Alcatel-Lucent Sets World Record – 10 Gbps Over Copper Telephone Lines

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If you’ve heard any commercials for cable internet lately, you’d be lead to believe that traditional copper telephone lines are worthless.  Slow, painful, and outdated are only a few of the descriptions you’re likely to hear.  Bell Labs – the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent – apparently hasn’t been listening, as they’ve just set a new world record by pushing 10 Gbps over traditional copper telephone lines.  Now before DSL users get too excited, this is not going to improve DSL service considerably; the eventual implementation for this technology will be at the end of a fiber-optic network.  The hope is that fiber won’t need to be installed all the way to a residence.  In this scenario, fiber could be run curbside and the existing copper wire could handle the final leg of the journey.  Their hope is to be able to use copper wire to provide a 1 Gbps symmetrical service.

From the Press Release:

The Bell Labs tests used a prototype technology called XG-FAST. This is an extension of technology, a new broadband standard currently being finalized by the ITU. When it becomes commercially available in 2015, will use a frequency range for data transmission of 106 MHz, giving broadband speeds up to 500 Mbps over a distance of 100 meters. In contrast, XG-FAST uses an increased frequency range up to 500 MHz to achieve higher speeds but over shorter distances. Bell Labs achieved 1 Gbps symmetrical over 70 meters on a single copper pair. 10 Gbps was achieved over a distance of 30 meters by using two pairs of lines (a technique known as “bonding”). Both tests used standard copper cable provided by a European operator.

The short distances are an obvious reason why this technology won’t benefit DSL subscribers.  Unfortunately there are still limits to the speed that can be achieved over greater distances.  This could, however, make the installation of fiber-optic networks faster, easier, and less expensive.

Check out the full press release at the source link below.  Alcatel-Lucent has included some additional technical background on their testing as well.  There’s no word on when we might start to see this technology available, but if this increases our chances of getting a 1 Gpbs symmetrical connection anytime soon I say let’s get this rolling!

  Source: Alcatel-Lucent
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