Bell Labs achieves 10Gbps broadband speed on copper

Summary:Alcatel Lucent has managed to get 10Gbps download speeds over 30-metres of a copper pair.

Alcatel Lucent's research arm, Bell Labs, has achieved a 10Gbps broadband speed over 30 metres of copper using a standard it is calling XG-Fast.

XG-FAST is an extension of the advanced DSL G.fast standard being finalised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and expected to be commercially available in 2015.

G.fast promises fibre-to-the-premises speeds over short distances of copper through a combination of DSL technologies including pair-bonding, vectoring to eliminate cross-talk on VDSL2 and "phantom mode", which creates virtual pairs between copper pairs.

Under phase 1 of G.fast, an industry standard of a maximum aggregate speed of 700Mbps over 100 metres has been set, while in phase 2, it is 1.25Gbps over 70 metres.

For XG-Fast, the lab test, which Alcatel Lucent said was designed to reproduce real-world conditions for distance and copper quality, was able to achieve 2Gbps speeds, or 1Gbps symmetrical, over a maximum of 70 metres of copper lines. The company was able to get 10Gbps over two copper pairs running at 30 metres maximum distance.

G.fast uses a frequency range of 106MHz, while XG-Fast uses a frequency range of up to 500MHz, which allows higher speeds to be achieved over shorter distances, Alcatel Lucent indicated.

Bell Labs president Marcus Weldon said that the test aims to show how operators can utilise their existing network equipment.

"By pushing broadband technology to its limits, operators can determine how they could deliver gigabit services over their existing networks, ensuring the availability of ultra-broadband access as widely and as economically as possible," he said in a statement.

Alcatel Lucent's fixed networks president Federico Guillén said the technology would help "accelerate" fibre to the home deployments.

"XG-Fast can help operators accelerate FttH deployments, taking fiber very close to customers without the major expense and delays associated with entering every home. By making 1 gigabit symmetrical services over copper a real possibility, Bell Labs is offering the telecommunications industry a new way to ensure no customer is left behind when it comes to ultra-broadband access," he said in a statement.

Alcatel Lucent has admitted that the longer the copper line, the slower the speed achieved over the line, and has said other "significant factors" can influence the speed on the copper line including the quality and thickness of the copper line, and the cross-talk between adjacent cables.

In Australia, Alcatel Lucent's fibre-to-the-node cabinets are being deployed in trials of the technology by NBN Co and Telstra under the Coalition government's policy for the National Broadband Network (NBN) that will result in many premises originally set to receive fibre to the premises utilise the existing copper lines still owned by Telstra.

The trial has been labelled as an "interim step" before NBN Co and Telstra finalise renegotiations over the ownership of the copper network, and an unofficial analysis of eight trial locations for the copper lines has determined that the average download speeds across the sites will be between 36Mbps and 47Mbps.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has indicated that the G.fast standard could be used as part of the rollout.

"There is an even more souped-up version of that called G.fast, which is just starting to be deployed commercially, which, over short copper runs, I mean 100 metres, can deliver over 1[Gbps]," he said in August last year.

"What has happened in relatively recent times is that that difference [between copper and fibre] has compressed. Now you're seeing a difference in the service level that is available in fibre to the node, fibre to the basement has become much less."

Topics: NBN, Australia, Government, Government : AU, Telcos

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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