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Bridgeband donates $250,000 in DSL equipment to MSU

May 6, 2004View for printing

A local telecommunications company has donated $250,000 worth of new DSL, or digital subscriber line, equipment to Montana State University to use for research projects and lab work.

"About a year ago we purchased the last remaining inventory of an equipment vendor," said Joe Long of Bridgeband Communications http://www.bridgeband.com/ in Bozeman. "We got a heck of a deal for it, but we had to buy it all. We ended up with surplus DSL equipment."

By KAYLEY MENDENHALL, Chronicle Staff Writer

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Last summer three semi trucks hauled the equipment from Massachusetts to Bozeman.

"We've sold some of it," Long said. "We've used some of it. But we did the math and we're never going to use it all."

He started looking for places to donate the equipment and came across Richard Wolf, an electrical and computer engineering professor at MSU.

Wolf and some of his students are researching the possibility of using DSL over power lines. DSL technology, which provides high-speed Internet service, is currently used over telephone lines.

"We're interested in how we might use some of the DSL technology and some of the applications beyond how it is currently being used today," Wolf said. "The donation of some equipment would be extremely timely in that regard."

And as telecommunications becomes an increasingly important field, Wolf said, MSU has worked to expand its electrical and computer engineering curriculum to give students experience with DSL.

Until Bridgeband donated the equipment on Tuesday, MSU students did not have access to actual DSL equipment for lab work.

"It will be very useful because it is something commonly used now in communications," Wolf said. "It's important students understand how it works."

Along with completed DSL equipment, Bridgeband also donated some components that make up the technology. Wolf said students in the senior design program will use those components to build their own DSL systems.

Kayley Mendenhall is at kmendenhall@dailychronicle.com
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