Broadband Forum holds plug fest to show future that is vectoring
Vectoring gets the odd mention as a possible addition to the VDSL2 services from Openreach around 2015, with the potential to eliminate much of the crosstalk which impacts on the connection speed for VDSL2 services as more people sign up.
Broadband Forum who have been central to remote configuration protocols like TR-069, held a Plugfest a couple of weeks ago, allowing equipment manufactors and telecoms providers to play around and see how all the kit operates together.
VDSL2 from Openreach currently uses frequencies up to 17 MHz but an upgrade to utilise a 30 MHz profile should offer a speed boost to the estimated 40% who have short to medium lengths lines (distance to the green street cabinet) and perhaps usher in an up to 100 Mbps download product. If vectoring is added to this then we are looking at even the longer VDSL2 lines gaining performance, the problem holding back deployment is a mixture of regulatory and actually getting the kit to work in the wild.
In Germany where Vectoring is being considered, one of the big problems is how to get different LLU providers VDSL kit to talk and talk fast enough so that vectoring will work, the ideal situation is for all the VDSL kit to be in the same cabinet, which means massive cabinets or a rapid shrinking in the size of the hardware. The other option is the way that the UK has taken, which is largely to ignore sub-loop unbundling, and allow one wholesaler (Openreach) to control the DSLAM, then offer a virtual unbundling (i.e. GEA FTTC and FTTP products). One area of the UK that will have problems is South Yorkshire where sub-loop unbundling is used by Digital Region.
The big question is whether the extra work and costs that may arise from vectoring are worth the benefit, or if Openreach starts to see good takeup of its fibre on demand product it might be able to convince those holding the purse strings that pushing the fibre right into premises is really the way to go.
So while Openreach looks to be sweating its copper assets, there is a chance in 2013 for those keen for fibre and its advantages of fixed connections speeds, no more modem resyncs due to a neighbours treadmill and the little matter of much faster speeds to show that people are willing to spend money on improving their connection.