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 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:
- Poll: Mobile Broadband Won't Catch Fixed
- Innovating Access Technology With G.fast
- G.fast Takeoff Through Innovations & Applications
- Monetizing Ultra-Broadband
- Adtran: We're In at TeraStream
- Poll: G.fast Yet to Convince
- Adtran Offers G.Fast Crosstalk Cure
- Adtran Launches Gig Communities Drive
- Swisscom Boasts FTTX Milestone
- BT Trials Huawei's G.fast for FTTx
- Heavy Reading: Copper Networks Not Dead Yet
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading