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BWF highlights changing world of copper


Published: 30 September, 2011


The world of copper wires is changing and on show at this week's Broadband World Forum were the first hints that operators are ready to leap to 100 Mbps DSL systems, and even take a peek beyond that to 800 Mbps. Too long DSL has been under the cosh of cable - itself already pushing 300 Mbps products and experimenting with 1 Gbps plus capabilities.

Whether you are a fan of Phantom Mode or of node scale vectoring, 100 Mbps on a single twisted pair is soon going to be a standard telco offering very soon, and without a huge amount of up-front investment.

At the Broadband World Forum in Paris this week, one US company is targeting the 800 Mbps level with DSL broadband, and although this is not a cheap option, Newport Beach , California specialist Positron Access is pushing its vectoring and bonded solution at backhaul for both DSLAMs and Mobile services.

As the world looks for cost improvements in deploying cellular, backhaul is a real problem in an LTE network, where air interface speeds are so much greater and these need to be backhauled. Meanwhile fixed line telcos are awash with fixed lines, many of them returned to the fold as individuals give up their fixed lines for cellular. Well now they can take those fixed lines, bond them together, using the Assia inspired technology at the heart of the new vectoring standards, which get rid of crosstalk interference, and either push the signal over a longer distance or push the line a lot faster or both.

Alcatel is showing off its super-fast 100 Mbps broadband lines with Belgacom, Assia is announcing a deal with Ikanos, where one provides the chips to device makers and the other provides the central office technology to allow vectoring (elimination of crosstalk in bundles of telco lines).

This will be the story of the next three years - copper moving to 100 Mbps without bonding and beyond with bonding, prior to the world feeling that it has no choice but to move to fiber, and with Ikanos being one of the best placed smaller chip companies was the first to license the Assia technology, which is now built into broadband standards

And in one of Broadcom's major announcements for the show it is also entering the fray - Broadcom's habit is always late, never last, and it tends to drive large volume chip markets down in price and in the process eat into smaller rivals.

Broadcom says it has the first VDSL2 central office chipset (perhaps not first) which integrates G.vector, which is the name of the ITU standards work which has sanctioned the Assia work. Broadcom says that G.vector increases VDSL2 coverage, almost doubling the reach of 50Mbps and 100Mbps services to 1km and 400m respectively. Broadcom says that it is offering support for high-density line-card level vectoring for large nodes too, and offers the chips with bonding as well.

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