R&M, the global Swiss developer and provider of cabling systems for high-quality network infrastructures, is observing an increasing demand for classical copper technology for faster Internet connections. In countries with an extensive copper infrastructure, such as Australia and India, it is faster to use that infrastructure to increase broadband provision than new FO connections for each individual household. In large-scale projects, operators are now increasingly using the existing copper cabling over the last mile to use VDSL vectoring and soon also G.fast technology. R&M is supporting these solutions with the distribution system VS Compact, which was originally developed for telephone networks and, in its current version, is also used for extending broadband provision. For example, one Australian key account has installed around 1.2 million VS Compact connection modules in around 14 000 street cabinets and other distribution sites since 2014. “Vectoring technology can be implemented fast, flexibly and in a space-saving manner with the tried-and-tested R&M product VS Compact. A pragmatic solution for the last mile and the increasing demand,” says engineer Stefan Ries, Head of Global Key Account Management at R&M.

VDSL vectoring and G.fast are hybrid technologies that use copper twisted pairs of the telephone network for faster Internet. With VDSL vectoring, up to 100 Mbit/s can be transmitted on all wires of a cable harness; with G.fast an incredible 500 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s. For Internet users this is a considerable improvement in comparison to the DSL connections available to date. The range of VDSL vectoring is up to 500 meters; that of G.fast up to 250 meters. That means that network operators only have to lay new fiber optic cables up to an existing distribution point in a place, district or on a campus. These nodes are usually accommodated in cabinets on the roadside. When the cabinets are retrofitted, powerful optical-electrical converters (DSLAM) have to be installed between the incoming FO cables and the existing copper network to be able to offer all subscribers a comparable Internet signal.

Once the converters have been installed, all the copper wires in the distributor have to be re-wired. And that is where VS Compact from R&M comes in. The universal connection system distributes the signal to the wires and can also manage the subscriber connections. The VS Compact connection modules can be mounted in distribution frames in a few steps.

The interfaces in the cabinets must satisfy high demands to be able to transmit the signals trouble-free. “R&M’s IDC technology with its gold-plated terminals ensures a connection protected against corrosion and vibration. This ensures sustained uninterrupted signal transmission even in harsh environments,” says Stefan Ries.

Network operators often require space-saving equipment so they can use the smallest possible cabinets. “With a packing density of up to 4200 twisted pairs per square meter, VS Compact is one of the best in the world,” stresses Stefan Ries. Comparable connection modules require around 30 percent more space. VS Compact can be installed, scaled and retrofitted in accordance with the modular principle. Stefan Ries: “The modular concept makes it possible for network operators to plan flexibly and react to the relevant requirements – a profitable solution.” For key accounts, R&M also develops individual customized versions of the modules.

Network operators in Europe are also opting for VS Compact to be able to launch broadband offers with VDSL vectoring as fast and as inexpensively as possible. A major Swiss network operator is currently testing G.fast. The provider is due to launch the technology in 2017.