Title:
Digital subscriber line multiplexer
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system and method for increasing the number of lines receivable by a subscriber of digital telecommunication services when the pre-existing interior lines of the subscriber's premises is less than the number of digital lines to be received is provided. A master multiplexor is located at the subscriber's side of a network interface connector and is connected to a slave demultiplexor located within the subscriber's premises via an interior, pre-existing twisted-pair line. In a first embodiment, two or more digital lines extend from the central office of the service provider to the subscriber's premises terminating at the network interface connection. Digital data received from the digital lines is multiplexed by the master multiplexor across the interior, pre-existing twisted pair line to the slave demultiplexor. The slave demultiplexor demultiplexes the digital data and provides it to two or more digital lines located within the subscriber's premises to which digital data receiving devices are connected. In a second embodiment, one or more digital lines and one or more analog lines from the central office are multiplexed by the master multiplexor to the slave demultiplexor which provides the demultiplexed digital data to digital lines and analog data to analog lines, both of which, located within the subscriber's premises. In a third embodiment, broadband services for multiple tenants comprising multiple protocols are provided over one or more lines from the CO to a NIC at a multi-tenant dwelling. The requirements for each subscriber in a multi-tenant dwelling are then subdivided by a master multiplexor, and multiplexed, if required, over one or more single interior twisted-pair to a slave demultiplexor at the respective tenants premises.



Inventors:
Depue, Clayton S. (Arlington, VA, US)
Application Number:
09/749669
Publication Date:
07/19/2001
Filing Date:
12/28/2000
Assignee:
DEPUE CLAYTON S.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
370/535
International Classes:
H04M9/02; (IPC1-7): H04J1/00; H04J3/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PHUNKULH, BOB A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IP AUTHORITY, LLC (Lorton, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A system for allowing a subscriber to receive services from multiple digital lines provided between a central office and a network interface connection located at said subscriber's premises when one or more pre-existing interior twisted pair lines at said subscriber's premises is less than the number of said multiple digital lines by increasing the interior existing twisted-pair line capacity, said system comprising: a master multiplexer subscriber line unit located on a subscriber's side of said network interface connector comprising: multiplexing and demultiplexing circuitry; multiple network interface connections to connect said master multiplexor unit to said network interface connection such that each of said multiple network interface connections is connected to a different one of said multiple digital lines; an interior connection to connect said master multiplexor unit to said one or more interior, pre-existing twisted-pair lines; a slave demultiplexor subscriber line unit located within said subscriber's premises comprising: multiplexing and demultiplexing circuitry; an interior connection to connect said slave multiplexor to said one or more interior, pre-existing twisted-pair lines; multiple subscriber device connections to connect said slave multiplexor unit to more than one digital data receiving device, and wherein said master multiplexor unit multiplexes digital data received at each of said multiple network interface connections across said pre-existing, interior twisted-pair line to said slave demultiplexor unit, said slave demultiplexor unit demultiplexes said multiplexed digital data to replicate said multiple digital lines inside said subscriber's premises thereby increasing the interior existing line capacity without physically adding additional lines internally.

2. A system for allowing a subscriber to receive services from multiple digital lines provided between a central office and a network interface connection located at said subscriber's premises when a number of pre-existing interior twisted pair lines at said subscriber's premises is less than the number of said multiple digital lines by increasing the interior existing twisted-pair line capacity, as per claim 1, said slave multiplexor unit further comprising: an AC power supply providing power to said slave multiplexor unit from subscriber owned AC power, and wherein a portion of said power supplied to said slave multiplexor unit is transmitted to said master multiplexor unit via said interior, pre-existing twisted-pair line.

3. A system for allowing a subscriber to receive services from multiple digital lines provided between a central office and a network interface connection located at said subscriber's premises when a number of pre-existing interior twisted pair lines at said subscriber's premises is less than the number of said multiple digital lines by increasing the interior existing twisted-pair line capacity, as per claim 1, wherein said multiple digital lines comprise any one of: T1, E1, Frame Relay, ISDN, Asynchronous Transfer Mode, Switched Multimegabit Data Service, or xDSL.

4. A system for allowing a subscriber to receive services from at least one digital line and at least one analog lines provided between a central office and a network interface connection located at said subscriber's premises when one or more pre-existing interior twisted pair lines at said subscriber's premises is less than the number of digital and analog lines by increasing the interior existing twisted-pair line capacity, said system comprising: a master multiplexor subscriber line unit located on a subscriber's side of said network interface connector comprising: multiplexing and demultiplexing circuitry; at least two multiple network interface connections to connect said master multiplexor unit to said network interface connection such that at least one of said multiple network interface connections is connected to said at least one digital line and at least one of said network interface connections is connected to said at least one analog line; an interior connection to connect said master multiplexor unit to said one or more interior, pre-existing twisted-pair lines; an analog to digital converter to digitize analog signals from said at least one analog line; a slave demultiplexor subscriber line unit located within said subscriber's premises comprising: multiplexing and demultiplexing circuitry; an interior connection to connect said slave multiplexor to said one or more interior, pre-existing twisted-pair lines; at least two subscriber device connections to connect said slave multiplexor unit to at least a digital data receiving device and an analog data receiving device a digital to analog converter to convert said digitized analog signals into analog signals, and wherein said master multiplexor unit multiplexes digital data received from said at least one digital line and said digitized analog signals across said pre-existing, interior twisted-pair line to said slave demultiplexor unit, said slave demultiplexor unit demultiplexes said multiplexed digital data and said digitized analog signals, said slave demultiplexor converting said digitized analog signals into analog signals via said digital to analog converter and providing said digital data and said converted digitized signals to said at least two subscriber device connections to replicate said at least one digital line and at least one analog line inside said subscriber's premises thereby increasing the interior existing line capacity without physically adding additional lines internally.

5. A system for allowing a subscriber to receive services from at least one digital line and at least one analog lines provided between a central office and a network interface connection located at said subscriber's premises when a number of pre-existing interior twisted pair lines at said subscriber's premises is less than the number of digital and analog lines by increasing the interior existing twisted-pair line capacity, as per claim 4, said slave multiplexor unit further comprising: an AC power supply providing power to said slave multiplexor unit from subscriber owned AC power, and wherein a portion of said power supplied to said slave multiplexor unit is transmitted to said master multiplexor unit via said interior, pre-existing twisted-pair line.

6. A system for allowing a subscriber to receive services from at least one digital line and at least one analog lines provided between a central office and a network interface connection located at said subscriber's premises when a number of pre-existing interior twisted pair lines at said subscriber's premises is less than the number of digital and analog lines by increasing the interior existing twisted-pair line capacity, as per claim 4, wherein said at least one digital line comprises any one of T1, E1, Frame Relay, ISDN, Asynchronous Transfer Mode, Switched Multimegabit Data Service, or xDSL.

7. A system for allowing a subscriber to receive services from at least one digital line and at least one analog lines provided between a central office and a network interface connection located at said subscriber's premises when a number of pre-existing interior twisted pair lines at said subscriber's premises is less than the number of digital and analog lines by increasing the interior existing twisted-pair line capacity, as per claim 4, wherein said at least one analog line comprises a traditional POTS line.

8. A system for providing multiple data services provided to a plurality of tenants in a multi-tenant dwelling from a central office to a network interface connection supporting said plurality of tenants, said multiple data services multiplexed to each respective tenant over one or more pre-existing interior twisted-pair lines, said system comprising: a master multiplexor subscriber line unit located on a subscriber's side of said network interface connector comprising: multiplexing and demultiplexing circuitry; a network interface connection to connect said master multiplexor unit to said network interface connection such that said master multiplexor receives said multiple data services for each of said plurality of tenants; a plurality of interior connections to connect said master multiplexor unit to a plurality of interior, pre-existing twisted-pair lines, one or more of each of said lines terminating at a different one of said plurality of tenants' premises; a plurality of slave demultiplexor subscriber line units located, each slave demultiplexor subscriber line unit located within one of said plurality of tenants' premises, each of said slave demultiplexor subscriber line unit comprising: multiplexing and demultiplexing circuitry; an interior connection to connect said slave multiplexor to said one or more interior, pre-existing twisted-pair lines terminating at said tenant's premises; at least one subscriber device connection to connect said slave multiplexor unit to a data receiving device; wherein said master multiplexor receives said multiple data services for each tenant and multiplexes said multiple data services for each tenant across one or more corresponding pre-existing, interior twisted-pair lines connected to a corresponding one of said plurality of slave demultiplexor units via said interior connection, each of said slave demultiplexor units demultiplexes said multiplexed multiple services and provides each of said services to a respective receiving device.

9. A system for allowing a subscriber to receive services from at least one digital line and at least one analog lines provided between a central office and a network interface connection located at said subscriber's premises when a number of pre-existing interior twisted pair lines at said subscriber's premises is less than the number of digital and analog lines by increasing the interior existing twisted-pair line capacity, as per claim 8, wherein said master multiplexor further comprises protocol conversion circuitry.

10. A system for allowing a subscriber to receive services from at least one digital line and at least one analog lines provided between a central office and a network interface connection located at said subscriber's premises when a number of pre-existing interior twisted pair lines at said subscriber's premises is less than the number of digital and analog lines by increasing the interior existing twisted-pair line capacity, as per claim 8, wherein said multiple services comprise any one of: T1, E1, Frame Relay, ISDN, Asynchronous Transfer Mode, Switched Multimegabit Data Service, or xDSL.

11. A system for allowing a subscriber to receive services from at least one digital line and at least one analog lines provided between a central office and a network interface connection located at said subscriber's premises when a number of pre-existing interior twisted pair lines at said subscriber's premises is less than the number of digital and analog lines by increasing the interior existing twisted-pair line capacity, as per claim 8, wherein said master multiplexor further comprises: a power supply providing power to said master multiplexor unit.

12. A system for allowing a subscriber to receive services from at least one digital line and at least one analog lines provided between a central office and a network interface connection located at said subscriber's premises when a number of pre-existing interior twisted pair lines at said subscriber's premises is less than the number of digital and analog lines by increasing the interior existing twisted-pair line capacity, as per claim 8, wherein said slave multiplexor further comprises: a power supply providing power to said slave multiplexor unit.

Description:

[0001] This is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 08/562,197 filed Nov. 22, 1995.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of Invention

[0003] The present invention relates generally to the field of multiple data services delivered to a subscriber's premises. More specifically, the present invention is related to multiple data services delivered to a subscriber's premises when the number of pre-existing, interior twisted-pair lines is less than the number of data services.

[0004] 2. Discussion of Prior Art

[0005] As is well known, a pair of conductors is capable of carrying electrical signals between two communicating parties in either analog or digital form. In digital form, the electrical signal transitions instantaneously between two discrete states, while an analog signal transitions gradual through an infinite number of states.

[0006] At its inception, the telephone transmitted the human voice across a pair of conductors as analog signals. As the use of the telephone began to grow, there was a need to transmit these signals over greater and greater distances. Certain difficulties arise when electrical signals are transmitted over great distances along a pair of conductors. The travel of the electrical signal along the conductors is attenuated, and, hence, if too great of distance is involved, the signal is too low, in the case of the telephone, to be reproduced into an auditory output which a user of the receiving telephone is able to hear.

[0007] In response to this problem, analog repeaters were utilized to amplify the signal so that it was capable of being carried over the greater distances demanded. However, due to the fact that analog signals vary over an infinite number of states, the repeaters amplify the signal, rather than regenerate it, causing degradation of the signal-to-noise ratio of the transmitted analog signal. Ultimately, this reduces the voice quality of a transmitted voice signal over great distances.

[0008] In contrast, as digital signals typically exist only in one of two states, it is possible to perfectly regenerate a digital signal, rather than to merely amplify it. As a consequence, digital repeaters do not deteriorate the signal-to-noise ratio, allowing the voice quality to remain intact. Due to this advantage of digital transmission, telephone companies have long since upgraded their switches and other transmission equipment to transmit voice signals in a digital, rather than analog form.

[0009] At the time the telephone companies were switching to digital voice communications, the cost of digitizers and digital-to-analog converters was too cost prohibitive to be implemented at each of the subscriber premises. Therefore, while the telephone companies upgraded the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), they did not originally do so to the so-called “last mile,” or local loop. The last mile is the communications from the central office (CO) to the subscribers premises. Instead, the telephone companies placed voice digitizers at the CO to digitize the analog signal transmitted by the subscribers telephone along the last mile to the CO. The analog voice signal was digitized by sampling the signal at 8 kHz.

[0010] This scenario is illustrated in FIG. 1. A subscriber places a telephone call utilizing a phone 100a. The voice signal propagates along the wiring interior to the subscribers residence, where 106a represents an outer support structure of the subscriber's premises, such as a wall. The signal is propagated as an analog signal, as illustrated, to the network interface connector (NIC) 102a, otherwise known as a telephone network interface. NIC 102a is a piece of hardware connecting the subscribers home or apartment's internal (interior) wiring to the telephone company's outside wiring (the last mile). Normally, NIC 102a is located outside of the subscriber's premises in a box, however, particularly in older homes, the telephone company's wiring is terminated in the basement at a NIC box or as bare wires screwed down to a small plate. In the case of apartments, NIC 102a is commonly located in the basement of the building, and is the interface between all of the apartment's interior wiring and the telephone company's exterior wiring. In any case, NIC 102a is the interface between the wiring, which is internal to the subscriber's premises, and the telephone company's exterior wiring and is the demarcation of where the telephone company's responsibilities concerning the wiring ends, and the subscriber's responsibilities begin.

[0011] As shown, the analog signal is further propagated along the last mile to the CO (not shown) where the signal is digitized. The signal is then propagated along PSTN 104 until it reaches the CO (not shown) servicing the subscriber of receiving telephone 100b. At this CO, the signal is converted to its analog form and propagated along the last mile to the receiving subscriber's NIC 102b, across the interior wiring and finally received at telephone 100b.

[0012] With the advent of personal computers, subscribers began transmitting data, in addition to voice over the telephone lines. Modems were utilized to modulate the digital data from the computer into an analog form for transmission over the last mile and PSTN, in a manner similar to voice communications. In the early days of data communication, the data communicated did not require significant amounts of bandwidth, nor could the equipment support high data rates.

[0013] While the need for higher data rates for subscribers has generally increased over the years, recently, popularization of data communications and the dropping costs of personal computers has greatly increased the need for higher data rates. Particularly, with the relatively recent popularization of the Internet via the World Wide Web, users have increasingly demanded more multimedia content and increased use of the available bandwidth.

[0014] The maximum bandwidth available, however, utilizing telephone lines is limited due to the 8 kHz sampling of the analog signal at the CO. In order to achieve higher analog rates, the telephone companies (telco) would have to change their analog-to-digital converters at the COs to support a sampling rate higher than 8 kHz. The excessive costs of this solution has precluded it as a viable means of allowing higher data rates to be transmitted over the existing telephone lines.

[0015] Due to the increased demands for bandwidth, there have, however, been other solutions presented to this problem. These solutions essentially consist of providing straight digital connections from the subscriber premises across the last mile, therefore enabling the limitations imposed from the analog transmission to be eliminated by bypassing the analog-to-digital converters. This scenario is illustrated in FIG. 2.

[0016] In FIG. 2, as illustrated, a digital signal transmitted by a computer 200a, for example, is transmitted over the copper twisted-pair wires interior to the subscriber's premises to NIC 202a. The digital signals are then propagated along the last mile to the CO (not shown), at which point it is unnecessary to convert them to digital form, as they are already in digital form. The digital signals are propagated through PSTN 204 to the CO (not shown) servicing the subscriber of the receiving device 200b. The digital signals are transmitted along the last mile to receiver's NIC 202, along the interior wires to receiving computer 200b.

[0017] Examples of these digital connections are T1, E1, Frame Relay, ISDN, Asynchronous Transfer Mode, and Switched Multimegabit Data Service. These services typical transmit both data and voice in digital form. Due to the costs of phones which are capable of generating digital voice signals for transmission over these services, as compared to traditional analog phones, a new service has recently emerged. This service is known as digital subscriber line (xDSL). xDSL transmits the voice data as an analog signal generated using a traditional phone over the lower frequency range of the telephone wires, while providing the digital services in the higher frequency range.

[0018] Any of these above services, however, are normally copper-based services. That is, they are provided utilizing the two conductor pairs (a twisted-pair) along the last mile, and by two conductor pairs interior to the subscriber's premises. There are circumstances were subscribers wish to have more than one of these services, or multiple lines for any given service. For instance, commercial enterprises often need more bandwidth than the 1.544 Mbps offered by a T1 line, and, therefore, the enterprise will acquire multiple T1 lines. In other cases, such as residential consumers, require a digital line along with a traditional analog line. For instance, some subscribers have an ISDN line for data communications for their personal computers, however, do not use digital phones due to the increased cost for such phones. In these cases, the subscriber also needs one or more traditional analog line in addition to the ISDN line.

[0019] While these services have traditionally been twisted-pair based services, it is increasingly being contemplated that such services will be supplied from the CO to the subscribers NIC via other media such as fiber-optics or coaxial cable. The present invention is equally applicable whether traditional twisted-pair is utilized to provide the service, or other media, such as fiber-optics or coaxial cable. However, in contrast to twisted-pair, for media such as fiber-optic, it is likely that more than one service will be capable of being carried over a single physical line. Therefore, in the following discussions, a “line” will be referred to as any single service, such that, even if only a single physical line is supplied to the subscriber's premises, when multiple services are provided on that physical line, there exists multiple lines to the premises.

[0020] While it is contemplated that other media will be utilized to provide services, it is likely that the interior twisted-pair at the subscriber's premises will be utilized to carry the service from the NIC to the devices within the subscriber's premises. Therefore, whether twisted-pair is utilized to provide the service from the CO, or some other media, for each line required by the subscriber, each line terminating at the NIC must have a corresponding interior wire to support the service. This is illustrated in FIG. 3. Two or more digital lines 300 are provided from the CO to NIC 302 at the subscriber's premises. For each line entering NIC 302, there is a twisted-pair interior wire 304 extending from NIC 302 terminating inside the premises, typically at a jack into which devices can be plugged. In the illustration, NIC 302 is located outside the premises and the twisted-pair lines 304 extending from NIC 302 are those laid in-between the walls 303, 306 of the building.

[0021] The need for a twisted-pair interior wire for each line presents a number of problems for users wishing to arbitrarily increase the number of digital lines from the CO to their premises. The problem with existing wired buildings with conventional two conductor telephony wiring is that there is often only a single twisted-pair wired to specific locations in the buildings. This is due to the fact that many older buildings were constructed at a time when a single telephone line comprised of a conventional two conductor wire was installed in only a few specific areas of the interior of the building. The modem communications user, who requires more than one digital line which can be used concurrently, is faced with the choice of installing another conventional two conductor line through the existing interior building structure which can be both costly and possibly damaging to the interior building physical appearance. A subscriber can also face stringent or prohibitive building codes or prohibitive historic codes if the building is categorized as a historic structure or limited alterations if enacted by community building associations' regulations.

[0022] Therefore, subscribers requiring more than one digital line, or both digital and analog lines, can be faced with increased costs for those lines due to installation of new interior twisted-pair wires or increased difficulties in receiving those lines due to restrictions on their capabilities of installing such interior wires, possibly preventing them from receiving multiple lines in some instances.

[0023] Thus, there is a need for subscribers to receive multiple lines from the CO without the need of costly installation of new interior twisted-pair wires when the subscriber is located in a premise which has less interior twisted-pair lines than the number of desired lines from the CO.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0024] The present invention increases the number of lines receivable by a subscriber of digital telecommunication services when the pre-existing interior lines of the subscriber's premises is less than the number of digital lines to be received.

[0025] In a first embodiment of the present invention, a master multiplexor subscriber line unit is located on the subscriber's side of a network interface connection. Two or more digital lines extend from the central office and terminate at the network interface connection located at the subscriber's premises. Two or more connections connect the master multiplexor to the network interface connection such that each of the connections receives the data from each of the two or more digital lines. The master multiplexor is additionally connected to an interior, pre-existing twisted-pair line of the subscriber's premises. The master multiplexor multiplexes digital data received on the digital lines over the interior, pre-existing twisted-pair line to a slave demultiplexor. The slave demultiplexor replicates the digital lines inside the subscriber's premises by demultiplexing the multiplexed digital data and providing the demultiplexed data to digital data receiving equipment connected to the slave demultiplexor via two or more connections.

[0026] In a second embodiment of the present invention, one or more digital lines and one or more analog lines extend from the central office to the network interface connection at the subscriber's premises. A master multiplexor is located on the subscriber's side of the network interface connection and connected thereto such that the master multiplexor receives the data transmitted on the one or more digital lines and one or more analog lines. The master multiplexor digitizes analog data received from the one or more analog lines and multiplexes the digitized analog data and received digital data across an interior, pre-existing twisted pair line to a slave demultiplexor. The slave demultiplexor replicates the one or more digital lines and one or more analog lines inside the subscriber's premises by demultiplexing the received multiplexed data and converting the digitized analog data back into analog data. Subscriber devices connect to the replicated lines via connections on the slave demultiplexor.

[0027] In a third embodiment, broadband services for multiple tenants comprising multiple protocols are provided over one or more lines from the CO to a NIC at a multi-tenant dwelling. The requirements for each subscriber in a multi-tenant dwelling are then subdivided by a master multiplexor, and multiplexed, if required, over a single interior twisted-pair to a slave demultiplexor at the respective tenants premises.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0028] FIG. 1 illustrates providing analog connections from the central office to the subscriber's premises across the “last mile.”

[0029] FIG. 2 illustrates providing straight digital connections from the central office to the subscriber premises across the “last mile.”

[0030] FIG. 3 illustrates the prior art manner of providing digital service to a subscriber's premises in which an interior twisted-pair exists for each line received from the central office.

[0031] FIG. 4 illustrates a first embodiment of the present invention for increasing the interior line capacity of a subscriber's premises to allow the subscriber to receive two or more digital data lines from the central office of the local telephone service provider.

[0032] FIG. 5 illustrates a second embodiment of the present invention for increasing the interior line capacity of a subscriber's premises to allow the subscriber to receive one or more digital data lines along with one or more analog data lines from the central office of the local telephone service provider.

[0033] FIG. 6 illustrates a third embodiment for providing multiple data services to a plurality of tenants in a multi-tenant dwelling.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0034] While this invention is illustrated and described in a preferred embodiment, the device may be produced in many different configurations, forms and materials, There is depicted in the drawings, and will herein be described in detail, a preferred embodiment of the invention, with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and the associated functional specifications of the materials for its construction and is not intended to limit the invention to the embodiment illustrated. Those skilled in the art will envision many other possible variations within the scope of the present invention.

[0035] FIG. 4 illustrates a first embodiment of the present invention for increasing the interior line capacity of a subscriber's premises to allow the subscriber to receive two or more digital data lines from the central office of the local telephone service provider. Two or more digital lines 400 extend from the central office of the telephone service provider and terminate at network interface connection 402 located at the subscribers's premises. A master multiplexor unit 408 has connections 401 to connect master multiplexor 408 to network interface connection 402, such that each connection of master multiplexor 408 receives data from one of each of two or more digital lines 400. Master multiplexor 408 is additionally connected to a pre-existing, interior twisted pair line 404. Interior twisted-pair line 404 is the wiring that traditionally connects the subscriber's side of the network interface connection to the devices within the subscriber's premises. Normally this wiring is laid between the walls 403, 406 of the subscriber's premises and terminates on the inside of the subscriber's premises. In the present invention, interior twisted-pair line 404 is connected to a slave demultiplexor 410 at the end which terminates within the subscribers premises. Slave multiplexor 410 has connections to connect digital data receiving devices, such as personal computers, to slave multiplexor 410 via digital lines 412.

[0036] Master multiplexor 408 has multiplexing and demultiplexing circuitry to perform multiplexing communications with slave demultiplexor 410 via interior twisted-pair line 404. Master multiplexor 408 receives digital data from each of the digital lines 400 connected to master multiplexor via network interface connection 402. Master multiplexor 408 utilizes the multiplexing circuitry to multiplex the digital data received from each of the connected digital lines across interior twisted-pair line to slave demultiplexor 410.

[0037] Slave demultiplexor 410 additionally has multiplexing and demultiplexing circuitry for demultiplexing the multiplexed digital data sent by master multiplexor 408. Slave multiplexor replicates digital lines 400 by providing demultiplexed digital data to digital lines 412, connected to connections of slave demultiplexor 410, and to which digital data receiving devices are connected. Slave demultiplexor 410 additionally includes a power supply 414 which provides power to the circuitry of slave multiplexor 410 from interior subscriber owned AC power. A portion of the power supplied to slave demultiplexor 410 is transmitted across twisted-pair line 404 to master multiplexor 408 to provide power for the circuitry of master multiplexor 408.

[0038] It should be noted, while it is preferred that power be supplied to master multiplexor 408 and slave demultiplexor 410 via power supply 414, it is within the scope of the present invention to connect a separate power supply to master multiplexor 408 to power the circuitry of master multiplexor 408, or alternatively, to supply power to both master multiplexor 408 and slave demultiplexor 410. Power supply 414 at slave demultiplexor 410 is preferred, as FCC regulations currently prevent subscribers from utilizing power supplied by the telephone company to power electronics because the subscriber is not paying for such power.

[0039] Communications between master multiplexor 408 and slave multiplexor 410 are additionally bidirectional so as to allow communication from the digital data receiving devices to the central office. In this case, digital data received from the digital data receiving devices on the replicated lines 412 is multiplexed across interior twisted-pair line 404 by slave demultiplexor 410. This multiplexed data is received by master multiplexor 408, demultiplexed, and communicated to digital data lines 400 via network connection interface 402.

[0040] FIG. 5 illustrates a second embodiment of the present invention for increasing the interior line capacity of a subscriber's premises to allow the subscriber to receive one or more digital data lines along with one or more analog data lines from the central office of the local telephone service provider. One or more digital lines 500 and one or more analog lines 501 extend from the central office of the telephone service provider and terminate at network interface connection 502 located at the subscribers's premises. A master multiplexor unit 508 has connections 505 to connect master multiplexor 508 to network interface connection 502, such that master multiplexor 508 is connected to one or more digital lines 500 and one or more analog lines 501. Master multiplexor 508 is additionally connected to a pre-existing, interior twisted pair line 504. Interior twisted-pair line 504 is connected to a slave demultiplexor 510 at the end which terminates within the subscribers premises. Slave multiplexor 510 has connections to connect digital data receiving devices, such as personal computers, to slave multiplexor 510 via one or more digital lines 512. Slave multiplexor 510 additionally has connections to connect one or more analog data receiving devices, such as traditional telephones, to slave multiplexor 510 via one or more analog lines 513.

[0041] Master multiplexor 508 has multiplexing and demultiplexing circuitry to perform multiplexing communications with slave demultiplexor 510 via interior twisted-pair line 504. Master multiplexor 508 receives digital data from each of the digital lines 500 connected to master multiplexor via network interface connection 502. Master multiplexor 508 additionally receives analog data from each of the analog lines 501 connected to master multiplexor 508 via network interface connection 502. Master multiplexor 508 digitizes the received analog data via an analog-to-digital converter and utilizes the multiplexing circuitry to multiplex the digital data and digitized analog data from the digital lines 500 and analog lines 501 across interior twisted-pair line 504 to slave demultiplexor 510.

[0042] Slave demultiplexor 510 additionally has multiplexing and demultiplexing circuitry for demultiplexing the multiplexed digital data sent by master multiplexor 508 along with a digital to analog converter to convert the digitized analog data back into analog data. Slave multiplexor replicates digital lines 500 by providing demultiplexed digital data to digital lines 512 connected to connections of slave demultiplexor 510 and to which digital data receiving devices are connected. Slave multiplexor additionally replicates analog lines 501 by providing demultiplexed and converted analog data to analog lines 513 connected to connections of slave demultiplexor 510 and to which analog data receiving devices are connected. As with the first embodiment of the present invention, slave demultiplexor 510 additionally includes a power supply 514 which provides power to the circuitry of slave multiplexor 510 from interior subscriber owned AC power. A portion of the power supplied to slave demultiplexor 510 is transmitted across twisted-pair line 504 to master multiplexor 508 to provide power for the circuitry of master multiplexor 508.

[0043] Also, as with the first embodiment, communications between master multiplexor 508 and slave multiplexor 510 are additionally bidirectional so as to allow communication from the digital data receiving devices and analog data receiving devices to the central office. In this case, slave demultiplexor additionally has an analog-to-digital converter for digitizing analog data received from replicated analog lines 513. Digital data received from the digital data receiving devices on the replicated lines 512 and digitized analog data is multiplexed across interior twisted-pair line 504 by slave demultiplexor 510. This multiplexed data is received by master multiplexor 508. Master multiplexor 508 demultiplexes the received data and converts the digitized analog data into analog data via a digital-to-analog converter. Master multiplexor then transmits the digital data to digital lines 500 and analog data to analog lines 501 via network interface connector 502.

[0044] FIG. 6 illustrates a third embodiment of the present invention. This embodiment is particularly suited to a multi-tenant dwelling. In this embodiment, broadband services for multiple tenants comprising multiple protocols are provided over line 600 from the CO to a NIC 602 at a multi-tenant dwelling. The requirements for each subscriber in a multi-tenant dwelling are then subdivided by a master multiplexor 608, and multiplexed, if required, over one or more interior twisted-pair wires to a slave demultiplexor 610a-610e at the respective tenants premises.

[0045] The various lines requested by a number of tenants in the multi-tenant dwelling are transmitted via line 600 to NIC 602. Master multiplexor unit 608 has a connection to connect master multiplexor 608 to network interface connection 602 such that master multiplexor 608 is connected receives the various services transmitted over line 600. Master multiplexor 608 is additionally connected to a plurality of pre-existing, interior twisted pair lines 604, each of which are connected to a respective slave demultiplexor 610a-610e at the end which terminates within multi-subscriber premises. Each slave multiplexor 610a-610e has connections to connect digital data receiving devices, such as personal computers, or analog devices thereto, in order to replicate the services received at line 600 for each subscriber (tenant).

[0046] Master multiplexor 608 has multiplexing and demultiplexing circuitry to perform multiplexing communications with each slave demultiplexor 610a-610e via interior twisted-pair lines 604. Master multiplexor 608 receives data from line 600 via network interface connection 502 and subdivides the data according to tenant, and if the tenant receives multiple services, multiplexes the data to the tenants premises via their respective interior twisted-pair wire. Master multiplexor 608 additionally has circuitry for protocol conversion in the instance that data is ‘piggybacked’ on top of a different protocol on line 600. For example, line 600 may carry voice data PCM encoded over a T1 protocol, however, the subscriber utilizes an analog telephone. In this case, master multiplexor converts the encoded voice and associated signaling data to a plain-old-telephone-system (POTS) compatible signal and digitizes this signal to be multiplexed over the corresponding interior twisted-pair wire. As another example, data is carried over a T1 protocol while the subscriber is utilizing a xDSL protocol.

[0047] Each slave demultiplexor 610a-610e additionally has multiplexing and demultiplexing circuitry for demultiplexing the multiplexed digital data sent by master multiplexor 608 along with a digital to analog converter to convert digitized analog data back into analog data. Each slave multiplexor 610a-610e replicates the corresponding subscriber lines 612a-612e by demultiplexing the multiplexed data received via the corresponding subscriber interior wire sent by master multiplexor 608. Power is supplied at master multiplexor 608 by power supply 614a, or alternatively, at slave multiplexor 610a-610e at the subscriber's (tenant's) premises by power supply 614b.

[0048] Also, as with the first embodiment, communications between master multiplexor 608 and each slave multiplexor 610a-610e are additionally bidirectional. In this case, each slave demultiplexor 610a-610e multiplexes data from the various attached devices over the corresponding interior twisted-pair wire to master multiplexor 608. This multiplexed data is received by master multiplexor 608. Master multiplexor 608 arranges the data and performs any necessary protocol conversion for transmission of the data across line 600 and any other line.

CONCLUSION

[0049] A system and method has been shown in the above embodiments for effectively increasing the interior existing twisted-pair line capacity of a subscriber's premises. While various preferred embodiments have been shown and described, it will be understood that there is no intent to limit the invention by such disclosure, but rather, it is intended to cover all modifications and alternate constructions falling within the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined in the appended claims. For example, the present invention should not be limited by specific digital protocol or specific digital or analog data receiving devices.