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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

Usain bolt by drcliffordchoi-320It works, finally. As always, the telcos were cautious and the vendors promised too much. The dam has broken now, with BT going at 3M homes passed each year. CEO Patterson will keep going until “almost all” Brits can get what he’s calling ultrafast broadband.

AT&T looks to be the next big order, millions of lines with fiber to the basement and to each apartment. Chunghwa in Taiwan is covering almost the entire country. In Australia, Parliament is debating how much of the National Broadband network should switch to Rio de Janeiro, Panama, Belgium, and Switzerland are on the way.  

Results today are 500-800 megabits from basements or nearby “distribution points.” Sckipio brought 750 megabits upstream to CES. Kevin Foster of BT outlines how the system can and must be improved, especially for better performance at 200-400 meters. Huawei opened the kimono and told me a 96 port vectored rig is scheduled for Q4, one of Foster’s “musts.”

Full duplex, sending and receiving at the same time and same frequency, is working as part of  Alcatel’s XG-FAST, it can almost double performance. The CEOs of both Deutsche Telekom and BT are enthusiastic after seeing demonstrations well into the gigabits over short loops. (Neither company has suggested a deployment this decade, nor has Alcatel/Nokia suggested when it will be product.)

John Cioffi in Paris next week will explain how BT and others can get 100 megabits more, by finding equitable ways to share all the spectrum and run from 2 MHz to 106 MHz. Unbundling would shift to multi-tenant software. Everyone except the cable guys benefit, especially the British public. Sharon White of OFCOM is impressive so far; I hope the wisdom of a Solomon is not required to make this so.

Surprising applications are being found. Calix uses coax, where in place, to extend the reach by more than 400%. BT and Cavium are testing “fronthaul” from wireless cells to small cells and distributed antennas. They’ve modified the CPRI software and believe capacity for wireless fronthaul increases 4X. Telebyte is ready with test equipment to help develop interoperability.

BT disappointed everyone by retreating from their initial plan for the close-in distribution points. Instead, they will go to the cabinets already in place. That saves money but reduces the speed; I call it G.halffast. BT’s Peter Bell says the economics of going to the distribution points is “untenable.”  If that’s true, FT/Orange and Telefonica Spain are in deep trouble. They have already built out ~20M lines of fiber all the way home, which is even more expensive than Both are actually doing better, so I think Bell is making some inappropriate assumptions.

Deutsche Telekom is the big holdout, choosing instead vector VDSL at “up to 100 megabits.” Actually, they are now saying 50-100 megabits and they refuse to guarantee even the lower speed. They have fallen a year or more behind schedule. CEO Timotheus Höttges talks up 35b “supervectoring” in theory capable of 250 megabits. DT doesn’t expect 35b before 2018, also two years behind. Until proven otherwise, I expect very few will get 250 meg from 35b,


Top people from nearly every one of these companies will be at the Paris Summit 18-20 May. Do Find a way to come and you’ll go home an expert yourself.

The stories:

10 M British homes offered in 4 years

AT&T's Bill Smith: "We haven't quite made the call yet on"

750 Megabits Upstream

BT Musts: ~ 350 meters, 48/96 ports

Past a Gigabit: Full Duplex DSL for (?Double) Speed

96 Port Q4 from Huawei

BT Testing for Cellular Fronthaul Over Coax Cable? Calix Says Yes

Test Gear Ready to Speed Design, Deployment

British Telecom: "Economics of distribution points are untenable."

Super-vectoring, DT Network falling two years behind

The Site for gfast 230 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.

Deutsche Telecom: 35b Supervectoring Delayed to 2019
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 DT itself is planning extensive deployments in 2019, mostly in apartment buildings.

Gigabit 100 Meters - Unless the Wires are Lousy
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 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 & 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.

AT&T Wants Coax 2-5 Gigabit Very Soon.
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."

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