G.fast Dominates Broadband World Forum
October 28, 2015
Author Stephen Hardy
Editorial Director and Associate Publisher
G.fast wasn't the only broadband access technology highlighted at last week's Broadband World Forum in London. However, judging by the flood of announcements of G.fast trials and new technology at the systems and chip levels emanating from the event, you could have fooled me.
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) was lucky enough to convince a pair of its customers to discuss G.fast technology trials. BT, for example, detailed the success it has enjoyed in the lab with the systems supplier's XG.FAST technology, a proprietary initiative that leverages a greater amount of spectrum than specified in the current ITU-T G.fast standard to boost G.fast transmission capacity. The technology supported aggregate (upstream and downstream combined) data rates of 5.6 Gbps across 35 m of cable and 1.8 Gbps when stretched to 100 m, BT says.
BT is a big fan of G.fast, with field trials underway using technology from a variety of suppliers (see "BT connects first G.fast trial customers").
Meanwhile, Alcatel-Lucent also announced trials with nbn, the company in charge of deploying the now mixed-media National Broadband Network in Australia. The announcement was light on details, other than the trial had been conducted over the past month and that Tony Cross, chief architect at nbn, said that the group is "very excited" about G.fast's potential.
On the technology front, a variety of systems houses stepped up to announce G.fast hardware and show off capabilities:
- Italy's Aethra Telecommunications introduced the HNT1 Distribution Point Unit (DPU), which it asserts is the first G.fast DPU to complete successfully the Broadband Forum BBF.247 certification test. The platform supports reverse powering and is interoperable with GPON to support fiber to the distribution point (FTTdp) architectures.
- Alcatel-Lucent unveiled the 7367 ISAM SX-16F 16-port G.fast DPU. It features what the company called "integrated vectoring 2.0 technology" to reduce cross-talk.
- Calix (NYSE: CALX) demonstrated G.fast bonding technology that it said will support data rates beyond 1 Gbps at lengths up to approximately 250 m. It also showed off a pair of 16-port DPUs, the environmentally hardened E3-16F and the E5-216F for more controlled environments. The company supplied DPUs and modems as well to an interoperability demonstration at the Broadband Forum Interoperability Pavilion. Other participants in the interop included ARRIS, ADTRAN, Axiros, Digital Lightwave, Huawei, LAN (the test lab of the Forum's G-PON certification program), MT2, PIVA Software, SMART/RG, Telebyte, and the UNH Interoperability Lab (IOL, which is the test lab of the Forum's certification programs for both TR-069 and G.fast).
- DASAN Networks unveiled both central office and CPE platforms. The former included a pair of vectoring-assisted DPUs, the 16-port V5916, with 80 Gbps of switch capacity, and the four-port V5904, with 16 Gbps of switch capacity. The CPE included the H370 and the more streamlined H370W.
- ZyXEL and Sckipio announced that the former would use the latter's chips to develop a 16-port DPU as well as a single-port G.fast bridge. ZyXEL expects to make the platforms available for "customer engagement" in the second quarter of 2016.
- Sckipio further touted its capabilities by showing off a 32-port DPU design with vectoring using its silicon.
Speaking of chip-level technology, Sckipio and its closest competitor, Broadcom (NASDAQ: BRCM), unveiled new offerings and capabilities as well:
- Sckipio demonstrated the ability to bond a pair of G.fast channels to support what the company asserted is an aggregate bit rate of "up to" 2 Gbps. The same technology could extend support of greater than 1-Gbps rates to 300 m, the company added. The bonding technology is based upon ITU-T G.998.2 and was completed in partnership with Calix, as mentioned above.
- For its part, Broadcom announced support for both G.fast bonding and VDSL2 35b, a higher-bandwidth version of VDSL2 now the subject of ITU-T specifications work. The G.fast bonding support comes via the company's BCM65244 Central Office DSP and the newly released BCM65249 bonded CPE PHY device.
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