Skip Navigation

BT and Alcatel-Lucent push 1.8 Gbps over a copper pair
Tuesday 20 October 2015 14:53:05 by Andrew Ferguson with its headline 300 to 500 Mbps ultrafast vision which has BT planning to reach 10 million premises by 2020 has just had that speed eclipsed by lab work in conjunction with Alcatel-Lucent. Lab trials have now shown 5.6 Gbps pushed across 35 metre of cable, with an aggregate speed of 1.8 Gbps over a more useful 100m of copper telephone line. The catchy name for this new technology is and is part of the reason why BT is confident that will allow them to deliver speeds needed in the next ten to fifteen years.

2015 Lab Based Testing of - Oct 15
(click to view larger version) Alcatel-Lucent Lab Test Copper Speed Record Data - Oct 15 (large image) is not sitting still reducing power consumption and other tweaks to extend its reach are on going and both Qualcomm and Alcatel-Lucent are talking about higher port densities for DSLAMs of 32, 48 and 96 ports.

In a technological world new developments like this are always interesting, but it will be some time before appears in the average street and in the UK the focus is less about pushing the envelope speed wise but rather about increasing coverage at the more usual superfast type speeds and for those not already getting superfast increased roll-out cannot arrive fast enough. This pressure on roll-out time scales and limited budgets are often what is driving the push to 'sweat the copper'.

Four most likely deployment scenarios
(click to view larger version)

Alcatel-Lucent was far from being the only chipset manufacturer delivering kit and showing off working at Broadband World Forum 2015 but their slides had the most useful detail. The above slide shows where four deployment scenarios with FTTCurb being a new scenario driven by Openreach requirements, to give them increased flexibility. The single port DPU (~FTTH) scenario is not one previously envisaged but reflects some deployments in Hong Kong and France, where single port kit is used to serve a single flat, why? Because it means a provider can fit the kit without any need to enter each individual apartment which a full FTTH or FTTB with Gigabit Ethernet deployment would require.

VPlus more port, bits per tone to boost speeds and coverage
(click to view larger version)

While with improvements and more real world data lead the speed charge outside the labs broke the speed records. An interesting new middle ground in the form of Vplus (35b) or VDSL2 Annex Q (what Huawei call it) was discussed which makes use of increased bits per tone, higher power levels and increased bandwidth to 35 MHz with the extra bandwidth going towards downstream speeds could result in speed boosts out to 700m from existing VDSL2 cabinets, the idea being that this could be delivered by line card swaps. No word on adoption by Openreach, but it adds another tool to the technology toolkit.

For those thinking all this xDSL talk means Openreach is abandoning its Gigabit FoD2 FTTP product, it was emphasised in various talks that premium fibre giving Gigabit speeds was a clear part of the roadmap, the expectation that the SME sector that needs more speed than even or VDSL2 can provide will opt for this. Alas no commitment to ball park pricing yet, but we keep pestering so hopefully will know as soon as they have some firm figures.


Posted by DrMikeHuntHurtz about 1 year ago
Be interesting to see the speed vs distance graph.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
On its way in the next 30 minutes or so
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Photos of the most interesting slides now added, not the best quality as captured from a camera sat in the audience rather than a direct screen grab from a power point.
Posted by ZenUser27 about 1 year ago
Only if you live in Hungtingdon probably lol
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Today was the G.Fast day, wasn't it?

I'm surprised at Alcatel labelling FTTcurb as a new concept. Isn't the Swisscom FTTS (FTTstreet) broadly the same?

They're already running that programme with a 200m distance, using VDSL2. However, their programme is for plug-compatible G.Fast hardware to be swapped in later.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
The XG.Fast stuff is fascinating.

Did you hear any kind of indication about how it was swaying opinions?

Yes, it is a very long way off. But I reckon its mere existence right now has important ramifications: that there is headroom above BT's existing targets.

That will confirm to the head honchos at BT that a fibre-at-all-costs solution isn't necessary, and that their current strategy is right.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
What a lot of purists don't accept is that this is all about commercial viability. To be that it has to be done as cost effectively as possibly (as BB products are price sensitive). Secondly, it has to be able to be capable of being deployed quickly in order to generate revenue.

Grand schemes of national FTTP sound great but it's slow to deploy, very expensive and nobody will put up the capital on a promise of (maybe) reduced maintenance costs in a decade or more.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
There was some interesting debate with a Swedish slant, where people are happy spending €2,000 to get FTTH as an investment and to keep teenagers happy. BUT while there is a thriving community FTTH roll-out, and cities have competition, the peri-urban where neighbours don't know each other are missing out, i.e. no persons of grit and moral fibre and not attractive commercially.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
I've not doubt that there's money in the country to afford such an investment. After all, in the big picture of things £1k per household over 10 years is not much. It's less than a cup Starbucks coffee per week per household for ten years. However, that's a very different thing to having an economic and commercial environment where that supports this (and especially in rural areas where the costs are higher).
Those who put up capital will be nervous of repeating the cable industry financial bloodbath.
Posted by DrMikeHuntHurtz about 1 year ago
If people want FTTP (FoD) they should pay for it or settle for FTTC.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi broadband Watchers.
This product is cost effective if the fibre and power is close if not most situations it would be cheaper to fibre to the homes so it is going to be horses for courses.
Posted by leexgx about 1 year ago
problem is accessing the house, with this fiber to the pole or curb they don't have to access the house to do any extra wiring and less likely chance of the house owner damaging the fiber
Posted by darkmast2 about 1 year ago
It's nice seeing faster and faster speeds being looked into but I sometimes feel that we're being held back a bit by sticking with the existing copper network.
Posted by comnut about 1 year ago
Well if they do it the way Sky does, its fibre from about 3 Km away! :)(you may have to 'translate' from 'non tech')
My friend got it installed in his house by Kempton park, near Hanworth, and he said they would 'just run fibre from the Whitton exchange'.. Thats 3km as the crow flies... :O
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.