Bell Labs has claimed that is has managed 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) transmission speed over traditional copper cable.
The research arm of Alcatel-Lucent said that is was able to use XG-FAST technology to achieve gigabit speeds using two pairs of bonded copper line of 30m in length during lab testing.
The tests achieved 1 Gbps 'symmetrical' services – where bandwidth can be split to provide simultaneous upload and download speeds of 1Gbps – over 70 metres using a frequency range of 350MHz.
The ability to deliver symmetrical gigabit speed over existing copper telephone lines could have major implications for the delivery of broadband services to the home. At present, fibre connection is required for high speed broadband to the home, but the Bell Lab’s technology would allow the existing copper connection could be used for broadband services. This would enable connection with the disruption or expense of deploying expensive fibre right into homes, and allow high speed connection in situations where fibre cannot be deployed.
Broadband speeds over copper are influenced by distance and by the frequency range, along with quality and thickness of the cable and cross-talk between adjacent cables. The XG-FAST uses an increased frequency range over shorter distances. In practice, this would mean network operators could provide fibre at street level, and with the final few metres of connection to the home carried using copper.
The XG-FAST technology is an extension of G.fast technology, a new broadband standard currently being finalized by the ITU. When it becomes commercially available in 2015, G.fast will use a frequency range for data transmission of 106MHz, giving broadband speeds up to 500Mbps over a distance of 100 meters. In contrast, XG-FAST uses an increased frequency range up to 500MHz to achieve higher speeds but over shorter distances. Bell Labs achieved 1Gbps symmetrical over 70 meters on a single copper pair. 10Gbps was achieved over a distance of 30 meters by using two pairs of lines (a technique known as ‘bonding’). Both tests used standard copper cable provided by a European operator.
Marcus Weldon, president of Bell Labs said: “Our constant aim is to push the limits of what is possible to ‘invent the future’, with breakthroughs that are 10 times better than are possible today. Our demonstration of 10Gbps over copper is a prime example: by pushing broadband technology to its limits, operators can determine how they could deliver gigabit services over their existing networks, ensuring the availability of ultra-broadband access as widely and as economically as possible.”
Commenting on the achievement, Federico Guillén, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s Fixed Networks business said: “The Bell Labs speed record is an amazing achievement, but crucially in addition they have identified a new benchmark for ‘real-world’ applications for ultra-broadband fixed access. XG-FAST can help operators accelerate FTTH deployments, taking fiber very close to customers without the major expense and delays associated with entering every home. By making 1 gigabit symmetrical services over copper a real possibility, Bell Labs is offering the telecommunications industry a new way to ensure no customer is left behind when it comes to ultra-broadband access.”