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gfast map nov

Dark Green: Firm commitments from incumbent: BT (10M), Belgacom, Australian NBN, Swisscom,  Austria, Bezeq Israel, Chunghwa Taiwan, Telus Canada, Telekom South Africa, SK Korea, (U.S.) AT&T, Century, Frontier, Windstream, Belgium, Omantel

Mid Pink: Smaller carriers in Germany, Norway, Finland, Japan

Light Green: Incumbent likely:  France, Germany, Italy

london skylineApplause from Trevor Linney of BT. Smalls cells - WiFi or LTE - are a crucial part of the "beyond 4G" networks. It's so expensive to run fiber for backhaul no carrier in the West has a large network of freestanding small cells. (The WiFi First networks in Europe have over 10M connected. Carrier small cells are in the tens of thousands.)

LTE is starting to move to 3 carrier, 450 megabit radios, so requires plenty of speed. Over very short distances, G.fast can deliver 500 down, 200 up to an LTE cell. It's a natural way to connect a few cells in smaller office buildings.

WiFi First poses an existential threat to telcos counting on usage levels. LTE is usually charged, WiFi usually not. The profitability of telcos in the next decade will be profoundly affected by whether they keep customers away from the less profitable WiFi.

Free in France, Softbank and others have literally millions of small cells, home gateways that don't require added backhaul, Turning on a second SSID from all willing homes is by far the best, fastest and cheapest way to deliver more wireless capacity, 

There are many locations where G.fast might do the job and save the cost of fiber. Mostly high rise business districts that need several small cells for some building. AT&T has been doing a fair amount of DAS for locations like that but the cost is high. There are complications to solve, especially because efficient small cell operation requires a substantial control plane. David Chambers has an interesting interview with Airspan on their LTE small cell testing with Softbank. They look forward to attaching 5 small cells and centrally manage traffic. In some cases, they can double speed that way.

There's a war on between most of the big telcos and those building capacity more efficiently using WiFi and backhaul in place. Small cells are among the tools. 

Multi-gigabit access via copper

Cost-effective ultra-broadband access based on G.fast standard

23 March 2015, Heidelberg, Germany. Celtic-Plus is launching a 4.4 million euro project to explore multiple-gigabit copper access based on G.fast, a digital subscriber line (DSL) standard for the local loop. The Gigabits Over the Legacy Drop (GOLD) project will initiate the planned second version of the G.fast standard and boost its usability in dense city areas. The goal is to develop alternative backhauling options based on copper instead of fibre. This could lead to significant cost reductions in the network, particularly within dense urban areas in Europe.

4GBB-GOLD

GOLD builds on the success of the completed HFCC/G.fast project, which demonstrated throughput of nearly 1Gbps per copper pair at 100 meters, and up to 170Mbps per copper pair at 480 meters, on a 16 pair standard cable. This is as much as an order of magnitude improvement compared to existing DSL technologies. GOLD will push G.fast even further to multiple-gigabit copper access rates by exploring a second version of the G.fast standard working at higher frequencies and preparing the ground for fifth generation fixed broadband.
“G.fast is quickly turning into a key technology for European operators,” said Trevor Linney, head of Access Network Research at BT. “During our lab evaluations, it has outperformed our expectations in terms of bitrate and reach for fixed line subscribers. Now, we have formed the GOLD project to drive further improvements in the capabilities of this exciting technology, working closely with vendors and other global operators.”
G.fast is the ideal technology for maximizing the value of existing copper infrastructure. Currently fibre roll-out is very expensive and therefore roll-outs are not happening on a large scale in the access network. G.fast bridges this gap by providing high-speed broadband over the existing copper cables.

During the HFCC/G.fast project, lab trials were performed by BT, Orange, Telefonica and TNO. In summer 2015, BT will start G.fast pilots in two UK cities, Huntingdon and Gosforth, with around 4,000 business and home connections.

G.fast-figure

Figure: G.fast application cases

About the GOLD Celtic-Plus Project
The 4.4 million euro Celtic-Plus project GOLD (Gigabits Over the Legacy Drop) will explore multiple-gigabit copper access based on the DSL standard G.fast. GOLD focuses on the planned second version of the G.fast standard with the aim of boosting the usability of G.fast in dense city areas and thus develop alternative, cost-effective backhauling options based on copper instead of fibre.
The GOLD consortium consists of 12 companies from 8 countries including service providers BT (UK), Orange SA (FR); equipment vendors ADTRAN GmbH (DE), Alcatel-Lucent (BE), Ericsson AB (SE), Sagemcom (FR), and Telnet Redes Inteligentes SA (ES); chip vendors Marvell Semiconductors (ES) and Sckipio Technologies (IL); and researchers at Lund University (SE) and TNO (NL). The project is coordinated by Lund University.
The 3-year project started in January 2015 and will run until December 2017.
Further information will soon be available on the project website at www.4gbb.eu.

About the HFCC/G.fast Celtic-Plus Project
The 4.2 Million euro Celtic-Plus project HFCC/G.fast (Hybrid Fibre-Copper connectivity using G.fast) advanced the emerging digital subscriber line (DSL) technology by developing innovations ranging from channel measurements and transceiver designs to novel system architectures and use cases. This has pushed the standardization process as well as the broadband deployment in Europe.
The consortium consisted of 14 organizations from nine countries and included Ericsson AB (SE), ADTRAN GmbH (DE), BT (UK), Dension Broadband Systems Kft (HU), EUR AB (SE), Orange SA (FR), Lund University (SE), Marvell Semiconductors (ES), Fundacion Tecnalia Research and Innovation (ES), Telefonica I+D (ES), Telnet Redes Inteligentes SA (ES), TNO (NL), FTW Telecommunications Research Center Vienna (AU) and Sckipio Technologies (IL).
The project started in January 2013 and completed its work in February 2015. Results are available at www.4gbb.eu

LTE-U: Verizon restated its support for LTE-U (also being promoted by T-Mobile, but not AT&T or Sprint), asserting that it can coexist with Wi Fi in unlicensed bands. We are skeptical that it will be easy to persuade regulators that this is indeed the case and think LTE-U is more likely to be deployed at scale in the new 3.5GHz band rather than at 5GHz.

There are many locations where G.fast might do the job and save the cost of fiber. Mostly high rise business districts that need several small cells for some building. AT&T has been doing a fair amount of DAS for locations like that but the cost is high. There are complications to solve, especially because efficient small cell operation requires a substantial control plane. David Chambers has an interesting interview with Airspan on their LTE small cell testing with Softbank. They look forward to attaching 5 small cells and centrally manage traffic. In some cases, they can double speed that way.

 

The Site for gfast 230
 

G.fast News

I’m still working through remarkable presentations from the Broadband Forum events. Michael Weissman, Bernd Hesse and team did a remarkable job choosing the speakers. http://bit.ly/BBFBASE

Deutsche Telecom: 35b Supervectoring Delayed to 2019 http://bit.ly/35blater
Broadcom is now over 3 years late. DT briefed German reporters after their financial call and revealed 35b was now delayed until 2019. 35b should deliver 200+ meg downloads 500-600 meters, a crucial tool for DT, which is losing share to cable. Cable now covers about 70% of Germany and is expanding. DT now only offers 50-100 megabit DSL while cable is often 400 megabits, going to a gigabit. 

The problem is software; the hardware is shipping and supposedly will work. DT says 35b is not ready to turn on. Broadcom in 2015 said 35b was in "production" in the press release below. Alcatel in early 2016 said to expect complete systems very soon. "35g is very similar to 17a so there should be little delay."

Broadcom's problems are leading major telcos and vendors to have a plan B, using Sckipio G.fast. DT itself is planning extensive G.fast deployments in 2019, mostly in apartment buildings. http://bit.ly/35blater

Gigabit 100 Meters - Unless the Wires are Lousy http://bit.ly/gflousy
Speeds are fine, "Unless there's a line problem." I've been reporting for three years that ~10% of lines have problems. In the chart by Rami Verbin of Sckipio, he finds G.fast goes ~130 meters on good lines. Poor lines have about half the reach. 

His chart roughly matches the reports from Swisscom, Belgacom, and England for both G.fast & vectored DSL. The 10% with problems can cause the majority of the line-related complaints to support. The angry customers drive up cost.

Rami's solution to reach the gigabit is bonding, supported on the Sckipio chips. Verbin made some additional points:

  • 4 gigabits is possible by bonding two decent 2 gigabit lines.
  • Even in a service from remote cabinets, ~25% are close enough to get a full gigabit."
  • cDTA and iDTA are practical ways to deliver much higher upstream by switching some bandwidth from downstream to upstream only when needed.
  • 35B will probably be similar but Deutsche Telecom doesn't expect to deploy until 2019. http://bit.ly/gflousy

AT&T Wants Coax 2-5 Gigabit G.fast. Very Soon. http://bit.ly/ATTCoax
AT&T faces intense competition from cable, talking about 10 gigabits in both directions. (Cable will only be 1 gig down, ~100 meg up, until ~2021.) AT&T wants something to brag about as well.

AT&T gained millions of lines of coax as part of the DirecTV deal. Alcatel and Huawei are leading the development of G.mgfast. That uses 424 MHz, full duplex, to achieve ~2.5 gigabits in both directions. The reach on telco twisted pair is only about 30 meters. On coax, those speeds can probably extend far enough to service most apartment buildings. Using 848 MHz, speeds can reach 5 gigabits. The ITU standards group has been aiming for 2019-2020 for G.mgfast, too slow for AT&T's marketers. David Titus wants a high-speed standard for coax "early in 2018." He believes that is "doable."http://bit.ly/ATTCoax

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