In 2016, G.fast looked very promising.
But only BT & Australia's nbn remain
Dark Blue: 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 Blue: Smaller carriers in Germany, Norway, Finland, Japan
- Published: 30 September 2016 30 September 2016
BT decides to stick with the big guys. Alcatel-Nokia and Huawei have been #1 & #2 in DSL for a decade, both with excellent products. They both jumped in early to G.fast and their gear works well. They've now won the next stage of BT's 10M home servable G.fast offering, another 100,000 homes in the next six months. BT's Seeley is hopeful they will get production amendment 2/3 chips, but their main supplier Broadcom is not committed to delivering the chips so soon.
Ray Le Maistre, a first rate British reporter, believes Adtran has a chance to get back in at the next stage of DSLAM procurement. No word yet on which modems will be used. Arris/Pace and Technicolor are hopeful. Nokia and Huawei do not generally build their own modems, I believe, but instead OEM them. BT may be willing to pay the markup for now. There's still plenty of system work to do and they are sensibly cautious.
BT has surprisingly few choices. The vendor community has shrunk drastically. I know only four DSLAM makers and two chip vendor likely to be ready to serve a customer like BT.
- Published: 28 September 2016 28 September 2016
Would have been the third largest announced deployment of G.fast. Australia's National Broadband Network has decided to use DSL to bypass some of the cable network they bought from Optus. They are calling this FTTdp, which everywhere else in the world means G.fast. For unclear and probably political reasons, they are planning to use VDSL at much lower speeds. nbn has come way over budget, the cause of the problems.
The remedial work on the cable was getting expensive. The first reports spoke of 700,000 G.fast, but nbn was coy about the details. Petroc Wilson at CommsDay looked more closely; nbn is talking fast but not totally committing to it. The Register and I have since confirmed nbn may use slower technologies. The difference in cost between G.fast and VDSL should be modest, based on the bill of materials.
Whether VDSL or G.fast, I'm very surprised nbn isn't choosing to use the coax in place they bought from Optus, even if they aren't going DOCSIS. Australian press reports and the opposition party have long said there were expensive problems with the Optus system, but that's more likely electronics rather than the coax itself. For G.fast, coax has twice the reach, better performance, and a robust margin for interference.
"The results using coax were flawless,"
- Published: 23 September 2016 23 September 2016
Pioneers get arrows in their back and schedules do slip. G.fast technology is rapidly improving, with Amendment 2 and Amendment 3 chips delayed until the second half of 2017. BT had originally promised to start their 10M home rollout late this year or early next. In particular, BT wants 48 or 96 ports while today's tech only supports 16-24 ports. They also want the higher power and longer reach of the Amendment 2/3 chips. That's particularly important. Their last goal (350 megabits down at 350 meters) is beyond the current state of the art. It may be impossible, but that's unclear.
The original plan, promised by CEO Gavin Patterson, would go to local distribution points for speeds generally 500+ megabits. The 500 meg promise was part of Gavin's attempt to persuade OFCOM not to break up BT because they would deliver great Internet to "nearly all of Britain by 2025." Then the bean counters jumped in and said they wouldn't pay for the high speed. Using the existing cabinets brings the cost so low it fits into the existing capex budget but also reduces the speed.
Some very good BT engineers redesigned the project for 300 meters rather than 100 meters.
- Published: 14 September 2016 14 September 2016
Platteville, Wis has the largest deployment in the U.S. Curtis Frankenfeld remembers the pain of early ADSL deployments but assures me those problems are not recurring. G.fast produced "No disappointments on performance. The results in the field on real cable approach the lab results."
"The results using coax were flawless, with slightly better performance than twisted pair. The installers only had to do a small amount of repair, splitter removal and similar." Sckipio and Calix have been enthusiastic about the possibilities of G.fast over coax and now we have confirmation from a customer.
Curtis would like G.fast to support a larger vectoring group than the current 16 ports.
- Published: 02 September 2016 02 September 2016
Telcos are shy about telling the public but some are moving from "trials" to deployment. British Telecom told analysts they are about to finish their 25,000 "trial" and move forward with deploying 10M lines of G.fast. Calix has a half-dozen customers in "deployment." Geoff Burke wanted to tell me more, but his customers aren't ready. Windstream is their first announced customer and has ordered gigabit class bonded equipment. Calix sells to all the U.S. companies. They recently had a proud moment when Verizon chose their 40 gigabit NG-PON2 over Nokia Alcatel. They lead the market in the 4,000 or so small U.S. telcos. Working with Ericsson, they also sell around the world. They were considered by Australia's National Broadband Network a while back. Geoff wouldn't even give me a hint off the record which companies he was discussing.
Calix believes their SDN platform AXOS is helping them win accounts.
- Published: 02 September 2016 02 September 2016
It's not vectored so speeds will go down as traffic goes up. 35b VDSL, probably from Huawei, has been deployed in towns across Italy by Fastweb/Swisscom. Italy has no cable. If the telcos work together, the customer has to take what they offer. The government wants to prevent high prices by using the state-controlled electric company to build fiber. The politics are intense and mostly playing out behind the scenes.
Testing in Adtran labs confirms that speeds over 200 megabits are practical with vectored 35b. Speeds are similar to G.fast speeds from around 300 meters to around 450 meters, but much slower for shorter distances. G.fast is now routinely reaching 500-800 megabits, with a gig expected from the increased power and other changes almost ready.
35b uses frequencies from 2 MHz to 35 MHz. a total of 33 MHz. It's essentially an upgraded version of 17b, getting faster speeds from the increased bandwidth used. Telcos are making are choosing 35b because it's cheap, about $100/home passed if cabinets are in place.