Sckipio Turns Up the G.fast Volume

Don't know about G.fast yet? You soon will, because the noise level around this next generation of copper-enhancing broadband technology is about to be cranked to 11 (beyond loud).

With all the excitement around Gigabit Cities fiber broadband deployments and 4G/LTE uptake these days, it can be easy to forget the important role of the humble copper plant.

Across Europe in particular, those copper umbilical cords that hook up millions of homes and businesses to core telecom networks are getting a new lease on life from vectoring, and soon (it seems), from an emerging standard called G.fast, as telcos extend their fiber plant ever closer to their customers' premises, without actually going all the way.

Vectoring has already found its way into many telco networks, helping to deliver broadband services with downstream speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s. Some examples, and an explanation of what vectoring is all about, can be found here: Vectoring: Some Va-Va-Voom for VDSL.

G.fast, which plays an important role in the FTTdp (fiber to the distribution point) architecture, is the next weapon in the copper armory, and while trials have suggested copper-based broadband services with speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s, the reality is likely to clock in at less than that headline speed -- but still deliver a truly super-fast broadband service, as BT has been suggesting. (See BT Takes a Step Closer to G.fast.)

For comprehensive coverage of copper-based technologies, visit Light Reading's DSL/vectoring/G.fast content channel.

For more details on G.fast, what it is, and how it works, check out G.fast: The Dawn of Gigabit Copper?

One of the companies focused on bringing commercial G.fast capabilities to market is Israeli chipset startup Sckipio Technologies , which has been promoting the cost advantages of G.fast vs. FTTH during its product development phase. (See G.fast Chip Startup Raises $10M.)

That it's waging a cost-advantage campaign in favor of G.fast is not surprising, because its entire business depends on the uptake of G.fast by telcos and, further back in the food chain, the selection of its chipsets by the components and systems vendors that supply the network operators. If G.fast flops, so will Sckipio, and it's clear not everyone thinks G.fast is going to be widely deployed. (See Poll: G.fast Yet to Convince.)

But it set its stall out Tuesday with the announcement of its first G.fast chipsets for network equipment and customer premises equipment. (See Sckipio Unveils G.fast Chipsets.)

Not only that, it already has partners taking its products to market. (See Lantiq Intros G.fast Residential Gateway Reference Design.)

Sckipio's timing is good, as G.fast is going to be a hot topic this month around the Broadband World Forum event in Amsterdam (October 21-23), and I'm expecting to see plenty of G.fast announcements from other chipset players, such as Broadcom, Ikanos and Marvell, and network equipment vendors such as Adtran, Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei -- all of which have been making some noise about their G.fast developments and trials in the past year or so.

Sckipio will face some formidable competition as it tries to build a viable business, but it's encouraging to see a startup challenging the status quo and mixing it up. Let's see what the rest have to shout about later this month.

For more on G.fast, see:

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

[email protected] 10/8/2014 | 8:40:20 AM
Re: g.faster Yeah that was bad wording on my part -- G.fast is referenced as part of the FTTdp architecture, and is certainly not referred to as FTTdp (the two terms are not interchangeable) so thanks for that JB!

To clarify matters I am going to update the sentence that begins

G.fast, also referred to as FTTdp (fiber to the distribution point), is the next weapon in the copper armory....


to say

G.fast, which plays an important role in the FTTdp (fiber to the distribution point) architecture, is the next weapon in the copper armory...
brooks7 10/7/2014 | 10:24:06 PM
So let's ask the carriers DT deployed a FTTC solution that was pre-DSL and had to remove it.  There was some small deployment in the SWBT part of AT&T that also had to be pulled out of the ground.

Why not chat with BellSouth folks about their FTTC experience (which is essentially FTTdp from a distance standpoint).  They had a few million lines in service.

jbtombes 10/7/2014 | 10:11:11 PM
g.faster FTTdb is not = to g.fast; rather it's the Broadband Forum's architecture that includes g.fast for transport over copper, or access to the subscriber terminal (-ast) over the last 100-300m. And the 1G speed achieved in some field trials is aggregate, e.g. 800 down, 200 up. But yes, there should be more noise about this emerging standard at BBWF.
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