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Alcatel-Lucent Unveil Micro-Nodes for Affordable Fibre Broadband Rollouts

Tuesday, Oct 22nd, 2013 (9:00 am) - Score 3,005

Global telecoms giant Alcatel-Lucent has developed a new solution – Micro-Nodes – that could bring broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps or faster to homes using existing FTTC (VDSL2) or G.Fast technology and by adopting a cheaper approach to the Fibre-to-the-Distribution-Point (FTTdp) method.

At present BT’s up to 80Mbps capable FTTC service only takes the fibre optic cable to your local street cabinet and the final run from there to your home takes place over a copper cable, which is sadly very susceptible to distance based interference and other problems (e.g. poor home wiring). As a result many people receive speeds that fall well below 80Mbps.

In the future BT envisages that it could possibly improve FTTC speeds by using Vectoring technology (currently in trial) and, going further than that, it might eventually even be able to use new technologies such as G.Fast (think of this as being FTTC2) with FTTdp to deliver better performance (an explanation of FTTdp and G.Fast).

The basic principal behind FTTdp is to bring that fibre optic cable even closer to homes, thus shortening the copper run and delivering faster speeds. But FTTdp would still be an expensive upgrade (additional street works etc.) and so operators are looking for similar solutions that could achieve the same result but at a significantly reduced cost.

It’s at this point that we come to “small, customizable, fibre-fed” and discreet Micro-Nodes, which could perform a similar feat to FTTdp but would be deployable almost anywhere (e.g. on telegraph poles, in manholes, walls or even basements etc.). In other words the fibre optic cable would be taken to these nodes and then distributed out into homes or businesses over traditional VDSL2 capable copper lines.

Federico Guillén, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Fixed Networks, said:

Alcatel-Lucent micro-nodes are the missing link between fiber-to-the-home and fiber-to-the-node, providing a cost-efficient solution for ultra-broadband in locations where other options are simply not economical.”

The nodes, which alongside vectoring technology (i.e. reduces FTTC interference) could deliver speeds of up to 100Mbps and beyond (G.Fast etc.), will be offered via a range that can cover 192, 48, 16 or even just a single subscriber. The nodes would include a choice of powering options (remote or reverse), uplinks (GPON or GE), mounting and service ports.

Alcatel-Lucent’s Micro-Nodes
• 7367 ISAM SX-48V with 48 VDSL2 vectoring ports
• 7367 ISAM SX-16V with 16 VDSL2 vectoring ports
• 7368 ISAM ONT G-010V with 1 VDSL2 port
• 7363 ISAM MX-6: a compact modular system (6 mini linecards) supporting up to 192 VDSL2 vectoring ports. In addition, xDSL, POTS and P2P fibre are also supported.

The idea is that these nodes would come with a small footprint for cheaper and easier deployment than having to dig Next Generation Access (NGA) nodes into the street or pavements, which is what a traditional FTTdp model might attempt to use.

The fact that micro-nodes can also be passively cooled (and thus silent) and powered remotely are also significant advantages because they limit the need for building permits with all their related approval delays. Alcatel-Lucent suggests that it will also be able to customise the nodes to particular deployment styles and hinted that future nodes could shrink even further in size.

It should be said that micro-nodes are not strictly a new concept and we recall that several European cable networks were testing a similar solution all the way back in 2007.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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