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Gigabit Copper Broadband One Step Closer as Sckipio Outs First G.fast Kit

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 (3:06 pm) - Score 1,002
bt_gfast_trial_street

Israel-based Sckipio appears to have become one of the world’s first manufacturers to produce hardware that is fully compliant with the ITU-T’s G.fast recommendation (G.9700/1), a technology that BT recently demonstrated as having the capability to deliver broadband speeds of up to almost 1000Mbps via existing copper telephone lines.

On the surface G.fast is quite similar to FTTC, except that in order to get the most out of it you need to bring the fibre optic cable even closer to homes (i.e. by using Fibre-to-the-distribution-point) and then distribute the service from smaller distribution points (mini street cabinets); ideally the remaining run of copper cable between the dp and homes would be less than 250 metres (shorter copper = less interference and faster speeds).

BT believes that G.fast, which could one day replace the current ‘up to’ 80Mbps FTTC “fibre broadband” technology on their network, is “very promising … with significant potential” and they’ve already conducted a small scale trial with three homes near to their Adastral Park engineering HQ in Ipswich (details here and here).

But BTOpenreach’s trial was arguably more of an alpha demonstration than a proper trial because at the time they had no access to final hardware, which had been predicted to start surfacing towards the very end of this year. The good news is that Sckipio appears to be matching their earlier predictions (here) and have just introduced the “world’s first G.fast modem chipset” – DP3000 G.fast DPU Chipset and CP1000 G.fast CPE Chipset.

The DP3000 G.fast DPU Chipsets simultaneously supports four 1Gbps G.fast ports, up to 10Gbps of aggregated backhaul and full built-in Vectoring support (i.e. this works to remove crosstalk interference on the copper line) for as many as 64 subscribers.

Sckipio has also introduced two reference designs supporting its new chipsets: DP3016-EVM – a 16-port G.fast DPU reference design for use in FTTdp architectures and CP1000-EVM – a CPE bridge design for integration into residential gateways or for creation of stand-alone bridges. Various companies including Suttle, XAVi, Zinwell, Lantiq and VTech will make use of this.

Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum, said:

G.fast is a very important part of the next generation for last-mile broadband access, which is based around our Fiber to the Distribution point (FTTdp) architecture. Many of our members are excited to test and deploy G.fast-based solutions as soon as possible.”

As ever though, it’s important to caution against high expectations. The VDSL2 (FTTC) standard promised speeds of up to 200Mbps, yet in reality it usually only manages to deliver a little less than half that to those within optimal reach; while those who live further away from their street cabinet tend to get significantly less than half.

Real-world implementations of G.fast will suffer their own problems and the focus on the theoretical 1000Mbps could thus end up causing confusion. In reality G.fast will need to co-exist with other services in BT’s network and deal with all of the usual problems that the last 250m or so of copper wire could create. If trends follow, and we believe they will, then it’s probably more realistic to expect sub-400Mbps speeds, which would still be impressive.

But all of this depends upon BT’s chosen implementation and before that they’ll need to run more trials, which means that G.fast won’t be arriving anytime soon. We’ve always felt that 2017 might be more realistic, although there’s also the heavy cost and lengthy deployment time to consider; not forgetting the potential impact of future political pressure for more upgrades.

On top of that Openreach might well prefer for other hardware manufacturers, with which they have existing relationships, to show their G.fast kit before they start making decisions about future trials.

Leave a Comment
12 Responses
  1. Avatar Sledgehammer

    Any company that is installing FTTH/B are miles ahead of BT. While people play around with G.Fast and other technologies they suffer a very big risk of falling so far behind that they never recover. Copper will be a ball and chain around BT’s legs.
    With ever customer that switches to a NON BT supplier it will eventually cause a severe strain on BT, something like death by a thousand cuts.
    IF and it’s a big if this G.Fast technology comes about and in use it’s not going to be here for years, long after the FTTC and BDUK are completed. Maybe 5G will be out before then.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      “With ever customer that switches to a NON BT supplier it will eventually cause a severe strain on BT, something like death by a thousand cuts.”

      That’s a big assumption, there has to be suppliers to switch to in the first place 🙂

  2. Avatar gerarda

    Surely “G.fast is a very important part of the next generation for last-mile broadband access” should read “G.fast is a very important part of the next generation for the first few yards of broadband access”

    • I suppose it depends on the exact context, and whether or not they’re talking about it as an all-encompassing aspect of the “last mile” after FTTC rather than just G.fast’s reach. The words “part of” may be key in this respect.

    • Avatar No Clue

      Gigabit copper broadband from BT a step closer my bottom, their trial could barely muster half that speed with only 60 odd Metres of copper involved, on a seperate network from their other plant also. More idle promises like FTTC speeds which never happened.

    • Avatar MikeW

      Ah – No Clue is making up figures again. She likes to underestimate things by about 2x.

      20m – 1017Mbps
      66m – 896Mbps

      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2014/09/bt-boast-1000mbps-g-fast-fttdp-broadband-technology-potential.html

      More idle use of statistics, eh?

    • Avatar No Clue

      LMAO good old Mike with his regular PR spin. From his own link 66 Metres and 896Mb is the combined upload and download speed NOT the download speed, that stands at a lonely 696Mb.

      I wonder if this is why the BTites think FTTC is a success, them adding the download and upload together and calling that the products speed.

      Perhaps he also thinks a 10 Metre line which would be better than a 20 Metre line and produce results which when you combine the upload and download would equate out to OVER 1Gbps is some new hybrid BT supery dupery connection.

      Quite clearly BT G.Fast gets nowhere near what they claim…
      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2014/09/first-bt-trial-future-g-fast-copper-broadband-hits-nearly-720mbps.html

      Idle use of stats, yes if you are a cretin that adds the upload and download speed together and call that the products speed.

      Using that logic this is worse at over 250 Metres than what FTTC is technically capable of because at that distance this will only manage around 150Mb. Where as FTTC could technically do 200Mb+ (if you add the download and upload together like a complete fool).

    • Avatar Raindrops

      Using his and BTs (cough splutter) logic Hyperoptic and others need to alter their product and dub it 2 Gbps rather than 1Gbps as it does 1 Gbps both ways, then again they believe in honest selling unlike BT and its followers.

  3. Avatar adslmax

    Come on BT start NOW! G.Fast!

  4. Avatar Michael

    It isn’t BT fault this time in adding up and downstream. The global standards makers (ITU, chip makers, system makers and carriers) have decided in their wisdom to describe G.fast this way.

    I agree that it is dumb/ bizarre / uncalled for/ confusing … but the global industry is desparately trying to keep copper relevant long beyond its natural sell by date.

    • Avatar Raindrops

      Feel free to point to the ITU document (NOT BT Claims) that is how the standards for speed are calculated.

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