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Ericsson Pushes 500Mbps Broadband Over Copper Wires

Posted: 17th Mar, 2009 By: MarkJ
Ericsson appears to have performed a small miracle by achieving the world's first live demonstration of Vectorized VDSL2 (Very High Bitrate Digital Subscriber Line) technology, which allowed it to push broadband speeds of 500Mbps (0.5Gbps) over an existing twisted pair of copper cables.

The achievement is important because VDSL technology is often touted as a "last mile" (existing copper telephone line) solution for connecting homes up to fibre optic equipped street cabinets (Fibre to the Cabinet, FTTC). This is the same method that BT intends to deploy over the next few years:

Håkan Eriksson, CTO at Ericsson, says: "This demonstration confirms Ericsson's leadership in broadband access technology and our commitment to the continued research and development of DSL technology to improve operators' business with new access solutions. It also proves Ericsson's abilities to provide future mobile backhauling, which will enable quick and cost-effective introduction of Long Term Evolution (LTE) solutions."

Crosstalk cancellation, also known as vectorized VDSL2, enables extremely high end-to-end transmission rates, improving VDSL2 performance by reducing noise originating from the other copper pairs in the same cable bundle. This increases capacity and reach, boosting the number of customers that can be connected.

Vectoring technology also decouples the lines in a cable (from an interference point of view), substantially improving power management, which can reduce power consumption. However the reality of this test is somewhat less attractive for ordinary consumers.

To clarify, what Ericsson have actually done is to BOND SIX TELEPHONE LINES TOGETHER (83.33Mbps per line), with the result achieved being an aggregated rate. Line bonding is nothing new; it effectively means you'd be paying for six separate telephone lines to achieve said speed.

In reality the standard VDSL2 specification is already rated to reach a theoretical peak of 100Mbps over a distance of just 300 metres. Sadly Ericsson does not give any indication of distance in its testing, thus it's difficult to judge how much of an achievement this really is.

For comparison sake, BT’s £1.5bn rollout is expected to use similar VDSL or VDSL2 technology and initially offer individual line rates of up to 45Mbps (expect less). The operator has already said that faster speeds of 60Mbps could be achieved in the future, but don’t expect that for a long awhile.
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