FIOS is great, but it's pretty much useless if you live in the middle of a city. Copper lines damn us to the hell of...marginally slower Internet. But not for long. Alcatel-Lucent (via MIT Technology Review) has found a way to achieve fiber-optic speeds over a copper line. By combining three old techniques (bonding, vectoring, and DSL phantom mode) they've been able to reach speeds of over 300 megabits per second.
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This top 300 Mbps speed is stable at up to 400 meters from a communications hub. At 1 kilometer away, the speed drops down to a (still healthy) 100 Mbps. Rather than relying on new technology for this innovation, Alcatel-Lucent managed to combine several older techniques.
Vectoring cancels out noise on a DSL line and bonding treats multiple lines as a single cable. On its own, bonding increases bandwidth by a multiple “almost equal” to the number of cables used. The last technique, “phantom mode”, actually dates back to 1886. Normally, a digital signal is transmitted through a positive and negative wire that are twisted together. Phantom mode sends a third signal through four wires divided into two twisted pairs.