The Copper Revolution

For decades, the communication industry has been relying on two old standby technologies from a previous generation: Ethernet and copper pairs. Separately, each has a distinct, but limited purpose. Ethernet is a 30-year-old technology that has become the workhorse of the modern office space.  It’s blazing fast, and best of all, easy to manage. And then there are the LEC’s copper pairs, which are as ubiquitous - and sexy - as sand in the desert. 

But putting these two together as “Ethernet over Copper” (EoC) for access into the cloud has absolutely electrified the communications world over the past years.  As services and network intelligence is moving to the cloud – fast and reliable connections for a business are more vital than ever.  With video streaming, VoIP, and SaaS applications now hitting their stride, demand for bandwidth from end users is insatiable. 

For example, our requests for EoC have tripled since a year ago, and speeds have now reached up to 100 Mbps, or enough speed to have served a campus ten years ago. The rules have changed, and that tired old copper pair is becoming in demand again.

Best of all, the copper revolution isn’t over.  The bandwidth is ever-increasing and theoretical limits on copper are still unknown.  For example, the current bandwidth on EoC is five times of where it was just five years ago, and improvements in technology allow us to go further than ever before.  Areas where we couldn’t previously deliver service at all, or only could do 20 Mbps circuits, can now support up to 40 Mbps at shorter distances.  Each improvement in the available radius of availability from the central office exponentially increases the number of businesses that can be served.

Years ago, a T-1 of bandwidth might have been sufficient for a business, but due to the advent of network-based services, businesses may now need ten times that much.  Since fiber just isn’t available in all areas and may be cost prohibitive, supplementing an MPLS network with Ethernet over Copper for several legs of a network brings the overall costs down for an organization. 

The bottom line is the choices now available to businesses are far more plentiful then before.  As an industry, we’re developing new technologies continually in the lab to solve problems.   But sometimes, the most elegant and useful innovations have been in front of us all along…and that's when working with an innovative telecom provider pays off.