Two schools of vectoring thought - Use board or system level?

June 20, 2012 //By Ariel Caner
Two schools of vectoring thought - Use board or system level?
Ariel Caner of ECI Telecom explains that some telecommunications equipment vendors tout board-level vectoring systems while others extoll the benefits of system-level vectoring solutions. Here we examine real-life deployment scenarios and focus on a head-to-head comparison of the two approaches.

There has been a great deal of discussion recently regarding vectoring, a technology that can help extend the lifespan of today's copper networks by boosting their performance to near fiber speeds.

Historically, copper has been widely deployed globally, much more so than fiber. Vectoring is an important development since the copper infrastructure has always been susceptible to crosstalk--the electromagnetic interference that occurs between adjacent copper pairs. This 'noise' degrades the signal that is being transmitted through the wire and ultimately negatively affects the speed and reach of copper networks.

For telcos that are not yet ready to make the move to fiber, the crosstalk limitation puts them at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to deploying the high-speed broadband services that consumers want, and which the cablecos and alternative service providers are more than happy to provide.

That's where vectoring comes in. The technology mitigates crosstalk interference and thereby improves the rate and range of VDSL2 to fiber-like performance. Vectoring levels the playing field for telcos, enabling them to prolong the life of existing copper networks, deliver even the highest-speed broadband services and stay competitive as they make the transition to fiber.

Problem solved, right? Sorry, not so fast. There are currently two opposing schools of thought when it comes to implementing vectoring in the field. While some telecommunications equipment vendors are touting board-level vectoring systems, others are extolling the benefits of system-level vectoring solutions.

We'll break it all down and examine several real-life deployment scenarios and provide a head-to-head comparison of the two approaches.  

Board-level vectoring

Some vendors have taken a board-level approach to vectoring. In this approach, the VDSL2 line card houses a vectoring engine that controls the vectoring activity on the ports of the card.

This method has a few drawbacks. First, vectoring requires significant processing power and memory resources, and when it is allocated from the card, traffic performance can suffer if the number of

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