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BT Openreach Introduce 384 Port Upgrade for FTTC Broadband Cabinets

Thursday, June 16th, 2016 (1:41 am) - Score 8,248

Telecoms watchers may be interested to learn that BTOpenreach has introduced extra capacity for their VDSL based Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) broadband services by giving engineers the ability to upgrade their large Huawei street cabinets (H200) and increase customer capacity to 384.

At present the operator’s largest cabinets can handle a total of up to 288 active ports, but over the years we’ve seen a number of examples where even these can be rapidly filled as consumers adopt new superfast broadband services (here). As a result Openreach often has to build an additional cabinet, which is expensive and can add a long delay before new orders are taken again.

By comparison the new 384 port high-density Huawei DSLAM (384HD) means that an existing H200 cabinet can be upgraded, without any rearrangement of the existing customers, to support an additional 96 ports and that will make it easier, faster and cheaper to cope with rising demand in busy areas.

The new cabinet type comprises of 6 new 64 port line cards, which each maintain the existing 48 customers and 16 new customers per card. Customers are connected to copper terminations housed in a new side door on the right side of the cabinet. The new cabinet door is currently installed by Huawei along with replacement of the line cards as part of overnight planned engineering work.

A Few Key Technical Facts

* Requires 120 E and D pairs from the PCP (2X100, 2×20).
* Requires two DSLAM ducts using a top hat to ensure a quality duct seal.
* New side door extends the cabinet width by 14mm and opens 90° to allow easy access to the copper terminations.

Apparently it will only take two Openreach engineering visits to complete the upgrade and at least one large cabinet, PCP 199 in Basingstoke (pictured), has already been given the 384HD upgrade. Granted this won’t solve all of the capacity problems and in some areas more than 96 extra ports will be required to meet demand (i.e. build a new cabinet), but in many locations it should come as a big help.

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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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21 Responses
  1. Lee says:

    Extends the width by 14mm? Should that be 140mm?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      That bit of text is copy and pasted direct from the official source.

    2. sentup.custard says:

      Presumably it refers to the increased width when the door is closed rather than the width of the door itself, in which case 14mm sounds OK, changing a panel from a fixed one to an opening one shouldn’t make a lot of difference.

  2. Tom Rand says:

    I wonder if this will happen to the tiny PCP67 in Chineham

  3. NGA for all says:

    With a new cab, you get another 1Gbps connection to the handover point. I assume this means 96 more share the existing backhaul. Is that the case or is a second fibre brought into play?

    1. Lee says:

      I think there’s usually 4 fibres brought into an FTTC cabinet, so I would imagine they’ll use one of those for the G.Fast node. They may well even run new fibres from the Agg. node.

      The 1Gbps connection to the handover point can be increased if capacity dictates.

    2. FibreFred says:

      If you don’t know this level of detail NGA it does make me question (even more) your figures and sums on the rollout.

    3. Ignition says:

      4 fibres, 1 connected, a WDM box in the cabinet that can be used to deliver backhaulfor for G.fast.

      Surprised you didn’t know this and trust you will supply a suitably riveting account of how it relates to the accountancy of BDUK.

  4. jon says:

    4 fibre BFT with 1 connected

  5. Karl says:

    How will the door or access in general be gained once BT have shoved their G.Fawt pod next to it? Look like if the door opens to the right once the pods are in place you wont be able to fully open the door, if it opens to the left you are going to need nible finger to grab the side that opens with a pod next to it.

    1. rockin-the-PCP says:

      The G.Fast expansion goes onto the side of the PCP rather than FTTC cab, although power and fibre will be taken from FTTC cab it is desirable to avoid the additional distance on the copper pair’s…

      Sadly this ends up being another one of BT’s great ‘bait and switch’ tactics where the mostly FTTdP solution originally envisaged, which would at least push the actual fibre closer to the users, ends up as simply another FTTC implementation with the ability to offer the same speed levels as the FTTP they appear to be trying hard to ensure nobody buys…

      Were I the cynical type I may think that BT’s reluctance to provide fibre to the end users is nothing about cost of the fact it could take as long as 10 years to roll out, more a case of what would all the potentially-less-than-adaptable OR engineers once they no longer need to maintain a network of 100+ year old copper 🙂

  6. Philip sampson says:

    Will that happen at the west malling exchange I live by and r connected to it and has a bignore waiting list and been trying get it since September last year.

  7. Evan Crissall says:

    What a dreadful bodge. Typical BT.

    1. FibreFred says:

      Why is it a bodge karl?

    2. Karl says:

      Address you comments to the right individual rather than being fixated on my all be it beautiful backside. I did not say it was a bodge.

  8. aidan says:

    still be shit anything and there super farce Broadband what doesn’t add to its name when it comes to speed dodgy BT and there shit network run by cowboys

    1. Oggy says:

      Oh Aidan!

      Your poor command of the English language really let you down there.

  9. fastman says:

    DT Mark — think that should be removed

  10. Rich says:

    Holy Crosstalk Batman!

    At least there should be no need to increase the size of the backhaul, the increase in crosstalk will mean the same overall speeds!

    1. Karl says:


  11. Matthew McLaren says:

    So will this mean the back haul bandwidth from the exchange that would normally feed 288 will now be shared across 384 instead???

    I do wonder if we’re going to start seeing peak time congestion issues more locally rather than just on ISP’s networks and links… I’m also curious as too how lines (specially existing) will suffer with regards to crosstalk related issues.

    I am glad Openreach is working on a better way to increase line capacity though, siting new cabs is just not ideal at all.

    I wonder if they’ve any plan for Huawei 96 cabs though I think they can already be upgraded from 96 > 128 anyway as they use the same kit internally…

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