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The 10 hottest wireline technologies in 2013

by Sean Buckley

Sean Buckley, top wireline technologies of 2013What are the hottest technologies in the wireline segment of the telecom indistry this year? Welcome to FierceTelecom's annual look at the technology and trends that are reshaping telecommunications.

One thing that we noticed in compiling this list is that many of these technologies or trends build on top of what came before. While there may be one person, or a group of people, that are credited with the development of a technology, many technologies end up taking on various forms that were never initially envisioned.

Take the Metro Ethernet Forum's Carrier Ethernet 2.0 specification. A key piece of CE 2.0 specification is centered on developing an interconnection process for eight standard service types when service providers have to establish a connection with a carrier partner to fulfill a service order.

Meantime, Ethernet has become an accepted wide area technology used by service providers for backhauling traffic and as a service that service providers offer to their large enterprise and SMB clients.  

Bob Metcalfe, who invented Ethernet at Xerox's PARC Research Center in 1973 with partner David Boggs, said during the recent Metro Ethernet Forum in San Diego that he never envisioned that the technology would be used outside of the corporate LAN.  

Then, there's VDSL2 and its new partners, Dynamic Spectrum Management (DSM) and Vectoring. Pioneered by John Cioffi, who is credited as the "father of DSL," these techniques help traditional telcos expand the rate and reach of the bandwidth they can deliver over their copper plant.

If the telecom industry could have started its rollout of the PSTN again today from scratch, it's likely they would have used fiber. The reality is that traditional telcos built their last-mile networks with copper. Despite aggressive moves by Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and its FiOS service, carriers including AT&T (NYSE: T) and large incumbent European operators such as Deutsche Telekom are in the process of trialing or using these technologies to expand their respective customer bases and deliver higher speed broadband services over their existing copper networks.

What CE 2.0 and emerging copper technologies illustrate is that what today's hot technology is often the outgrowth of an idea or invention from decades ago. None of the technologies that made our list would have been possible without the initial foresight to lay the foundations that others built upon.

Opinions over what technologies are truly "hot" can vary, so I encourage you to weigh in with your thoughts and suggestions on this year's list. --Sean

P.S. Please take a look at what my colleagues over at FierceWireless have chosen as their Top Wireless Technologies for 2013, and what FierceCable listed as its 10 Top Cable Technologies this year.