Nokia Siemens Networks claims to have achieved 825Mbps over 400 metres and 750Mbps over 500 metres using ‘Phantom DSL’ technology.
Network providers face a never-ending battle to keep up with demand from users for bandwidth while at the same time increasing the speed of their overall networks. One of the major limiting factors is that many networks still rely on copper wire rather than the superior fiber optic cabling. The networks therefore have to choose when to make the very expensive upgrade to fiber optic, and where those upgrades should happen first.
Thanks to some new technological breakthroughs, however, copper wire may be making a comeback. Current download speeds offered to end users range from 2Mbps-50Mbps, but we are all looking towards 100Mbps as the next milestone. While you may think fiber optic would be required for that, Nokia Siemens Networks has managed to employ phantom circuits to boost data-carrying capacity over copper wire to as much as 825Mbps over short distances of around 400 meters. Imagine browsing Usenet at these speeds!
Nokia Siemens is not the first to use the technique, Alcatel-Lucent, another big name in telecommunications, demonstrated 300 Mbps also using Phantom DSL.
These recent upgrades in the DSL speeds are coming at a handy time – DSL has started to lose market momentum, and carriers are looking for ways to balance their exploding capital expenditure requirements. While fiber networks are better in the long run, most phone companies need to squeeze out more from their copper networks without losing too much ground to cable broadband rivals.
While the tech that achieved such high speeds may be a few years away, Ikanos has unveiled its NodeScale Vectoring technology allowing a minimum of 100Mbps data speeds over the same wires. It works by eliminating crosstalk on existing cabling allowing for much higher performance.
NodeScale will allow the networks some breathing space and some cost savings too. Its deployment is thought to cost a tenth of what laying fiber costs. Ikanos will be demonstrating NodeScale Vectoring at ZTE Corporation’s booth at the Broadband World Forum 2010 being held over the next two days in Paris.
While all of these numbers are impressive, they’re just lab experiments for now and are still years before being ready for mass deployment. They’re also achieved over relatively short distances, too short for most cases.
Advances in DSL speeds could prove most useful for rural areas, where it would be very expensive to deploy fiber connections, but this means that individual lines are going to be a lot longer than the distances used in the lab.