mbps up to 4000 ft but that's just an estimate and it depends on the quality of cabling etc. I've briefly tried LRE at 15Mbps over 1430m (4691 ft) of old telephone cabling and it seemed to work just fine.

        Cisco LRE Rates and distancies from their white papers [cisco.com]:

        5-Mbps symmetric rate (up to 5,000 feet)
        10-Mbps symmetric rate (up to 4,000 feet)
        15-Mbps symmetric rate (up to 3,500 feet)

    • Who came up with this, PETA? Or even more militant vegetarians (the "extremist pro-mammal group" from _The Freshman_?)

      Think of the consequences. Who lives by the barbed wire?

      That's right, the cows. The ones we eat. And what do cows produce?

      Right again, *staggering* quantities of methane. Now think a second. Suppose you're a cow. You can't be *all* that thrilled about your future prospects (unless, of course, you're a dairy cow). So you start thinking slow cow thoughts between transferring your cud between stomachs. But it eventually comes to you.

      If they can send ethernet over the barbed wire, how much harder can it be to send *methane*. As they work it out, the first signs will be press reports about herds of cattle charging barbed wire fences backwards. The second wave will be the explosions in switchboxes and phone relay centers. But once they have the bugs worked out, every farmhouse in the United States will be destroyed in a matter of days! What will we eat! Stop trnasmission over barbed wire NOW!


  • by AugstWest ( 79042 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:43PM (#2781778)
    "By offering Ethernet-like speeds over regular phone wire, at reaches up to 5,000 feet, and co-existing with phone traffic, LRE brings rich, advanced services such as next generation video-on-demand to places it has not gone before."

    So, once again, 90% of the population is too far from the CO for this to bring broadband into the home.

    The problem isn't the last mile, contrary to the buzzwords... the problem is getting the pipe to run many, many miles to actual end users' homes.
    • The problem isn't the last mile, contrary to the buzzwords... the problem is getting the pipe to run many, many miles to actual end users' homes.

      ...or find a place to live that's real close to a CO. I bought a house that's about 7000 feet, but my DSL comes off of a Remote Terminal that's presumably in the big beige box down the street about 500 feet away. (I wonder if SBC can offer the 6 Mbit ADSL download speeds from RT DSLAMS.)

      One thing the article doesn't mention is if lower speeds are available at longer distances, or if the technology supports repeater boxes in un-air conditioned cabines.

  • Sigh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Saint Aardvark ( 159009 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:43PM (#2781783) Homepage Journal
    Cisco spokesperson "Hugh Barrass"? Yeah, wait for the Ethernet-over-Jell-O(tm) Puddin' Pops protocol called "IP Freely"...
  • by The Blue Meanie ( 223473 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:44PM (#2781792)
    Sure, it's faster than DSL, but it's only good to 5000 feet - the last MILE for sure. Great in buildings, dorms, hospitals, etc. For us poor slobs that are 18,000+ feet of copper away from their CO, we're still stuck with lame alternatives. When are we going to see something that solves the DISTANCE problem, not the SPEED one?
    • For us poor slobs that are 18,000+ feet of copper away from their CO, we're still stuck with lame alternatives.
      G.SHDSL will go 18,000 feet and more. But it does qualify for: Worst. Acronym. Ever. (Gee-dot-shidsell? Sounds like a septic tank oriented dot-com.)
  • We use it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Casca ( 4032 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:48PM (#2781819) Journal
    It actually works pretty well. We use it on a large government facility that has some really old wiring in buildings that we don't have fiber runs into.

    Has anyone heard the Cisco story about ethernet over barbed wire? Our salesrep tells a story about a facility in Kuwait (I think) that was having a terrible time keeping a link up between two buildings. The locals kept stealing the cable they were using for the valuable copper. They ended up getting ethernet to run over a piece of barbed wire running between the buildings. The error rate was high, and the sustainable throughput was abismal, but with TCP's error correction they were able to get a useful connection through.

    I don't know how true that really is, might be a Cisco myth told to impress customers or something.
  • Short on Detail? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by syrupMatt ( 248267 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:51PM (#2781847) Homepage Journal
    That article seemed mostly a puff piece, and fairly short on technical detail (anyone do any digging?). Not that I doubt Cisco's ability to discover methods of doing this, but it also seems a pr piece for investors maybe?

    Anyway, it seems like a good idea, however, is there another block here that can be achieved by a company (ie the bells last mile influence on dsl)? Broadband to the masses ideas seem to come and go with the wind lately, and most seem never to pan out.
  • by Nonesuch ( 90847 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:52PM (#2781856) Homepage Journal
    Actually, ethernet over barbed wire is nothing new [signalintegrity.com], going back to 1995.

    If you follow the link to Cisco's site, there is a link on the right for the video presentation.

  • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <valuation@gmailCOBOL.com minus language> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:54PM (#2781893)
    ...or BWoE. I suspect there would be a number of spikes in the connection.
  • It doesn't matter if you can have Ethernet-over-sprinkler-pipes if your Ethernet equipment doesn't have someway to interface with the sprinkler pipes.
  • This kind of stunt has been used to show of the latest technology many different times. At one trade show novell used a fish tank to transfer token ring signals around on their network. Rusty barbed wire has been used many times. I personally know people who have used electric fences to transfer modem signals over a distance of miles to reach the barn.

    This is all smoke and mirrors. What you do not realize is that the cross section of all of these materials is large. That is the real problem of data transfer when you break it down. It is the number of electrons that can be pushed over a data source without the cross section of the wire breaking down (over heating and glowing red is usually the indicator of this). What Cisco does not say in this article is if we can still use the phone lines for what they are intended for, phones, once we use this technology. this is not really an advantage if I have to rewire the building anyways so I can still make phone calls. Might as well have put in the regular cat 5 then making the advantage of this pointless.

    The final last mile problem has a third part not adjusted by this technology. this is the ancient switches that this must travel through. The thing that has stopped the broadband revolution is the time and effort necesary to switch over all of the network to be able to use this tech. Phone companies are slow to roll these things out. When I worked for an ISP we once had to wait 6 months to install a dial-up location as the local telco had Lost their back hoe and did not want to rent one. How you loose a back hoe I will never know. SO don't hold your breath, this revolution is still born.
    • Obviously you don't own a back hoe, or you'd know how hard those bastards are to keep track of. Just the other day, when I needed my back hoe to cut some buried fiber optic cable as a final solution to my spam problem, it took me hours to find it. I checked between the couch cushions, where I drop it a lot. Eventually I found it under an empty pizza box; no idea how it got there. I swear it has a mind of its own and crawled there! So give your local telco a break -- I'm sure their building is a lot bigger than my apartment, so they have a lot more space to lose their back hoe in.
    • Some companies working seriously outback in Australia have been in the habit of ``losing'' bulldozers. One simply starts the 'dozer, aims it elsewhere and occy-straps the clutches shut.

      The moral dilemma is this: do I spend a fortune getting someone to bring a rough-terrain lowloader hundreds or possibly thousands of km out into the scrub to pick up my worn-out bulldozer, or do I lose it and have the insurance company (whose investigators are *not* about to spend hours on a jet, more hours on a prop-driven buzzbox and more hours - possibly days - in a rented 4WD just to get to the general area) replace it with a new one?

      You might think that following the tracks would be an easy answer, but if the 'dozer's been busy in the area, and if the company takes its time reporting the incident, things ain't so simple. In a day, a 'dozer might be 100 or more km away, representing over 300,000 sq km to search for it in.

      Moral justice is sometimes done, however, when a strap comes off or a big rock or tree turns the 'dozer so that it either comes back to camp or goes the wrong way and crosses a road or a fence-line where it will be noticed.

  • by dbarclay10 ( 70443 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:57PM (#2781922)
    Okay. So, yeah, we might finally have a reasonable technology to solve the "last mile" problem.

    But where the *hell* is all this bandwidth going to come from? I mean, server bandwidth is expensive. I know a few people who donate Debian mirrors, and it costs them a pretty penny, that's for sure.

    I mean, I'd still want to have this; if for nothing more than great community networks. (Community as in physical locality)

    But this won't solve all our problems, it will probably bring us new ones.

    Not that we still shouldn't do it :)
    • by srvivn21 ( 410280 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @07:56PM (#2782611)
      Where will the bandwidth come from?


      If I had a 10MB connection to my house, I'd mirror shit just to mirror it. I'd download kernels and patches, and tell the maintainers to put me on the list of mirrors. And I wouldn't be alone.

      That's one of the reasons that P2P networks work so well. There are so many nodes to get the information from.

      Server bandwidth is expensive because it is a scarce commodity. How much do you pay per month for the 100MB connection between your workstation and your server? If you (conveniently) don't count the cost of the infrastructure, the price is zero. Factor in the cost of the infrastructure, and amortize it over the life of the equipment and that number is still ridiculously low. ($70 for two NICs, $80 for a half-decent switch (optional), say it's only good for a year. That's $12.50 a month!)

      Server bandwidth is expensive because servers are concentrated into little high traffic nodes. Spread the traffic out (ala freenet, gnutella, morpheus, etc.) and costs drop dramatically. Make bandwidth a commodity, and you will start paying commodity prices.
      • Actually..

        Where _does_ bandwidth come from ?

        I get bandwidth from my isp, they get it from 2 or three places... and it goes "up the line" until you get networks that are simply moving traffic that doesn't belong to them..

        Does UUNet create bandwidth ? Does sprint ? Why dont they create a bunch more ?

        Where is the top of the food chain of bandwidth ?

        Obviously, its in their interest to keep charging ridiculous fees.

        Why doesn't someone else "make more bandwidth" ?

        I pay $65/mo for 128/768 DSL with static ip. I think thats because tahts what I'm willing to pay, not because theres any cost structure supporting that price.

        There is no peice of technology that I can think of that doesn't become trivial amortized over even a year. Yet T1 and DS3 line charges are still astronomical. Why ?

        ISP's overselling bandwidth implies that they cant afford more upstream, implying that upstream bandwidth is expensive, which I've seen plenty of evidence of. Why is this upstream b/w so damn much money ?

        Sorry for the incoherency. I just don't understand the cost structure for broadband.
        • by WolfWithoutAClause ( 162946 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @09:55PM (#2783039) Homepage
          I do this for a living, so I know. At the top of the food chain is the SONET/SDH telecommunications network. That works at between OC12 (660 Mbit/s) and OC768 (40+Gb/s) rates, and go typical distances of a hundred kilometers (upto a thousand). And these rates can be done many times on difference frequencies of light (DWDM) on a single fibers; and you can have multiple fibers between offices as well.

          At present, 6.4 Terabits can be shifted on a single fiber, although I don't think that has been deployed in any serious way, ~100Gb/s or so are much more common. If you need more bandwidth, add another wavelength (cost: a millionish); or if the fiber is full (rare right now, but will happen more and more often in a few years or a decade), then you need to lay new fibers- that costs 100s of millions; but we are talking significant bandwidth from that- you don't lay 1 fiber you lay 50 or so and keep most of them for expansion or sell them to other telecoms companies to pay for your layout.
      • Network bandwidth I'm sorry to say does not aggregate when you add nodes to it. You having a 10mbit line to a CO doesn't mean the internet's got an extra 10mbit of bandwidth flying around. That means you've got a 10mbit link to a CO which is sharing a connection to a bigger switch.If anything you've decreased everyone else's available bandwidth. If everyone hooked to your CO decides they want to be a Debian mirror you're all going to have to split the bandwidth available to the CO which is most likely alot less than the combined bandwidth of all of your 10mbit links. Server bandwidth isn't a scarce commodity, you just need to be willing to pay for it because somebody else is paying for it and selling it to you.
  • LRE (Score:5, Informative)

    by doogles ( 103478 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:01PM (#2781948)
    I do not believe Cisco does, or ever has, positioned LRE as a "last-mile" technology. LRE is more about leveraging existing cabling infrastucture in a multi-unit facilities such as hotels and hospitals.

    Cisco's LRE product offering requires two pieces:
    1. An LRE-capable switch at the head-end (such as a 2900XL LRE [cisco.com]), which terminates the LRE and has a standard Ethernet handoff to your normal data equipment. In an intergrated voice/data setup (where you're reusing existing voice cabling to carry voice AND data) you would then use their LRE 48 POTS Splitter [cisco.com] at the head-end and hand off to the PBX before bringing everything in to the 2900XL LRE.
    2. Cisco 575 CPE [cisco.com], which uplinks to the head-end and splits off the voice and the data. Very similar to Cisco's 600 series.

    Sound like DSL? It essentially is, just on a smaller scale (3500XL/2900XL LRE costs a whole hell of a lot less then a carrier-class DSLAM). In fact, scanning over the Cisco 575 CPE Overview [cisco.com], Cisco declares the technology to be "based on VDSL".

    Draw your own conclusions, but I have never heard this positioned as a last-mile replacement. The article never seems to hint at it either, but simply reiterate their marketing the product line for multi-tenant facilities.
    • Re:LRE (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zigurd ( 3528 )
      It is DSL. Only without the ATM or FR layer 2, at slightly higher speeds, over somewhat shorter distances, and a somewhat simplified interface. In other words, DSL for inside multi-tennant buildings, a several year old technology.

      All things considered, their public wireless LAN access point and Mobile IP technology is much more interesting, and applicable to many of the same situations.
  • Ethernet over duct tape?

    Whatever you cannot build in a quick and dirty way with duct tape is worthless to me.
  • More info here (Score:3, Informative)

    by bill ( 12141 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:25PM (#2782115)
    Actually, this Cisco technology is a the first implementation of a standard that IEEE's 802.3 subcommittee is working on. The link can be found here: http://www.nwfusion.com/news/tech/2001/1210tech.ht ml [nwfusion.com]

    Hats off to Cisco's engineers for putting this into hardware - with the emerging IEEE standard, hopefully there will be others.

  • What about RFI? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:25PM (#2782116) Homepage
    Subject says it all.

    The nice 10 MHz square waves going over an unshielded wire are going to make a whole lot of harmonics (and products) all up and down the radio spectrum. Depending on the power you'd need to push your signal down a mile of barbed wire (and with a transmitting antenna a mile long), I'm pretty sure you'd run afoul of any number of FCC regs. Plus, it would probably just irritate the cows :-).

    • Re:What about RFI? (Score:5, Informative)

      by rcw-home ( 122017 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:56PM (#2782304)
      nice 10 MHz square waves

      If this is really VDSL-based, there will be several modulated sine waves in use.

      Depending on the power you'd need to push your signal down a mile of barbed wire

      Easily determined by the required bitrate, available bandwidth, and noise floor. Millivolts, although they'll probably use a couple volts (like standard 10/100/1000baseT) to make the parts cheaper.

      with a transmitting antenna a mile long

      Properly-designed transmission line does not radiate (much). This is primarily done by either running a balanced signal down two twisted conductors (twisted pair) or running an unbalanced signal inside a grounded shield (coax).

      • Properly-designed transmission line does not radiate (much). This is primarily done by either running a balanced signal down two twisted conductors (twisted pair) or running an unbalanced signal inside a grounded shield (coax)

        Umm...apparently you didn't even read the blurb at the top of this article. The story is about running 10Mbps over Cat1 cable [newtechnologyhome.com] (non-twisted pair) or random wires (non-coaxial).

        Straight bare metal is pretty much the definition of an antenna. Physics dictates that there must be radiative loss here.
        • The story is about running 10Mbps over Cat1 cable (non-twisted pair) or random wires (non-coaxial).

          To clarify: the twist is only for preventing differences in the cable and local environment from affecting one wire of a balanced pair more than the other. The pair won't magically radiate more if you untwist it (and you were specifically talking about line losses due to radiation, whereas the previous poster was talking about RFI). Your 3500' run of cat1 may only do 5mbit, but a 3500' run of cat3 (which a lot of phone line is these days) may well do 15.

          Straight bare metal is pretty much the definition of an antenna.

          If that's all there was to it, we'd all have to live closer to powerplants. Read up on transmission line theory. The losses (radiation) for travelling waves are a few orders of magnitude lower than if a standing wave were created on a resonant line.

      • the power you'd need to push your signal down a mile of barbed wire [...] with a transmitting antenna a mile long

        Properly-designed transmission line does not radiate (much).

        How about properly designed barbed wire? Does that radiate much? Does the strainer, dropper or wire-run spacing make a difference? Is razor wire better or worse? Does the mile include the twists used as barbs, only the actual barbs, or none of it? (-:

  • ... technology to use your old phone lines as fast link layer for IP, they start to sell you Voice Over IP solutions so that you can use your phone again.

    (Yes, I know that they claim you can continue to use the same line for speach communication, and I hope that they don't implement this using Voice Over IP.)
  • My favorite is still CPIP (Carrier Pigeon Internet Protocol; RFC-1149).

    Unfortunately, the problem with dropped packets is not nearly as bad as the problem with droppings.
  • About a year ago they announced that they had developed a wireless, non-line of sight, 35 mile range, 45 Mbit thing. What the hell happened to that? Short of the press release, I haven't seen anything else on it.
  • This may have solved the last mile problem, and at 10 MB, it blows DSL out of the water.

    Thats 10Mb(it), not 10MB(yte). DSL is capable of this speed too. Like DSL, its pretty good at running over crap cable, but quality varies with the wiring.

    This is a different (fault-tolerant) modulation format for ethernet frames. DSL is a different (fault-tolerant) modulation format for ATM frames.

    I think this is interesting, because ethernet doesn't have as many things to mess up, like, for instance, matching the VCI and VPI up on both ends. On the other side of the coin, though, you don't get the subnet seperation and traffic shaping that ATM offers natively. In terms of moving packets from point A to point B, the technologies seem roughly equivelant to me.

    Also remember, DSL is capable of 10MBit, and I don't know how much HFC cable is capable of, but if you ever see an ISP deploying this, don't expect them to give you the full capabilities of the wire - broadband ISPs never do (all of the ones I've tried cap bandwidth higher up in the network regardless of what the technology is capable of).

  • What about DSDN? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JonathanF ( 532591 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:52PM (#2782286)

    I hate to sound like I'm marketing it, but what about DSDN? It's true that it doesn't run over existing technologies, but for 10 Mbps Internet access it's considerably cheaper than the current alternatives (such as direct fibre-optic lines) and is supposed to cost about as much for the end user as their cable or DSL ISP already does.

    It's already in use in Denver as well as a section of Utah, and it's supposed to be very fast in practice - not just theory. The Denver ISP has a site at wideopenwest.com [wideopenwest.com] and the company that designed the technology is at switchpoint.com [switchpoint.com]. Switchpoint is the one testing it in Utah as far as I know.

    I also know that Slashdot has mentioned this tech before, but it bears repeating this for others; we'll never get past sub-standard cable and phoneline solutions if people don't demand alternatives.

  • by Falcor ( 1142 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @07:01PM (#2782332)
    We are using LRE technology to connect approximately 50 buildings via cat 1 and cat 3 underground phone cable. LRE requires only a signle pair, and can share a pair with a voice line, just like DSL.

    Out to 3000 feet 15 megabits is normal, between 3000 and 5000 only 5 megabits is typical, but it depends on the quality of the cable.

    This technology is based on VDSL and works using the same principals, but runs at a higher data rate, limiting the distance. Also, LRE transports Ethernet frames directly, without any ATM protocol overhead, unlike most of the other DSL solutions. This greatly reduces costs.

    The Cisco 575 LRE device is much like the low-end Cisco 600 series DSL routers in appearance, but has no active layer 3 capabilities. Basically, the remote 575 port appears to the 2924LRE as if it were a local port, allowing trunking and vlan assignments as supported by the 2900 series switch.

    If you could order a number of "alarm pairs(dry copper)" from your local telco, between a friendly ISP and your houses, and the distance was less than 5000 ft., this would be a pretty economical solution. Otherwise, it's not of much use for the average homeowner.

  • Uhm, ARCNET? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jailbrekr ( 73837 ) <jailbrekr@digitaladdiction.net> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @07:02PM (#2782338) Homepage
    It was only 1Mb/s, but it could communicate over ANYTHING. Would not take too much to bump the speed up with todays technology.

    This isn't new or suprising. This technology has been around for years. God, I remember using ARCNET to communicate thru barbed wire back in 1995 (as a test to prove it could).
  • by simetra ( 155655 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @07:12PM (#2782403) Homepage Journal

    Someone needs to convert pound-test to bandwidth, and there you go.
  • While this technology is cool, I think they should have put more money into R&D on RFC1149.

    For those unfamiliar with RFC1149, here are the details: http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1149.html [faqs.org]

    Its probably a bit slower than barbed wire, but damn it... its more fun!
  • by Bender Unit 22 ( 216955 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @07:26PM (#2782472) Journal
    Does anyone know which company they bought to obtain this technology?
  • The IEEE 802.3ah Ethernet in the First Mile Task Force Web site [ieee.org] has stuff on various first-mile-Ethernet proposals; I don't think they've chosen any of the proposals (LRE, or any of the others) as the Official 802.3ah Standard yet.
  • by BladeMelbourne ( 518866 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @07:59PM (#2782623)
    I had to get a 10mbps coax cable down a brick wall into the room below, but coax cable was too thick and the metal BNC connectors were too bulky. I ended up using audio cable that would normally link a stereo to it's speakers. Ping times were still 10 ms. I guess provided that the transfer medium has similiar properties of resistivity, etc, many metal replacements and objects used in infrastructure can be used to transmit data.
  • Often when I'm just casually browsing around the Internet I kind of lull through web pages and "half read" them, reading them without thinking about the words make sense. And my eyes suck from coding. This produces some funny results. Did anyone else read the headline to say,
    Huge Bareass Discusses How Cisco Is Enabling High-Speed Performance Over Existing Wiring"
    or was that just me? :) Okay, I'm babbling.
  • Back about 4 years ago,
    my room-mate discovered that 4 conductor telephone wire was like 2 &cent / foot when CAT5 was selling for more like 50 &cent / foot.

    He networked our house for like four bucks.
    The RJ45 ends were difficult to crimp to the cable
    because the cable is so much smaller.
    His solution:
    Wrap electrical tape around the cable to increase its diameter.

    Keep in mind that a 10 base T network only needs 4 of the 8 conductors, but you'll need 8 conductors for 100 Base T.

    I do not remember having any bad connections via the cheap cable, but I wouldn't reccommend it unless you're on a college sided budget. Cat5 is cheap.
  • Seems like 10mbs[1] over thin air is going to be a cheaper last mile solution than any wired system.

    [1] Or 54mbps.
    • If I'm using a wired system and need more bandwidth because my userbase just doubled. I put a new router in and run some more wiring and hook those users up to a separate DLC and blamo. Caveat being there can't be more users than those connected to the DLC so I know how much bandwidth I need on the trunk between the DLC and CO.

      Somebody then proposes I switch to a wireless scheme. It gets set up in a cell structure like the cell phone system. One merely replaces the DLC and wires with a WiFi tranceiver to serve the people formerly served with wires. I gain the advantage of not having to tear up pavement in order to connect end users to a trunk line. However there are disadvantages. When more nodes exist in a cell than planned for either 1) the tranceiver is saturated by either having to maintain X number of nodes as active links or 2) because bandwidth is spread too thin to effectively serve all the nodes. In either case I'm lucky if the least of my problem is some users get network busy messages. Try making a cell phone call in midtown San Fransisco and you'll see the limits of cellular networks. On a wireless network a given cell has X bandwidth on a given band. If the number of nodes in a cell doubles you can't merely add a tranceiver to double your bandwidth. You're very limited on how scalable your bandwidth can be. With a wired setup you can add another trunk line or replace an low bandwidth trunk line with a high bandwidth trunk line (and associated DLC[s]).

      Thus finally wireless is only cheaper in some cases where you've got a hard limit on the number of nodes on the network. If you've got a fairly dense population in an area you're going to have so many wireless tranceivers it is going to cost you just as much as using wires. Besides the fact that almost anywhere you go has a form of wiring going from it to somewhere else.
  • by suwain_2 ( 260792 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @08:45PM (#2782809) Journal
    "Hey, I just got a cable modem; it's so much faster than anything else I've ever used!"

    "Oh yeah?! I've got a barbed wire Ethernet line!"

    "A what?!"

    "A barbed-wire Ethernet line. Haven't you heard of that?"

    "Umm... No, I can't say I have."

    "Oh... ACME Networks installed it for me last month. It cost a fortune, because there are no barbed wire fences around where I live, so they had to upgrade their entire barbed wire infrastructure; they billed me for like 20 miles of barbed wire fencing."
  • This can be useful (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mtnharo ( 523610 )
    This will be good for creating an instant network within a building with older infrastructure. Sort of like Phoneline networking, but a bit faster, and apparently with lower standards as to the actual type of wire (See barbed wire, new meaning to electric fence) Could also be useful if combined with dsl. Now the dsl modem/router/Cisco box/filter is located at the point where the phonelines enter your home/office/courrugated box, then the signal is split over all of the phonelines without needing more filters or a pre-existing network for non-internet needs. Great package for the phone companies. Not really a major advance for "last-mile" needs, but it helps for those who don't want to invest in additional networking equipment or rewire their home.
  • I though that the entire Excite@Home thing proved that the first mile of service was quickly becoming the most expensive one.

    Work needs to be done to reduce the price of traffic over the internet backbones.

    Hell ATT@Home had a potential 40mbp/s line running to my house (heck, one time I got 2MBp/s. Yes thats MegaBits per second) but eventualy the price of providing that much bandwidth to their users cause the current scenario of bandwidth now being capped.

    What good would a 10mbp/s line do me when I am capped at 1.5mbp/s?

  • Now what I'm waiting for is ethernet-over-railroad-track. I mean, sheeit, that stuff already covers whole continents, no backhoe is going to go through it and it's durned hard to steal. And, at least in the US, there's lots of it that's going underutilized. This could be the recycling innovation of the year.

  • by Cramer ( 69040 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @11:05PM (#2783253) Homepage
    Do any of you know what "the last mile" even is?

    Cisco's LRE is a LAN technology. This doesn't have one rat fart to do with any part of the last mile. It works over existing Cat1-3 (phone) premise wiring for distances of up to 5000ft. This is not a replacement for Cable Modems, DSL, or ougie boards. And no, it does not "blow DSL out of the water." If you are within 5000ft of a CO, you can get very good DSL rates over ONE (30AWG) pair (not the 4pairs that comprise CatX cables.)

    This is technology for multi-tenate units like apartment buildings, hotels, offices, malls, etc. The article spells this out in perfectly plain engligh:
    • Owners of multi-unit buildings such as hotels, apartments buildings, business complexes, universities, hospitals, manufacturing floors and government agencies are now able to deliver an unprecedented number and a variety of new, broadband applications to users.
    You will not see this being run through the public telephone grid.

    There actually is an IEEE standards body for "Ethernet in the Last Mile" -- I don't know the number for it off hand. And companies are designing hardware to provide 10M ethernet connections with further reach than SDSL. And this is last mile technology. (I'm too far from the CO in any case.)

8 Catfish = 1 Octo-puss