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Ikanos to use IPTV show as springboard for 100 Mbps DSL chip

IPTV World Forum is on March 22 to 24 in London, and many of this week’s IPTV announcements are mostly “sit and wait ‘til next week” page holders for


Published: 17 March, 2011


IPTV World Forum is on March 22 to 24 in London, and many of this week’s IPTV announcements are mostly “sit and wait ‘til next week” page holders for what is to come, but US VDSL2 chip expert Ikanos says it will be showing its new G.Vector Support chips, offering DSL at 100 Mbps over copper, which are now ready to install in anger. We shall be looking for equipment vendors coming out with designs that rely on them over the coming months.

The company says that many technologies are in evidence in these chips, noise cancellation, bonding, low power, what it describes as wire-speed packet processing and this will show the way for a whole new generation of home gateways. The time gaps between new DSL chip generations are getting larger, and there’s no question that it is having some trouble bridging the gap to Cable Modem DOCSIS 3.0 speeds and the hot topic so far has been Phantom Mode, which has been shown giving speed improvements at Alcatel, Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks and Ericsson.

Fundamentally there are to two core changes at work in VDSL chips, and these are Dynamic Spectrum Management (DSM) technology and bonding, but it’s not straight forward.

DSL guru Professor John Cioffi, the processor at Stanford University who is attributed with virtually inventing DSL single-handedly, talks about needing to change transmit power dynamically across multiple parallel DSL lines and then dynamically managing physical-layer signal access multiplexers. In other words pick the best line to send stuff over, then turn power up and down to optimize cross talk and multiplex the signals, and use vectoring to cancel out the cross talk.

The Ikanos chip owes more than a little something to Cioffi’s work, as it was one of the first companies to take a patent license, back in September 2009 from his company Assia about a year ahead of the pack.

DSL works by sending electrical signals over a single pair of wires to a subscriber’s premises. DSL speeds can be increased by a process known as “bonding,” where independent signals are sent over multiple pairs of wires to the subscriber’s premises. Phantom Mode goes a step further, sending independent signals not only over each pair of wires, but also between the two which make up the pair. In this way, two pairs of wires can deliver three to four times the data rate of a single pair, rather than the doubling that would occur with bonding of two pairs alone.

The key Assia invention which makes Phantom Mode communication practical, is the DSL modem’s ability to discriminate between the deliberate phantom communication signals and undesirable crosstalk which they can create. Assia removes this using vectoring, making Phantom Mode communication practical.

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