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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2003


Powerline broadband: Corridor Systems announces entry into market

From an e-mail I received from the company (and several alert readers who got the same e-mail):

"Corridor Systems Announces Breakthrough Technology for Broadband over Powerlines (BPL) -- Demonstrates 216Mbps over PG&E’s medium-voltage grid"

"SANTA ROSA, CA – Corridor Systems today announced results of the latest testing of its PowerCorridor system for very high-speed communications over medium-voltage powerlines. In what is believed to be the highest communications speeds ever achieved over a real medium-voltage powerline grid, the company demonstrated end-to-end capacity of 216 Mbps – four times faster than has been claimed with any previous technology."
  • "216Mbps raw capacity with simultaneous, bi-directional, and symmetrical, end-to-end delivery"
  • "Very low overall latency of less than 500 microseconds, 20-100 times lower than other solutions, making the system ideal for time-critical applications such as telephony and real-time video."
  • "Multiple independent channels each operating bi-directionally, allowing segmentation of bandwidth to support advanced service-level agreements."
  • "Use of microwave bands for very high information capacity powerline communications while avoiding interference issues of some other BPL approaches"
  • "Very low emissions levels – compliant with FCC Part 15"
  • "Simple, rapid installation with no electrical characterization of grid required"
  • "Performance capabilities that allow creating networks which span more than 5 miles, thereby reducing upstream network operating costs."

The virtual elimination of radio interference would be a very big deal if Corridor has actually pulled it off.

At the same time, I note that Corridor's demonstration involved two computers a quarter of a mile apart. While Corridor may have solved some of the really hard problems, there remains a lot of less spectacular but equally necessary engineering work to turn this technology into a fully-deployable system capable of supporting thousands of users. The final network's useful throughput will also likely be substantially less than its' 216 Mbps raw capacity (but hopefully it should still be very fast).

The press release is available in .pdf format.


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