Broadband, Barbados & a 100G Breakthrough

While some poor sods in so-called "developed" markets are still struggling with sub-10 Mbit/s DSL-based broadband, the team at Caribbean operator Digicel is already looking well beyond Gigabit for their service options.

As if Barbados didn't already have enough going for it, Digicel Group has just tested a 100 Gbit/s broadband service on its live network on the holiday island.

Why? Well, because it can and because it already tested a 10 Gbit/s service in Jamaica earlier this year, so this was the next step up... (See Digicel Tests 10Gbit/s Broadband With Huawei .)

As with the test in Jamaica (which used XG-PON technology), the latest headline speed was achieved using gear provided by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. This time around, the vendor's NG-PON2 tech was put through its paces.

NG-PON2 is usually associated with a 40 Gbit/s connection, comprising 4 x 10 Gbit/s wavelengths. But Huawei has been cooking up a 4 x 25 Gbit/s variation of NG-PON2 and I expect we'll be hearing more about that in the coming months (at the Broadband World Forum, for example) and also hearing about similar developments from other next-generation broadband access platform developers such as Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN), Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) and maybe even DASAN Zhone Solutions Inc. (See DASAN, Zhone Merge for Ultra-Broadband Battle.)

Will we see a 100G broadband service any time soon? No, but it's interesting that the capabilities have been tested on a live network and, according to Digicel, verified using the RXT-6000 test system from VeEX Inc. , so this has credibility.

Digicel is on a mission to promote itself as a broadband pace-setter, so much so that it spent some of its marketing moolah on having local hero Usain Bolt (who, it should be noted, Digicel has sponsored since 2004) unveiled as its Chief Speed Officer.

But this also shows how fast broadband technology and speeds are evolving. While 10 Gbit/s, let alone 100G broadband, is a long way from being an affordable mass market service in any market, such tests and verifications are an important early step towards future service launches and also provide feedback and insight into new technology advances.

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

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