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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

Experts talking to their peers generate more signal, less noise. Speakers at TNO don't have to buy a sponsorship so they don't feel entitled to give a marketing pitch. The conference invites the best engineers in the industry; most speakers knock themselves out to prove they belong. 

The broadband story of 2016 is bringing telco speeds higher - 200 to 800 megabits. BT promises 10M lines; John MacDonald will present their test data June 28. Swisscom and Telecom Austria will follow with more data. They will confirm that works almost as promised for most customers. Problems remain to be solved, like powerline interference, which affect 5-20% of lines. I'll be particularly interested in BT's experiments at 250 meters and above, new ground for the industry. 

Robin Mersh, Kevin Foster, and Tom Starr of the Broadband Forum will have plenty to say. They are opening up the Forum to a wider community and have an ambitious program going forward.

Below is their powerful and surprising manifesto, embracing open source and criticizing traditional standards development as trying to be everything for everybody. Tom Starr has led DSL standards since 1994 or so. Foster heads Britain's official NICC. Followed through, this could be a sea change for broadband.

June 29, Frank Van der Putten will provide an update on standards. ITU is about to raise the power level permitted, which will help FT deliver 200 megabits 300 meters and more. BT's data suggest power can go higher without causing too much interference. Rob van den Brink will discuss "The relevance of advanced FEXT models for and VDSL/35b." Rob is one of the best informed experts in broadband and the leading consultant on technical planning. 

Rob writes

I'll about a crosstalk phenomenon that is not well-understood. We raised a few years via an ITU-T SG15/Q4 that the crosstalk increases suddenly twice as fast with the frequency then assumed before (the so called “dual slope” effect within “EL-FEXT”). This is quite relevant since it puts much stronger requirements on the vectoring engines of and VDSL then without it.

This second order effect was soon confirmed by many others, and occurs in many other cables as well. It was brought to BBF but until recently its cause was not well-understood. The recent TR-285 from Broadband Forum struggles as well with it and models it not only in a wrong manner but is also inconsistent with itself in different sections of the same document.

So I will explain the problem, show the cause of it via an advanced modeling technique and show how it scales with the length of the cable for performance calculations with and VDSL.

Rupert Wood, a good analyst, is presenting 5G: friend or foe for FTTH on the 27th,


World’s leading companies shape the future of Broadband networks

New perspectives at milestone broadband event trigger immediate actions to achieve industry goals

Atlanta, Ga. June 2, 2016: The Broadband Forum today announced the conclusion of a special three-day meeting held in Atlanta and subsequent agreement of the Board of Directors, with the purpose of examining common strategies for the future of broadband and IP networking. It also aimed to develop a new operational model and immediate actions that leverage new technology and development approaches to serve the business requirements of the stakeholders in the broadband market.

The outcome of the meeting was a course of action that included the following:

 The Forum must embrace the best of both open source and standards development and will immediately instigate new methods for rapid delivery of innovative software and standards for key use cases to the community of manufacturers, service providers and open-source organizations that replace traditional Standards Development Organization (SDO) approaches.

 To complement the above action, the Forum will take action to significantly increase its collaboration with key industry groups including developing open initiatives, including both members and non-members, for the benefit of the whole broadband community.

 The Forum must emphasize the work and methodology that is bringing the most value to stakeholders, such as new value added services, enabling the broadband smart home; a safe harbor for intellectual property, virtualized business and residential gateways, YANG data models, interop testing for ultra-fast networking and guidance for deployment best practices.

Service providers and equipment manufacturers which support broadband came from around the world to the Atlanta meeting to present their latest thinking on broadband networks to a large audience of Broadband Forum members and invited guests. AT&T, BT, CenturyLink, China Unicom, NTT Labs, Orange, Spark New Zealand, Sky, Telecom Italia and Vodafone, along with key broadband market equipment suppliers Adtran, Calix, Huawei, and Nokia, as well as analyst house Infonetics Research and test organization European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC), gave their visions of the future along with their views on how the Forum should contribute to the future of networking in terms of its work and operations.

An important context for the meeting was the emergence of the Cloud Central Office (CO). Demonstrations and presentations of the Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD) project – an open source project led by Open Networking Lab and partners – were sponsored by AT&T at its Foundry lab in Atlanta. The demos showed participants how the Cloud CO concept could accelerate operators’ deployment of new technologies in a re-imagined central office.

Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh said: “The meeting, regarded by many as one of the best in our history, pulled no punches. Perhaps the most important message is that while we have made significant strides towards ‘agile, programmable and ultra-fast networks’ in the last year, we need to dramatically extend and accelerate delivery of standards and software to enable the innovation the broadband industry needs.”

The Atlanta meeting outlined many different perspectives and commonalities with some specific conclusions for actions to be taken by the Broadband Forum. The meeting participants expressed agreement on the following:

 Ahead of the technology and deployment issues, the most significant theme from providers was the need for programmable networks that enable new sustainable business models. This is in line with the Forum’s Broadband 20/20 service oriented vision initiative published last October.

 The need for interoperable standards may still be important but the traditional SDO approach of defining requirements and specifications for all possible eventualities is over, supplanted by agile development and an emphasis on best practices. Collaboration will be key. With the advent of locally distributed dynamic compute and software functions and Cloud CO, the model of end-to-end architecture may no longer have the same meaning.

 Next, the advent of virtualization, networking programing, open-sourcing and projects such as CORD has clearly been understood. The value of IT technologies to transform carrier business is evident and the industry is ready to start this transformation. The standard implementation of these approaches is far from settled and there is a consensus that this needs rapid resolution.

 There are many unresolved issues in terms of migration, testing and intellectual property rights. The role of provider and manufacturer as system integrator has become blurred with open sourcing and there is concern about standardization becoming replaced by integrator lock-in especially for smaller providers.

 The Forum does have extensive liaisons with industry associations but the anticipated initiatives will have to include much closer collaboration with OPNFV, IETF, ETSI NFV-ISG, Open Networking Foundation, TM Forum and the CORD community, among others.

The Forum looks forward to working on some key initiatives with all its partners. From the various inputs, the meeting looked at new roles and important changes to be adopted by the Forum to enhance its industry impact and interactive delivery processes.

The exciting new areas where the Broadband Forum can provide great value and lasting impact for the broadband industry include: providing a safe harbor for intellectual property rights (the Broadband Forum has taken a leadership role in this area); providing migration guidance and software; interoperability and performance testing; implementation; functional broadband expertise; and defining software service platforms on which providers, vendors, and application developers can innovate. In addition, the Forum will provide iterative specifications, test initiatives and supporting software, upstream and downstream of specific solutions open to members and nonmembers. The Forum can provide invaluable implementation best practices guidance to the large number of regional and local services providers which do not have the resources to keep pace with developments.

Many of the innovative definitional, testing and implementation projects currently underway are very well aligned with both adding valuable service and industry thinking. The projects include virtual residential and business gateways, Cloud CO, Software Defined Networking (SDN) broadband management, deployment projects, residential and business user services platform, hybrid wireline-wireless and broadband assured IP services, etc.

A full meeting report is available to Broadband Forum members.

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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