Texas A&M students tackle real-world telecommunications problems

8/22/2003 12:00 AM

Texas A&M University and TEEX have teamed up to give some graduating seniors a taste of real-world engineering problems. For the past two years, Scott Biocic, program manager of the Telecommunications Training Program, has supervised a senior engineering project for students from the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution.

The students, who are working toward degrees in Telecommunications Engineering Technology, have used the TEEX Telecommunications Training Program’s Joint Video-over-DSL Field Laboratory to test possible solutions to challenging and complex projects, said Biocic, who is a graduate of the A&M program.

Video-over-DSL technology allows telephone companies to provide cable TV-like programming over telephone lines in addition to high-speed Internet access and traditional voice telephone service.

“With 300,000 feet of outside plant telephone cable and our network operations center and Video-over-DSL capabilities, the students were able to use real equipment to test real protocols and get a taste of real-world problems.” The Joint Video-over-DSL Field Laboratory is a miniature telephone company, with central office, video head end and distribution facilities partly provided through industry support.

“These engineering projects are designed to give the students real-world experience,” he said. “Each year, we look for student projects that best serve the telecom industry.

"This past year, a team of students worked on developing a system or protocol for testing Video-over-DSL services at the subscriber-end and designing a training module based on those protocols for telephone company technicians.

“This technology borrows from several disciplines, making it a very complex senior engineering project,” said Biocic, of the Engineering, Utilities and Public Works Training Institute. “One of the key issues preventing telephone companies from adopting the Video-over-DSL technology is unfamiliarity with how to implement and service it. Projects like this directly assist the independent and cooperative telephone companies we serve across the U.S. in adopting new technologies.”

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