Adtran extends Ethernet reach for VoIP, data over legacy wiring

Via the company's ActivReach Ethernet technology, users can add up to 100 Mbps of data to existing voice-grade wiring for more than 3x greater service reach up to 365 meters.

Adtran (NASDAQ: ADTN) has introduced its ActivReach Ethernet technology, designed to support all grades of wiring for extending service reach over 3x beyond the limits of standard Ethernet while delivering high-speed voice, data and Power over Ethernet (PoE), all from a single device.

The initial application for the ActivReach technology is in Adtran’s new NetVanta 1535P Gigabit Ethernet switch, designed to enable businesses and service providers with maximum flexibility in designing networks across long distances of Cat 3, Cat 5 and Cat 6 cable. The company contends that this capability allows businesses to easily utilize their existing voice-grade wiring infrastructure to access IP-based voice, hosted services, cloud-based unified communications (UC), and deliver data networking speeds at 100 Mbps while transitioning their business toward Gigabit connectivity in the future.

“The NetVanta 1535P with ActivReach is currently the only solution that can realistically provide a path for a Gigabit future while removing the traditional limitations of existing voice-grade wiring,” contends Patrick Price, product manager for Adtran’s Ethernet Switching product line. “With ActivReach, businesses -- regardless of their location, cabling infrastructure or IT budget -- will now be able to leverage a cost-effective solution for both voice and desktop connectivity in a way they have not been able to do before.”

The NetVanta 1535P has 24 copper ports and 4 fiber ports for uplinks and stacking. Each copper port can be configured for speeds of 10/100 Mbps in ActivReach mode at distances up to 365 meters (1,200 ft) or standard IEEE 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet at distances up to 100 meters (328 ft). Therefore, infrastructure upgrades can be performed incrementally and the same switch port previously configured for ActivReach can be transitioned to Gigabit networking speeds once new cabling is put in place, maximizing total cost of ownership.

According to Adtran, many older office buildings, schools, retail stores, hotels, hospitals and distribution facilities rely solely on Cat 3 or voice-grade cabling infrastructure for their legacy phone systems. However, voice-grade cable is unsuitable for traditional Ethernet, limiting businesses’ ability to take advantage of the latest IP voice and data network capabilities. Traditionally, businesses have been forced to run new cable to enable Voice over IP (VoIP) and cutting-edge UC services. However, with new cabling upgrade costs running at hundreds of dollars per drop, this option becomes cost-prohibitive for many of these companies.

“Our business customers that reside in these older buildings have told us time and time again that re-cabling costs are a significant barrier in their ability to adopt our hosted service offerings. Despite the overall total cost-of-ownership benefits that VoIP can offer them, they back away from the service because the initial investment is just too much,” offers Mark Stappenbeck, senior manager of business development for Windstream-Allworx. “Adtran’s ActivReach-enabled NetVanta 1535P Gigabit Ethernet switch delivers 100 Mbps over existing cable plant infrastructure, allowing us to offer flawless voice quality without impacting the existing data network. All of our customers can finally take advantage of the complete set of benefits that our hosted VoIP and UC services can offer.”

ActivReach is billed as an ideal technology for a variety of industries and verticals, including hospitality. The Best Western Rivertree Inn in Clarkston, Wash., for example, recently completed a hotel expansion which resulted in different communications infrastructure and service capabilities throughout the hotel property -- the old wing was only equipped with legacy voice-grade copper while the new wing had Cat 3-grade cabling. The design of Adtran’s NetVanta 1535P utilizes standard 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet or ActivReach for extended power and connectivity in a variety of cabling environments. The platform accommodated and blended the two disparate infrastructures to provide the hotel with a complete solution for flexible data connectivity up to 100Mbps.

“Until recently, we were not able to provide all of the data services that our guests have come to expect from the hotel industry. We needed to provide a consistent guest experience, regardless of which room they were in, and we were unable to do that before,” asserts Ella Dilling, owner, Best Western Rivertree Inn. “Adtran’s ActivReach technology has enabled us to offer high-speed data access across the entire property, while lowering our overall operating expenses for the hotel because we were able to avoid the costly installation of new cable.”

List price for the NetVanta 1535P is $4,695 with availability starting in early October 2012. To learn more, visit www.adtran.com/activreach.

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