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By: MarkJ - 22 September, 2011 (8:00 AM)
alcatel lucentGlobal telecommunications firm Alcatel-Lucent has this morning announced the commercial launch of its VDSL2 Vectoring technology, which is expected to be used by some UK internet providers (ISP) to boost the maximum download speed of superfast Fibre-to-the-Cabinet ( FTTC ) broadband services up to and beyond 100Mbps (currently 40Mbps).

FTTC delivers a fast fibre optic cable to street level cabinets, while the remaining connection (between cabinets and homes) is done using VDSL2 via existing copper cable (similar to current ADSL broadband but faster over short distances). BT Group's £2.5bn rollout of superfast broadband, which should reach 66% of UK homes by 2015, is dominated by this method.

At present most UK FTTC solutions claim to offer maximum speeds of between 25Mbps and 40Mbps, although BT has already announced that it will start increasing FTTC's spectrum allocation (does not require new hardware / extra cost) towards the end of the year and thus boost speeds up to 80Mbps in 2012.

vdsl2 vectoring

By contrast VDSL2 Vectoring, which can work on a single pair copper line, is seen as the next evolution beyond 80Mbps FTTC and works in a similar way to the "noise cancellation" technology employed by some headphones. In essence it works to cancel out background noise / interference (crosstalk) and can thus boost performance and reach by between 25% and 100%.

Rob Gallagher, Principal Analyst at Informa, said:

"Alcatel-Lucent's plan to make VDSL2 vectoring commercially available is very timely. Service providers and governments have stated their intent to boost broadband speeds to consumers and businesses alike, but the challenges associated with comprehensive fiber-to-the-home deployments have been a major obstacle.

VDSL2 Vectoring promises to bring speeds of 100Mbps and beyond to advanced copper/fiber hybrid networks and make superfast broadband speeds available to many more people, much faster than many in the industry had thought possible."

Dave Geary, President of Alcatel-Lucent's Wireline Division, said:

"With our enhanced broadband portfolio, including VDSL2 Vectoring and recent innovations in next-generation fiber, operators can deliver new services and generate new revenue, quickly. Our objective is to help operators – and nations - ‘get to fast, faster’. For operators this means shortening the time needed to recoup their investments, and making it easier for them to meet various national broadband goals."

Alcatel-Lucent appears to be the first-to-market with this technology, although others (e.g. Genesis Technical Systems, Huawei etc.) are working with similar solutions. So what of the UK ramifications? BT has already told ISPreview.co.uk that it is exploring the method for a future upgrade (here) to 100Mbps or possibly more.

vdsl2 vectoring speed

Crucially Alcatel-Lucent recently secured a major five-year agreement (here) to create and maintain "an evolution" of BT's next generation UK 21st Century Network ( 21CN ). It should be said that BT also has deals with some other Vectoring developers, such as Huawei. Either way Vectoring will almost certainly be used by BT but probably not before 2013 as it will take most of 2012 to deploy the new 80Mbps upgrade first.
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