New G.fast standard offers gigabit DSL over short distances

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in hardware on (#2TQA)
story imageAt the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam this week, several companies are announcing and demonstrating products that bring DSL -- or digital subscriber line -- into a future with a speed of 1 gigabit per second. That's about 1,000 times the data-transfer speed the technology offered when it arrived in the late 1990s. The DSL upgrade comes through a new technology called G.fast. The technology should arrive in homes starting in 2016.

Much of the world doesn't have cable-TV infrastructure at all, and still less of it has fiber-optic connections. Phone networks, though, are widely used, and covered about 422 million DSL subscribers globally in 2013, according to analyst firm IHS. That should rise to 480 million by 2018. But reflecting the competitive threat to DSL equipment makers, fiber optic links are expected to spread much more rapidly -- from 113 million in 2013 to 200 million in 2018. European customers are likely to favor G.fast in particular, Triductor CEO Tan Yaolong said. That's because labor costs are very high in that region, which discourages extensive renovation projects.

To meet its full gigabit-per-second potential, G.fast connections will require broadband providers to use network equipment close to the customers' buildings -- 50 meters (about 160 feet) or less. A 200-meter distance will still be good enough for about 600Mbps. That's why broadband providers have been placing their network gear closer to homes -- often in boxes under sidewalks, in cabinets by roads, or boxes attached to telephone poles. That's also why it's so expensive to upgrade broadband networks: the ISPs have had to extend their networks to bring that network gear closer to their customers.

Re: And in the US? (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2014-10-26 20:25 (#2TQK)

Should be a good fit for AT&T's U-Verse service. They've been responsible for the proliferation of network cabinets (VRADs) through neighborhoods they serve for many years... Though not remotely enough to put everyone 50m from a DSLAM.

CenturyLink is probably in the same boat. They're deploying fiber, but they might take the DSL upgrade path for their (many more) already-deployed DSL areas.

Verizon has gone the other way entirely, deploying FIOS instead of improving DSL, and trying to make POTS and DSL impossible to sign-up for, anywhere FIOS is available.
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