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1. DSLAM ..............................................................................................................................

1
2. Path taken by data to DSLAM ............................................................................................ 2
3. Role of the DSLAM ........................................................................................................... 3
4. Bandwidth versus distance ................................................................................................. 5
5. ATM DSLAMs ................................................................................................................... 6
6. Ethernet or IP-DSLAM ...................................................................................................... 6
7. ATM vs Ethernet ................................................................................................................ 7
8. References .......................................................................................................................... 8

1. DSLAM
A digital subscriber line access multiplexer (DSLAM, often pronounced dee-slam) is a
network device, often located in the telephone exchanges of the telecommunications
operators. It connects multiple customer digital subscriber line (DSL) interfaces to a high-
speed digital communications channel using multiplexing techniques.
By placing additional DSLAMs at locations remote from the telephone exchange, telephone
companies provide DSL service to locations previously beyond effective range.

Figure 1.1: Siemens DSLAM SURPASS hiX 5625.

DSLAM is often shortened to a piece of equipment that serves to combine and separate the
data signal with the phone line that is used to transmit data, the equipment is located at the
end of the nearest telephone exchange. Also serves as a multiplexer. This device is a
requirement in the implementation of network Digital Subscriber Line (DSL).
Supporting delivery of combined voice, data and video
services - or Triple Play over the same DSL connection has
become an absolute necessity to stay today.

2. Path taken by data to DSLAM


i) Customer premises: DSL modem terminating the ADSL, SHDSL or VDSL circuit
and providing LAN interface to single computer or LAN segment
ii) Local loop: the telephone company wires from a customer to the telephone exchange
or to a serving area interface, often called the "last mile" (LM).
iii) Telephone exchange:
a. Main distribution frame (MDF): a wiring rack that connects outside subscriber
lines with internal lines. It is used to connect public or private lines coming
into the building to internal networks. At the telco, the MDF is generally in
proximity to the cable vault and not far from the telephone switch.
b. xDSL filters: DSL filters are used in the telephone exchange to split voice
from data signals. The voice signal can be routed to a POTS provider or left
unused whilst the data signal is routed to the ISP DSLAM via the HDF (see
next entry).

c. Handover distribution frame (HDF): a distribution frame that connects the last
mile provider with the service provider's DSLAM

d. DSLAM: a device for DSL service. The DSLAM port where the subscriber
local loop is connected converts analog electrical signals to data traffic
(upstream traffic for data upload) and data traffic to analog electrical signals
(downstream for data download)
Customers connect to the DSLAM through ADSL modems or DSL routers, which are
connected to the PSTN network via typical unshielded twisted pair telephone lines. Each
DSLAM has multiple aggregation cards, and each such card can have multiple ports to which
the customers lines are connected. Typically a single DSLAM aggregation card has 24 ports,
but this number can vary with each manufacturer.

3. Role of the DSLAM


The DSLAM equipment collects the data from its many modem ports and aggregates their
voice and data traffic into one complex composite "signal" via multiplexing. Depending on
its device architecture and setup, a DSLAM aggregates the DSL lines over its Asynchronous
Transfer Mode (ATM), frame relay, and/or Internet Protocol network (i.e., an IP-DSLAM
using PTM-TC [Packet Transfer Mode - Transmission Convergence]) protocol(s) stack.

Figure 3.1: xDSL Connectivity diagram.

The aggregated traffic is then directed to a telco's backbone switch, via an access network
(AN) also called a Network Service Provider (NSP) at up to 10 Gbit/s data rates.
The DSLAM acts like a network switch since its functionality is at Layer 2 of the OSI model.
Therefore it cannot re-route traffic between multiple IP networks, only between ISP devices
and end-user connection points. The DSLAM traffic is switched to a Broadband Remote
Access Server where the end user traffic is then routed across the ISP network to the Internet.
In addition to being a data switch and multiplexer, a DSLAM is also a large collection of
modems. Each modem on the aggregation card communicates with a single subscriber's DSL
modem. This modem functionality is integrated into the DSLAM itself instead of being done
via an external device like a traditional computer modem.
At the DSLAM is usually already installed SPLITTER which serves to separate the voice
signal and data signal, wherein the voice signal will go to the telephone and data signals are
directed towards the BRAS through transmission media can take the form E1, STM-1 (Fiber
Optic). Furthermore, from the BRAS will be directed to the respective ISPs are already
working together.

Figure 3.2: ADSL system.

The Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer or DSLAM is the equipment that really
allows the DSL to happen. The DSLAM handles the high-speed digital data streams
coming from numerous subscribers’ DSL modems and aggregates it onto a single high-
capacity uplink – ATM or Gigabit Ethernet to the Internet Service Provider.
Contemporary DSLAMs typically support multiple DSL transmission types – ADSL, SDSL,
etc as well as different protocol and modulation technologies within the same DSL type.
Responding to the requirements posed by broadband network evolution towards provision of
value added services such as VoDSL and IPTV, modern DSLAMs, in addition to DSL
aggregation functions, begin to provide advanced functionality such as traffic management,
QoS, authentication via DHCP Relay, IGMP Snooping as well as in some cases IP routing
and security enforcement.

4. Bandwidth versus distance


Balanced pair cable has higher attenuation at higher frequencies, hence the longer the wire
between DSLAM and subscriber, the slower the maximum possible data rate. The following
is a rough guide to the relation between wire distance (based on 0.40 mm copper and
ADSL2+ technology) and maximum data rate. Local conditions may vary, especially beyond
2 km, often necessitating a closer DSLAM to bring acceptable bandwidths:
 25 Mbit/s at 1,000 feet (~300 m)
 24 Mbit/s at 2,000 feet (~600 m)
 23 Mbit/s at 3,000 feet (~900 m)
 22 Mbit/s at 4,000 feet (~1.2 km)
 21 Mbit/s at 5,000 feet (~1.5 km)
 19 Mbit/s at 6,000 feet (~1.8 km)
 16 Mbit/s at 7,000 feet (~2.1 km)
 8 Mbit/s at 10,000 feet (~3 km)
 1.5 Mbit/s at 15,000 feet (4.5 km)
 800 kbit/s at 17,000 feet (~5.2 km)
5. ATM DSLAMs
As the ATM was the main high-speed data backbone transport used in Telecommunications
networks during the initial DSL rollout (1999-2001), the typical DSL network access
architecture deployed at that time used ATM Permanent Virtual Circuits (PVCs) from the
subscriber via DSLAM to B-RAS, at which point the PPP sessions were terminated and the
traffic was routed to core network. In this architecture the first generation DSLAMs with
ATM uplink port or ATM DSLAMs were designed as simple Layer-2 ATM multiplexers or
concentrators that provided seamless integration of the “last mile” ATM over DSL links
into the ATM access network.

6. Ethernet or IP-DSLAM
Further quest for more profitable value-added services such as VoIP, IPTV, VoD and HDTV
in addition to high-speed Internet access (combination known as Triple-Play) has placed new
bandwidth, scalability and QoS requirements before the DSL network providers. While
existing ATM based networks had the required QoS capabilities, their high deployment and
maintenance cost (cost of ownership) has caused the DSL network providers to look at
Ethernet and IP-based architectures as an alternative to ATM backhaul.

As Ethernet standards such as Metro Ethernet have evolved to provide the resilience and
quality required for carrier network backbones, and with advent of Gigabit and 10-Gigabit
Ethernet delivering the superior to ATM bandwidth, the Ethernet has become a transport of
choice for both carrier backbone and access network segments. Following this trend the new
generation of DSLAMs has appeared that used Ethernet uplinks for DSL traffic aggregation.
These devices have become known as Ethernet DSLAMs or IP-DSLAMs.

IP-DSLAM stands for Internet Protocol Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer. User
traffic is mostly IP based.
IP-DSLAM stands for Internet Protocol Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer. User
traffic is mostly IP based.

Traditional 20th century DSLAM used Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) technology to
connect to upstream ATM routers/switches. These devices then extract the IP traffic and pass
it on to an IP network. IP-DSLAMs extract the IP traffic at the DSLAM itself. Thus it is all
IP from there. The advantage of IP-DSLAM over a traditional ATM DSLAM is in terms of
lower capital expenditure and operational expenditure and a richer set of features and
functionality.

In it’s simplest implementation IP-DSLAMs function as Layer-2 switches that backhaul


subscriber traffic to Metro B-RASs or Broadband Network Gateways (BBNGs) using
Ethernet VLANs in combination with Ethernet Multicast capability.
7. ATM vs Ethernet
In many cases, idle ATM and Sonet/SDH capacity exists in the network that carriers would
like to use, rather than investing in new forms of backhaul. However, there are carriers
maintain it is important for them to reduce the concentration factor or the contention in the
DSLAM to provide for new services. and this is a strong point for Ethernet.

Figure 7.1: ATM vs. Ethernet.

Another concern is that there is substantial process investment in the ATM backhaul related
to service and network provisioning that carriers do not want to part with. Opposed to this
view are carriers that seek aggressive rollout and growth on the back of the low rollout costs
that Ethernet gives.
Similarly, carriers using ATM backhaul have no learning curve for their staff. They know the
ATM gear, they are familiar with the equipment, and they have deployed it for a number of
years. However, some carriers are prepared to argue that the advantages of Ethernet are so
great that its adoption is eventually inevitable and it is better to do it sooner rather than later.
The fourth issue is service related. Proponents of ATM-centric solutions often say that
derived voice is a key element of their business plan and that they would like to provide voice
over ATM. Carriers more interested in Ethernet-centric solutions often see VOIP as the key
element, and they realize that means large amounts of bandwidth for which they need to find
a cost-effective solution.
Finally, the evolution of new technologies depends on the vision of different carriers and
their long-term network goals. This influences attitudes towards the two technologies. So, a
migration with an ATM backhaul approach often has as a target a fiber revolution, ending up
with an ATM passive optical network (PON) and ATM VDSL. An Ethernet-backhaul
approach is often the starting point for a journey towards an Ethernet-in-the-first-mile
solution, with fiber deeper in the network and EFM as a target migration for that fiber
revolution.
8. References
i) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSLAM
ii) http://adsl-install.webs.com/
iii) http://www.dslam.biz/2012/04/dslam-architecture-functionality-and.html
iv) http://www.eetasia.com/ART_8800408874_590626_NT_1136bddb.HTM