One of the under reported but significant stories of the broadband era is the success of the telephone industry’s digital subscriber line (DSL) program. DSL aims to enable telcos to keep pace with cable modems and other delivery methods using innovative techniques to push their legacy copper infrastructure ever further. It is working.
It is not unlike the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) similarly successful 802.11 Wi-Fi program. Different types of DSL subgroups are aimed at different use cases. Earlier this month, the first class of products using one of those “flavors” of DSL, G.fast, was certified. The certification program is being conducted by the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL).
Gfast is designed to approach gigabit speeds over short distances. UNH-IOL approved equipment from ARRIS, Calix, Huawei, Metanoia, Nokia and Technicolor. Chipsets, the release says, are from Broadcom, Metanoia and Sckipio. (The press release links to a list of the specific products.)
EE Times offers good background on Gfast (which some people refer to by the earlier browser-and search-unfriendly name G.fast). The big advantage is cost. UNH-IOL Senior Engineer Lincoln Lavoie told the site that he saw a presentation estimating that bringing fiber all the way to the premises can represent 50 percent to 60 percent of total delivery costs. That clearly makes a strong case for squeezing every possible bit and byte out of already deployed and paid for copper.
Gfast is not just about total throughput, however. The story describes a flexible technology in which the allotment of upstream and downstream bandwidth can be allotted according to need and support is provided for subscriber-originated video.