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NetComm NCT240

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The NetComm NCT240 DSLAM is niche produce designed to enable broadband Internet access -- ideal adopters of this technology platform would be any business that needs to segregate Internet bandwidth between users. Such users might include serviced offices or apartments, hospitality, motels/hotels or conference/event management organisations.

Importantly NetComm NCT240 DSLAM also offers subscriber management along with QoS and bandwidth management for users.

The NCT240 is a 24-port Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer (DSLAM), and as the name suggests it enables up to 24 users (subscribers) to access network (in most cases broadband Internet) resources.

The majority of metropolitan broadband Internet subscribers in Australia these days would be familiar with their DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connection, requiring a DSL modem or router.

The difference between modem and router is that a router enables the connection of multiple computers on the networks downstream side (eg. user side) generally in a Local Area Network (LAN) or Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) environment. A DSL modem on the other hand generally enables the termination of the broadband connection to a single computer.

Larger DSLAMs are installed by Internet Service Providers (ISP) at the other end of a copper phone line enabling the user to access DSL broadband Internet services. NetComm's NCT240 DSLAM is a very small scale DSLAM allowing businesses ISP level control locally.

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There are a number of flavours of DSL networks, from the older DSL1 through to DSL2+, which offers a higher speed connection compared to earlier versions.

Test procedure
The NetComm NCT240 was judged subjectively in terms of installation, management, administration and application.

Design and features
The NCT240 is a well designed unit -- and would be most ideal for its intended subscribers -- the hospitality industry.

While Enex TestLab has had some experience testing and evaluating the carrier grade DSLAM equipment and management systems this is the first time we have examined a DSLAM of this type we must admit we were impressed by its features and ease of use and management.

The NetComm NCT240 was designed with the view that users should not be expected to have a complete telecommunications technical knowledge when using this device.

Thus the engineers and designers at NetComm have ensured that the intended user of the technology is well catered for with logical well set out menu systems for configuration as well as ongoing management and administration.

Measuring in at a 1 Rack Unit (RU) size and coming supplied with rack -ears" the device should fit within the communications/distribution frame of the organisation using it.

Enabling up to 24 simultaneous DSL users/lines to be connected ensures a DSL line redundancy for larger installations. Further NetComm's device provides for high levels of both failover redundancy as well as power system redundancy.

Designed to sit -in-line" with the existing buildings or service copper pair telephony network such as the Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS), no new wiring infrastructure would be needed in most buildings. There are up to two cables required which can patch into and/or pass through the current copper infrastructure. These cables are sold separately at around AU$80 each.

Verdict
Overall this is a very robust device which is easy to deploy and manage. While this is a niche product -- with a little forethought and planning this device could be used for several -out of the box" solutions such as departmental broadband/Internet access service provision and monitoring and therefore accountability within corporate offices.

When used in conjunction with DSL routers each department's Internet usage can be monitored and even billed for.

Another benefit is that the use of any type, brand/model, of DSL user/end termination equipment, modem or router, can be chosen and deployed, meaning excellent interoperability is offered by such a device.

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