Pedestal Displays DSL Gear

Pedestal Networks has come up with a small solution to a rather large problem carriers have: namely, the inability to reach residential DSL customers. The Fremont, Calif., company has introduced a line-powered, hermetically sealed DSLAM that it says carriers can install just about anywhere outside their remote plants : "underground, underwater, in a buried hand-hole, mounted on poles, inside pedestals... or in any similar unconditioned enclosure in the field." [Ed. note: Sounds a bit Ron Popeil-ish, doesn't it?]

While it's not the densest, most powerful, remote DSLAM on the planet, Pedestal's box is remarkable because, for a pizza box that costs less than $4,000, it can turn up 24 previously unreachable DSL subscribers. In about eight months, at $20 a subscriber, the box is totally paid for -- a scenario that's hard to come by with other solutions. The product is called the Universal Broadband Server (UBS), and it packs 24 ADSL modems, line splitters, and a digital crossconnect in a 12" by 14" by 2.5" sealed box. Carriers can install a UBS box and pre-provision as many as 50 copper pairs per unit. And the unit's onboard crossconnect can map any of the 24 modems to any of the copper pairs without requiring a technician onsite to turn on the 1.5-Mbit/s DSL service. The unit provides broadband service to customers within 50,000 feet of the central office. [Ed. note: For a fee, it does your taxes, too!] The beauty of Pedestal's plan is that it gives carriers a way to reach more broadband customers with minimal fuss and muss. "This does save carriers money in that they don't have to put another remote cabinet someplace. They can just bolt this thing on" to an existing cabinet, says Frank Dzubeck, an independent telecom consultant.

Some Pedestal customers also vouch for the product's simplicity. "A tech with some knowledge of routers took a very short time to get provisioning completed," says Richard Felix, director of technology at Evans Telephone Co. "We were able to integrate into our platforms -- AFC's Telliant and Alcatel's ASAM -- with little effort. "The Pedestal Networks UBS will be set into the fringe areas that are currently outside the footprint of the traditional [central office] deployment areas" -- i.e., 12,000 feet to 15,000 feet. Felix says he plans on placing UBS units in the nearly 20 Evans exchanges that are in rural areas. Others now deploying the UBS include D&E Communications Inc., a Pennsylvania IOC; HunTel Engineering, which serves IOCs in Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas; Leaco Rural Telephone Coop Inc. in New Mexico; Northland Communications in upstate New York; New York's Oneida County; and JBN Telephone Co. a Kansas IOC. There are two flavors of Pedestal's product available. The smaller, UBS 2450, as described above, provides 1.5-Mbit/s DSL services for up to 24 out of 50 pre-provisioned lines. The much larger UBS 2424 provides 1.5-Mbit/s DSL services for up to 24 out of 24 pre-provisioned lines. There are some possible hurdles for Pedestal as it strives to reach a critical mass of carriers. "It takes a long time for carriers to test the capabilities, manageability, and about ninety other things needed for outside plant gear," says Dzubeck. "They're looking at a long period of evaluation time." Pedestal's other challenges include that it doesn't have a top tier equipment partner, which could come in handy as the company attempts to compete with everyone from DLC dominators such as AFC to other remote DSLAM offerings from Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN), Paradyne Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: PDYN), and LM Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERICY).

That's not to say that Pedestal doesn't have some equipment vendor connections. Its board members include Actelis Networks Inc. board member Marty Kaplan and Rick Gilbert, CEO of Copper Mountain Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: CMTN). Pedestal employs about 50 people and has raised about $14 million in venture funding to date. The company is in the process of closing a Series C round that should be more than $20 million, according to Mehran Musai, the former AFC marketing VP who founded Pedestal.

— Phil "Buried Hand-Hole" Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

alcaseltzer 12/4/2012 | 11:21:15 PM
re: Pedestal Displays DSL Gear But Phil - how do they get power to the unit?
farfields 12/4/2012 | 11:21:10 PM
re: Pedestal Displays DSL Gear There's another story on LR with more info:

The key part about backhaul is -
"To carriers, the UBS looks like a passive device in the network and requires no new training or processes for carrier service technicians. Using normal POTS installation procedures, technicians can splice the UBS into active POTS pairs, without disrupting existing POTS services. The carrier provisions standard T1 connections, using T1-UNI or T1-IMA, to backhaul UBS broadband traffic.

Power is provided transparently through standard HDSL2 or HDSL4 connections. Pedestal's patent-pending adaptive power technology automatically configures the UBS to use appropriate power for the distance and quality of the links. Carriers can also install the UBS behind "loaded pairs," copper pairs that use load coils to enhance voice signals over long loop distances. Only the backhaul T1 need be "unloaded" to support the UBS."

I wonder what level of contention will be used if 24x1.5Mbit is muxed onto T1. I guess T1-IMA might be reasonable if enough lines are used.

(Don't bother going to their website, no VC money has been wasted here. There isn't much more than a phone number)


MP_UK 12/4/2012 | 11:21:10 PM
re: Pedestal Displays DSL Gear But Phil - how do they get power to the unit?

It's line-powered, says so in the first paragraph ;-)

I didn't see anything explaining how the data backhaul is handled though, are we to assume that's via another DSL link...?
sevenbrooks 12/4/2012 | 11:21:09 PM
re: Pedestal Displays DSL Gear
Actually not a lot of contention.

However one really wonders a couple of things about this. If Litespan and the UMC can be deployed in 100% take rate manners (and they can), what advantage does having a "repeater" like box in the network give anybody? Overlaying DMS1 Urbans? Catena seems to have the SLC-5 upgrade stuff locked (although the rest of their product line seems to be nowhere).

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