How Vectoring and Bonding Can Extend Copper Cabling Lifecycle While Boosting Bandwidth


By Shibu Vahid, Head of Technical Operations, R&M Middle East, Turkey & Africa

The demand for faster networks and the ever increasing transmission of data is raising challenges for telecom providers in the Middle East. Simultaneously, the surge in the popularity of communications-based applications has meant that the traditional revenues from voice are steadily declining.

Telecos are now forced to diversify their service offerings and in addition to data services, many are doing their best to reach out to customers with bundled packages and offer triple play services- telephone, Internet and TV via one xDSL or cable connection from a single network provider.

To facilitate this, telecom operators are rolling out fiber optic networks. Full fiber networks, though essential to remaining competitive in the age of growing bandwidth requirements, do require a significant capital investment. At the same time, operators are pressed to extract the full value of their existing network infrastructures which is why adopting ‘vectoring and bonding’ is a very attractive option for those hoping to increase speeds on the ‘last mile’. This technology helps boost copper network capacity from the last distribution point to the end user. Up to 100 Mb/s can be offered, albeit over relatively short distances, by laying fibre up to a point which is as close as possible to network termination. From here, existing copper networks can take over.

Vectoring is generally seen as a way to save money on the last mile of FTTx rollouts while leveraging legacy copper infrastructure. In these instances, it has repeatedly proven itself to be a fine solution.

Changing role of the telco data centre

Whenever vectoring is mentioned, it is almost invariably linked to FTTx. However, vectoring can also help open new revenue streams for telecom providers by linking Data Centres to the outside world. How does this work? In the Middle East today, many Telco companies operate their own Data Centres, where they aggregate immense amounts of data. Given the exponential rate at which data is being consumed in the region, telcos find it increasingly important to future-proofing their Data Center investments. Furthermore, developments such as the rise of ‘big data’ and customer demand for new information and entertainment services are changing the role of Data Centres. These are demanding a huge boost in the capacity of the fibre backhaul network and this will continue to grow exponentially.

Until recently, some 80% of Data Centre traffic was generated by people using a desktop or laptop computer to access server-hosted applications over the internet or intranet. But recently, this has changed due to the explosion in the number of smartphone and tablet devices. According to Ipsos MediaCT’s ‘The Digital Landscape 2014’ report1, smartphone penetration figures in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Lebanon were at 79%, 72%, 69% and 63% respectively. Because of this, we are now seeing a massive increase in mobile apps and cloud computing which has resulted in an upsurge in traffic between servers. As data volumes continue to grow, there is a realistic possibility this will result in bottlenecks and compromised service levels. One of the main drivers of greater data transmission requirements is Television Services that includes Interactive TV, VOD and Video Conferencing.

The telecom industry is being pushed towards digital content markets as a result of several factors. Rapidly evolving mobile data technologies, for example, or Web 2.0 technologies, social networking, a growing market for streaming and on-demand broadband video content.

The link between vectoring and the Data Centre

Vectoring can’t play a role in helping link Data Centres together, or joining up servers within the Data Centre. However, for Telcos, Data Centres with powerful content delivery networks are becoming increasingly vital. Vectoring enables the customer to receive HD Video On Demand services. As Telcos aren’t eager to leave this market share entirely to dedicated companies, they need to invest in Data Center infrastructure so they can also provide these services. Providing new services, which are enabled by high speed residential internet connection, will allow telcos to tap into new revenue streams. Of course, there are some practical and technical consideration that must be taken into account such as ensuring the right Quality of Service policies and traffic scheduling.


As data volumes in and between Data Centres grow, driven by changing user behaviours and the industry shift to at least 10G, for example, integrating legacy networks may relieve some of the load. Vectoring & Bonding can help realise this, forming a link between Data Centre infrastructure and outside fibre networks. However, telcos must bare in mind that this is a temporary solution, and full-fibre networks must be the end goal.

The competitive environment for telecom providers is rapidly changing. As a result, network operators are exploring new business models outside of beyond delivery of voice and data. The deployment of vectoring can enable Telcos to provide new services, such as video-on-demand to take a significantly larger section of the value chain. Previously, the Data Centres of telcos mainly provided internet connectivity to their customers. Now, however, they are expected to offer new on–demand services, too. Vectoring allows the fast deployment of high speed residential internet. Although the end goal is still end-to-end full fibre, vectoring is currently acting as a vital enabling technology which allows telcos to offer new, strategically vital services.