Alcatel unveils higher-capacity DSLAM

Alcatel SA this week unveiled a DSL aggregation multiplexer that quadruples the number of users supported by its previous equipment and has better multimedia service provisioning capabilities.

Alcatel is the market leader in DSLAMs, according to Dell’Oro Group Inc. The company owned 40 per cent of the US$2.25 billion worldwide DSL access concentrator market in 2002, far outdistancing the No. 2 vendor, NEC Corp., which had 7.5 per cent, according to Dell’Oro.

To solidify its dominance, Alcatel rolled out the 7301 Advanced Services Access Manager (ASAM). The 7301 is a derivative of Alcatel’s widely installed 7300 ASAM, the platform upon which Alcatel claims to have shipped more than 25 million digital subscriber lines.

The 7301 is designed to go it one better, however. It is a higher-capacity, broader service-enabling cousin to the 7300 that’s intended to accommodate growing subscriber demand for bandwidth-intensive applications, such as business access and residential video services.

A single line on the 7301 ASAM delivers audio, video, and data to up to 10,000 simultaneous users, Alcatel claims. This is a fourfold capacity increase over the 7300.

This capacity increase is also beneficial for DSL services that move closer to users and into remote locations, Alcatel says. In this scenario, the 7301 enables carriers to tap the small and medium-sized enterprise market by offering VPN services over DSL, the vendor says.

A Gigabit Ethernet interface on the 7301 provides a path towards aggregation of Ethernet metropolitan area network services, Alcatel claims.

The 7301 features a 5Gpbs processor, has a 170Gbps backplane and supports 1.4Gbps of bandwidth per slot. It also features a 622Mbps broadcast video bus and a 155Mbps data bus.

The dedicated broadcast video bus enables each user to access up to 250 channels.

Users of the 7300 ASAM can upgrade to the 7301 and swap out the network controller card from the DSLAM’s 12 shelves. Like the 7300, the 7301 consists of 12 shelves daisy-chained together through a so-called extender card in each shelf.

Carriers can install the 7300 and 7301 units side by side to facilitate a less disruptive upgrade, Alcatel officials say. Alcatel still plans to offer the 7300 as well; there are no immediate end-of-life plans for the DSLAM.

The 7301 is currently in lab evaluations at several carriers and is still “several months” from deployment, Alcatel officials say.