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Sckipio Want to Supply Urban G.fast Broadband Using Wireless Tech

Thursday, March 5th, 2015 (9:26 am) - Score 891

Israel-based semiconductor company Sckipio has suggested that BT’s future deployment of G.fast (ITU G.9701) broadband (here), which from 2016/17 aims to make speeds of 500Mbps available to “most homes“, could be fuelled in urban areas by millimeter Wave (mmW) wireless technology connected to distribution points (i.e. instead of fibre optic cable).

At present most of the network deployment approaches for G.fast involve taking a high capacity fibre optic line much closer to homes than today’s ‘up to’ 80Mbps capable FTTC (VDSL) “fibre broadband” services and then connecting it up to a smaller remote node or distribution point (FTTdp / FTTrN); these could be built on top of telegraph poles, inside street cabinets or possibly placed underground.

But extending fibre optic cable in dense urban areas can be an expensive and time consuming process. The alternative that Sckipio and its new partner Siklu propose is to fuel G.fast nodes with a capacity supply of up to 2Gbps (Gigabits per second) by using E-Band and V-Band millimeter wave wireless tech (60-80GHz), which could work over distances of up to 2.5 miles.

In this approach an E-Band antenna might be installed at a telephone exchange, which would then be connected wirelessly to another E-Band antenna on the top of a residential or office building. “Then, via GPON, GigE or other wired connectivity, traffic is delivered to a G.fast distribution point in the wiring closet in the building that connects to 16 individual copper pairs that flow to customer residences,” said Sckipio.

Itzik Ben-Bassat, CEO of Siklu, said:

In cities such as San Francisco and New York, it is very challenging to trench fiber to the building and its impractical to install fiber all the way to each residence. By combining these two emerging technologies together, we can solve many of the major logistical, regulatory, and installation problems that make it expensive to deliver gigabit broadband to city-dwellers.”

We have seen some not dissimilar approaches before, such as BT’s own Microwave based Wireless-to-the-Cabinet (WTTC) technology, although that particular setup is better for rural areas where the line of sight is not obstructed.

The approach taken by Sckipio is interesting, although similar solutions have existed for a while from other companies. In practical terms we fear that it might be quite tricky to shoehorn this into a setup that may already involve a lot of fibre optic cable through prior FTTC installations (like we have in the UK). Overcoming any physical obstructions to the signal may also be an issue in urban environments.

On top of that 2Gbps might sound like a lot of capacity, but consider that some UK ISPs (B4RN, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear etc.) can already offer 1Gbps connections to individual homes. At peak time in a busy urban area the risk of congestion may also be greater, not least with that 2Gbps being an ‘up to’ figure. No doubt BT’s R&D people may at some point play around with such an approach, although right now there’s no sign of it forming any part of their initial G.fast roll-out.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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