Broadband/Network
December 8, 2017

Meet the ITU experts aiming to achieve 10 Gbit/s broadband over traditional telephone wiring

By ITU News

G.fast is an ITU broadband standard capable of delivering access speeds up to 2 Gbit/s over copper wiring and coaxial cable.

It answers service providers’ need to complement fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technologies in scenarios where G.fast proves the more cost-efficient strategy, such as in an apartment block with thick walls and traditional telephone wiring, where FTTH deployment would be slow and expensive.

G.fast increases the speed, practicality and cost-efficiency of implementing bandwidth-intensive services such as Ultra-HD ‘4K’ or ‘8K’ video streaming, next-generation IPTV, advanced cloud-based storage and communication via HD video.

That’s why G.fast deployments continue to accelerate, stimulated by the prospect of G.fast interoperability.

G.fast, for instance, is integral to Swisscom’s ‘Fibre to the Street’ expansion. AT&T has begun rolling out G.fast in 22 metros across the United States. And BT will bring G.fast service to 10 million households across the United Kingdom by 2020.

G.fast at 10 Gbit/s?

The first edition of G.fast in 2014 delivered up to 1 Gbit/s, taking copper access into the Gigabit era.

In 2016, G.fast doubled in speed to 2 Gbit/s.

Now, experts are determined to make G.fast five times faster.

“1 Gig was like a magic number four years ago. Now the magic number is 10 Gig,” says Frank Van der Putten, Rapporteur for the Q4/15 group, the team of ITU standardization experts behind DSL and G.fast.

The Q4/15 group celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. These experts continue to challenge the existence of a ceiling to network capacity in the copper ‘last mile’ between the telephone exchange or street cabinet and the customer premises.

The group is now considering proposals for a new technology, MGfast, a standardization effort that aims to achieve 5-10 Gbit/s broadband over traditional telephone wiring and coaxial cable.

“We all understand that this is going to be new silicon for all the vendors,” explains Van der Putten. “We really need to think from scratch. But we’ve got to start now.”

The evolution of G.fast will keep the Q4/15 group busy for years to come. “We have to keep working on the improvements of G.fast, and on the new technology [MGfast] at the same time,” explains Van der Putten.

“After 20 years in Question 4/15, we’re still not done answering the question of how you do broadband over telephone wires.”

Learn more about the past, present and future of the Q4/15 group in an interview with Frank Van der Putten.

Interoperability accelerates G.fast deployment, reduces risk of vendor lock-in

ADTRAN, Arris, Calix, Huawei, Metanoia, Nokia and Technicolor are among the first vendors to have completed the G.fast certification programme run by the Broadband Forum and the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory.

The certification programme is making an essential contribution to industry confidence in G.fast. The G.fast solutions that have achieved chipset interoperability have undergone thousands of tests to gain the prized G.fast certification.

Interoperability will lead to a wider choice of G.fast products and reduce the risk of vendor lock-in. Interoperability will also help to ‘future-proof’ G.fast deployments, providing for future solutions to be integrated into G.fast deployments with ease.

20 years breathing new life into traditional telephone wiring

ITU-standardized DSL technologies connected over 600 million households to the Internet using traditional telephone wiring, bringing many of us our first taste of broadband.

ITU defined ADSL in 1999 to deliver 8 Mbit/s. ADSL2plus in 2003 achieved 24 Mbit/s. The 2006 arrival of VDSL2 brought us 70 Mbit/s. The introduction of vectoring in 2010 boosted VDSL2 to 100 Mbit/s. And in 2014, VDSL2 became capable of 300 Mbit/s.

In 2014, G.fast raised the bar to 1 Gbit/s and the standard doubled in speed to 2 Gbit/s in 2016.

From ADSL to G.fast, ITU standards have multiplied the access speeds achievable over metallic conductors by a factor of 250. Iteration after iteration, these standards have sparked huge upward revisions in forecasts of the life left in traditional telephone wiring.

G.fast combines the best aspects of fibre and DSL

The latest edition of G.fast provides for access speeds up to 2 Gbit/s over high-quality copper wiring as well as coaxial cable, using spectrum up to 212 MHz. New ‘dynamic time assessment’ functionality enables upstream or downstream transmission to exploit the full G.fast aggregate net data rate, right at the time that end-user applications need it.

In ‘brownfield’ scenarios – buildings or streets laden with an abundance of traditional telephone wiring – G.fast gives operators the ability to combine the best aspects of fibre and DSL.

Within the Broadband Forum’s Fibre to the Distribution Point (FTTdp) architecture – taking fibre very close to the home – G.fast provides fibre-like speeds matched with the customer self-installation of DSL, resulting in cost-savings for service providers and improved customer experience.

ITU-T Study Group 15 will meet at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, 29 January to 9 February 2018, preceded by a joint workshop with IEEE 802 on 27 January.

Learn more about G.fast.

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Meet the ITU experts aiming to achieve 10 Gbit/s broadband over traditional telephone wiring

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