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Networking The Internet

ITU Standardizes 1Gbps Over Copper, But Services Won't Come Until 2015 153

Posted by timothy
from the if-you-transmit-it-they-will-come dept.
alphadogg writes "The ITU has taken a big step in the standardization of G.fast, a broadband technology capable of achieving download speeds of up to 1Gbps over copper telephone wire. The death of copper and the ascent of fiber has long been discussed. However, the cost of rolling out fiber is still too high for many operators that instead want to upgrade their existing copper networks. So there is still a need for technologies that can complement fiber, including VDSL2 and G.fast. Higher speeds are needed for applications such as 4K streaming, IPTV, cloud-based storage, and communication via HD video, ITU said." Meanwhile, I'm hoping Google Fiber, FIOS, and other fast optical options scare more ISPs into action along both price and speed axes.
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ITU Standardizes 1Gbps Over Copper, But Services Won't Come Until 2015

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  • Meanwhile, I'm hoping Google Fiber, FIOS, and other fast optical options scare more ISPs into action along both price and speed axes.

    Why would FIOS scare Verizon DSL into action?

    • Re:What ISPs? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mr D from 63 (3395377) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @05:13PM (#45674481)
      These limitations might keep the others from getting too scared;

      "The drawback with G.fast is that it will only work over short distances, so 1Gbps will only be possible at distances of up to about 100 meters. The technology is being designed to work at distances up to 250 meters, though transmission speed is slower at that distace. "
      • "These limitations might keep the others from getting too scared; "

        That isn't as much of a limitation as you seem to imagine. The majority of costs are "last mile". This means you can take fiber to a city block (more or less) and still get 1Gb to homes (or offices). In many cases this is far cheaper than fiber to the door.

        It also means a possibly-viable alternative (competition) to cable. I know LOTS of communities that would like to have a competitor to cable.

        • If it is really only good to 100 m, then it seems like a significant problem. My pole drop to first jack is 40 m. In even a decently compact residential street that would only get you 6 lots out from the node not including their pole drop.
  • This still won't fix the problem of some ISPs having a monopoly over some areas, such as Télébec in small Québec regions.

    • In most cases the bottleneck is the cost of laying a brand new network with as little as possible visual pollution / cost and regulatory hurdles.
      Designing a network with a limit of 250 meters cable run to each customer will require an insane numbers of G.fast DSLAMs, this alone makes this tech kinda dead on arrival.
      GPON allows for 10Km fiber runs, and share a fiber strand for up to 64 users, the fiber is then split as it gets further away from the wiring cabinet. 10Km fiber runs are a waste for dense areas,

      • by Bengie (1121981)
        Current GPON is actually 20km ranges with 40km for "long range" versions that are more expensive. If you use Point-to-Point fiber, which is about 3% more expensive, you can get 80km without issue. That's about 20,000 square kilometer coverage for a single CO. You could cover the entire state of Illinois with only 8 locations.
        • Yeah, but GPON is very sensitive to how the fiber is split. I order to achieve 20Km ranges, you must split the fiber no more than twice (perhaps two 1x8 levels).
          Anyhow, a serious deployment of GPON is likely to have the vast majority of customers within 3Km of each station.
          10Km is a far more practical distance, even then only for very low customer density areas.
          A 20Km fiber run should cost far more than a small GPON ONU !
          GPON range limits are defined by signal losses, the Km based range is a simplification

  • Go ALL THE WAY OUT! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rtkluttz (244325) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @05:11PM (#45674457) Homepage

    DAMN... at least once every 10 years pick a broadband solution and BUILD IT ALL THE WAY OUT. To every last house in the US. This never ending cycle of new technology coming out and being bult out to the edges of the big cities and then the next new technology hits and they stop where they are go back to the center of the big cities and start building out again.

    Just once. Get something other than dialup and satellite all the way out to every last house in the US.

    • by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Thursday December 12, 2013 @05:18PM (#45674533)

      How? It has been a long time since there was any significant improvement in performance when the wires are longer than 1 km. ADSL2+, VDSL1, and VDSL2 perform about equally badly beyond that distance. You can go faster by doing G.SHDSL over multiple line pairs, but that is generally not economical.

      • by swb (14022)

        Given how many people have abandoned their landlines for cell-only service, I would think G.SHDSL wouldn't be so uneconomical given how many idle pairs there are.

        • by amorsen (7485)

          Fair enough on the line pairs, but the head end equipment seems to be more expensive than VDSL2 DSLAMs -- and you need at least twice as many ports if you want to bundle. I do not know the actual prices though. The CPEs seem rather more expensive too.

          The only actual experience with G.SHDSL.bis was playing in a lab with OneAccess routers. Those are certainly more expensive than a typical CPE for home use, but they also have more features.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          The last mile in the boonies is where cellphones don't work well, so people haven't abandoned their land line service. It's also where you can't get decent internet access. I have access from a regional WISP, which charges me $45/mo for 1Mbps bursting to 3 (but mostly 1) and am about to move to another one which will give me a bit more for a bit less.

      • Step one replace the wires. We have known this since what the 70's? I can get commodity 100ge optics that go 40km today x3 that at 10ge. And I can get more than one on a fiber pair with cheap CWDM.

        • by amorsen (7485)

          That does not really have anything to do with equipment upgrades at the central sites. Going from ADSL1 to G.fast in the city is mostly a matter of replacing line cards and DSLAMs. Putting new wires into the ground is an entirely different prospect.

          • Point being copper is holding us back. ADSL is a dead end, attempting to breath life into a cable plant that is far past it's useful lifetime.

            • by amorsen (7485)

              Fair enough, you go ahead and put new fiber in the ground. Meanwhile the incumbents will offer G.fast at very little cost to them, because the copper investment has long since been paid off. Fiber is absolutely a better product, and you will undoubtedly be able to steal some customers who hate the higher latency of G.fast or feel cheated when their supposedly 1Gbps line only delivers 1Gbps when doing speed tests, never in actual use.

              However, it is tricky to survive long enough for potential customers to und

              • Were talking about AU, Telstra being the effective monopoly and the government looking to dump huge piles of cash into this. The point is to separate the last mile bits that effectively need to be a monopoly from actually delivering services. It's actually fairly comprehensive with a mix of fiber to the home, fixed wireless and satellite. Anti cherry picking provisions of the law requires anybody that builds there own network to offer access at similar prices. It also requires the incumbents to pull out

                • by amorsen (7485)

                  Pull out the copper network? Why? It is dirt cheap redundancy, why throw it away?

                  • It's a dead end run by monopolies, the NBN is a take on accepting that last mile is a natural monopoly in most places and separating that from actually providing services and those people meet at so many cross connect points or use a wholesale provider to do so.

      • Exactly. Signal processing has definitely improved, but a huge chunk of the range-improvement has come from better provisioning and wire management. 10 years ago, if you called SBC for DSL, the salesperson would query the mainframe to look up your distance, and if it said you were even a single foot more than their arbitrary cut off for g.Lite, as far as SBC was concerned you weren't getting DSL. Period, end of story. AT&T is still pretty anal, and you practically have to know as much about VDSL2 and ou

    • It's not always built out to the edges of the cities. I live in a city and FIOS was built to the suburbs around me. If you live on the edge of the city, near the suburbs, you might be able to get FIOS. If not, you are stuck with Time Warner Cable or Verizon DSL. And Verizon is more and more trying to disown DSL users so that's not really an option. Since going without Internet isn't an option either, I'm forced to take what Time Warner Cable offers me at the price they demand and they know it so there'

      • It's not always built out to the edges of the cities. I live in a city and FIOS was built to the suburbs around me. If you live on the edge of the city, near the suburbs, you might be able to get FIOS. If not, you are stuck with Time Warner Cable or Verizon DSL. And Verizon is more and more trying to disown DSL users so that's not really an option. Since going without Internet isn't an option either, I'm forced to take what Time Warner Cable offers me at the price they demand and they know it so there's no reason for them to improve service, speed up the network, or drop their prices.

        Exactly. I live right in one of the largest US cities (given that you talk about Verizon *and* Time Warner, I suspect we're in the same place) and FIOS isn't even being planned for my neighborhood. I have DSL (from Megapath, nee Covad, nee Speakeasy) and live about 350-400 meters from the CO and get a pathetic 3Mb/sec down and 768kb/sec up. I refuse to go with Time Warner as they are about as close to pure evil as you can get. Verizon's DSL offering is even more pathetic and their customer service is le

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by XaXXon (202882)

      I don't think you understand how long it would take and how expensive that would be.

      The US is one of the least dense countries in the world -- especially at its population.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Countries like Sweden and Finland are even less dense and have much higher broadband availability. Yes, they are two orders of magnitude smaller than the US, but that means that they also have two orders of magnitude less money to spend.

        It can be done. The only thing blocking it in the US is politics. The government prefers to spend many hundred times more than that on the military, even though it doesn't really need to.

      • The US is one of the least dense countries in the world -- especially at its population.

        Talking to the population around here, most of them seem pretty dense. Where they live is pretty spread out, however.

      • > The US is one of the least dense countries in the world -- especially at its population.

        Yes, and no. If you ignore the most rural 20% of the US, Britain, and France, there's really not that much of a difference. France & Britain have some pretty huge expanses of rural wilderness, too. Yeah, we have hundreds of thousands of square miles of desolate wilderness out west and in Alaska, but those areas are about as relevant & meaningful to the daily lives of people who live in Los Angeles, San Franc

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          The US is one of the least dense countries in the world -- especially at its population.

          Yes, and no. If you ignore the most rural 20% of the US, Britain, and France, there's really not that much of a difference.

          Yes, and right now the problem is that there's lots of people in the USA with no broadband internet access at all, and even more who can't get anything worth using. That's a bigger problem than that some people can't get super-fast broadband.

      • by Bengie (1121981)
        USA is one of the most dense, what are you talking about?
    • by dkf (304284)

      pick a broadband solution and BUILD IT ALL THE WAY OUT. To every last house in the US

      Getting broadband to every last shack in backwoods Montana is going to be expensive. Why not do something more sensible and pick a (local) population density that will mandate service, and ignore the rest? If people want to live out in the boonies, they need to accept that some infrastructure-heavy services aren't going to be very available.

      The bad state of things in some cities is something else entirely, and a good reason for tarring and feathering some politicians...

      • I say that we should first follow the roads since it would be easier to string between houses. As for the ones who have no driveway and have to hike up the mountain with their groceries, I don't know. Massive wi-fi?
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Are you going to pay for it?

    • I'm starting to wonder if the government shouldn't step in to build fibre to every home in the US. Access could be leased to any ISP as long as they charge a fair price to the consumer. Once the government has made enough to recoup losses, spin it off into another non-profit like they did with ICANN. Government's role should be to foster innovation, not sit back and let these companies maintain a near perfect monopoly.
      • That would be great if there weren’t any House Republicans. Our new conservative government in Australia has decided that the previous government’s plan to do that (to 96% of houses) was not a good idea, and instead we’ll all be getting 25Mbps by 2019. Good one!
    • by jon3k (691256)
      So NYC and LA should have sat around on 3Mb/s cable until every home in rural Montana had it? That's literally the dumbest thing I've read today and I just read the comments about the Oregon Health Exchange problems (yikes).
  • ...will again become the host that one is connecting to and that side of the network getting there, rather than one's last-mile issues.

    As for FIOS, I can't deny that I worry, ever-so-slightly, about security. From what I understand, there's a single fiber pair that feeds numerous subscribers, and there's some kind of fan-out kit that sends the same signal from the service provider to all of the subscribers, and that phone company active equipment on each customer premises filters out all but the traffic
    • How do you think cable works?
    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @05:33PM (#45674683)

      Ya no... that's not how it works at all.
      It's called a Fiber Mux: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiplexing [wikipedia.org]
      We do the same thing with your data when it's on copper, it's just a different kind of signal, in that case we use a DSLAM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dslam [wikipedia.org]
      (which is just another kind of mux)

      If someone has hacked into your ISP to the point that they have control over the fiber muxes, you have a hell of a lot more to worry about than them listening to your phone calls.

      Also, keep in mind that with copper, all they have to do is walk out to the pedestal behind your house and attach alligator clips to the right pair of wires and a spare speaker. And people DO do that, we've caught them. Hacking our muxes would require them to breach dozens of layers of security. It would be quite a feat.

      • Ya no... that's not how it works at all.
        It's called a Fiber Mux: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiplexing [wikipedia.org]

        That's how things like DSLAMs work: One (or more for redundancy) fat pipe for backhaul, a router or switch in the box at the curb, and individual links carrying only each customers' data to the DSL modem at each customers' site.

        Passive Optical Networks work like cable internet (and vaugely like the original party-line coaxial Ethernet): A pair of light frequencies (one outgoing, one incoming) connect

        • A pair of light frequencies (one outgoing, one incoming)

          I don't believe! It will mean that either there are 250 lasers of different color and some "prism" with 250 outputs to separate and combine them all, or 250 precisely tunable lasers and the same "prism". The TDMA scheme where lasers are ON in their dedicated time slots looks much more affordable.

          I understand that such methods are applied in some deep sea cables but...

          • A pair of light frequencies (one outgoing, one incoming)

            I don't believe! It will mean that either there are 250 lasers of different color and [lots more junk].

            You're thinking of a different scheme: Wavelength division multiplexing. That would be about as expensive as separate fibers to each house with individual transcievers. (Moreso, since the many different-colored laser transcievers are pricey.) Wavelength division multiplexing is about getting more bandwidth or channels out of fibers, in long-haul o

            • by Bengie (1121981)

              (Moreso, since the many different-colored laser transcievers are pricey.)

              Modern fiber ONTs have programmable lasers. They can very selectively tune the wavelengths used, down to the nano-meter of the wavelength used. They can also tune the bandwidth, spread, and guard size. Even the shape of the wave form. All packed into a $150 chunk of technology.

    • by Bengie (1121981)

      that phone company active equipment on each customer premises filters out all but the traffic intended for that subscriber

      The ONTs on the same segment can not talk directly to each other because of the way the optics work. This means each ONT can safely communicate to the head unit what encryption key to use with out allowing the other ONTs to listen in. GPON uses 128bit AES with rolling keys. If the data isn't meant for you, you won't be able to decrypt it.

  • by OhPlz (168413) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @05:13PM (#45674477)

    I'm stuck in copper-land thanks to the phone monopoly in my town, and the copper we have can't reliably transfer data at faster than 8Mbps. 15Mbps was great when it worked, but the disconnects were frequent. The residents in my town are never going to see gigabit speeds over our copper infrastructure. The phone company has no reason to improve it. There is no fiber alternative, Verizon pulled out of our state. Our cable TV monopoly is equally disinterested in provided higher speed service. This is probably a significant challenge all over the United States. We need to find a way to revive competition and get these legally-sole-provider-in-the-region companies to offer improved service.

    DirecTV forced cable companies to up their HD offerings by making over a hundred channels HD in one go after launching some new satellites. Before that, none of the cable MSOs would bother. We need a similar antagonist in the ISP space.

    • by amorsen (7485)

      Band together with your neighbors and share a fiber through wireless links (or more fiber if it is possible to get digging permits). It is a bother, but it is pretty much your only chance. It tends to require a fairly tight knit community to work well, but in some cases it manages to bring the community together.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      They may need to restart the plan that worked for the phone system. Take that unbridled greed and focus it in a certain direction. Grant them a monopoly (greed) if and only if they provide service to every residence (focus). In addition a law could demand sharing of physical infrastructure (which came about in the US after the monopoly was dismantled). Now it won't be like the phone system because the current political undercurrent won't abide fee structures for poor residents and the like, so it would

    • by antdude (79039)

      Too bad satellite can't compete in broadband Internet services like cable. :(

  • Meanwhile, I'm hoping Google Fiber, FIOS, and other fast optical options scare more ISPs into action along both price and speed axes.

    Why would they move along an axis that significantly reduces profits or increases costs, when they can continue to throw legal caltrops under the wheels of progress [slashdot.org]?

    There's room for argument over how expensive it would be to buy more backhaul capacity or reduce subscription fees, but there's little doubt that buying utility commissions and legislators is a lot cheaper.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      when they can continue to throw legal caltrops under the wheels of progress?

      Riiiight. Because wanting a competitor to have to abide by the same rules and regulations as the rest of the industry is "legal caltrops?"

      Why is it so much to ask that the playing field be level? That's all AT&T was asking for. Why should Google be exempt?

      And don't get me wrong, I'm sure that AT&T isn't above pulling something from their bag of Dirty Tricks(tm) but that's not what's happening here.

  • 1 Gbps for 100m only (Score:5, Informative)

    by timeOday (582209) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @05:19PM (#45674545)

    The drawback with G.fast is that it will only work over short distances, so 1Gbps will only be possible at distances of up to about 100 meters. The technology is being designed to work at distances up to 250 meters, though transmission speed is slower at that distace.

    OK. So long as G.fast is an improvement over what they're using now, that's a good thing. But until/unless I can get 1 gbps at my desktop, I don't think they should be allowed to advertise it as "Gigabit Internet."

    This is the typical phone company thing... "buy Internet service from us!" How fast will it be at my house? "Um, we have no idea!"

    • by weilawei (897823)
      If you want a service guarantee like that, you pay out the ass for a service level agreement. Otherwise, they'll happily sell you unlimited unobtanium for $9.95/mo + regulatory fees.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      "In order to determine speed to your residence, please enter your address and phone number so that we can contact you with high pressure salespeople at inconvenient times."

  • Stupid headline. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ericloewe (2129490) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @05:20PM (#45674549)

    "1 Gb/s over copper" is something that's existed for a looong time.

    1 Gb/s over a single crap twisted pair copper on the other hand...

    • It's not even true "1Gb/s" as they would have you believe. It's notional 500Mb/s down, 500Mb/s up, only on the order of 100m. Considering AT&T says their nodes are more like 300m away, that's still a lot of infrastructure to build out.

      Until that competition from Google or FiOS comes to town, you can bet that the local C-men will continue to have nicely padded wallets.

    • 1 Gb/s over a single crap twisted pair copper on the other hand...

      I'm willing to pay extra for special monstrous wires so that the data has more warmth and power.

      • by ericloewe (2129490) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @06:26PM (#45675191)

        Hmm... Are you willing to pay some 3 orders of magnitude more for 4 non-crap twsited pairs made of pure* 99,99999999999678774% copper, plus only the finest nylon money can buy from a factory in China, the finest gold plating in the world and a RJ-45 connector, crimped to perfection by Japanese crimping masters, with an unbreakable tab. Plus, an engineer** will personally test the cable and hand-paint arrows on it so that you know in which direction the data flows better, allowing you to experience more of your audiovisual library than you thought possible. We'll also throw in free shipping if you live in the US. If you're really lucky, your cable works just as well in either direction, so it's like playing the lottery, only better! ***

        http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AKDL1-Dedicated-Cable-Version/dp/B000I1X6PM [amazon.com]

        * Purity may vary between 98,0% and 100%
        ** Is not guaranteed to be an electrotechnical engineer. May be some schmo who draws nice arrows, under supervision from a civil engineer or a robot who has been taught to draw arrows and is supervised by the janitor who was taught to press a red button in the event of a breach of Asimov's laws of robotics.
        *** Purchasing this cable is nothing like playing the lottery, playing the lottery gives you an tiny chance of something good coming out of your investment.

        • by bhiestand (157373)

          Laugh all you want, but it is a very pretty cable.

          And you didn't even mention the vibration resistance!

  • Then it won't come until... ever.
    • Yup, the telecom nazis have no interest in bringing anything resembling high speeds at affordable prices. Heaven forefend, it might be socialist!
  • Since it only work for 100 meters, you're just as well off putting in a Cat-6 or multimode fiber pair and run 1000B-T or 1000B-SX between the points and skip the extra CPE and other equipment...
  • My telecom just rolled out 40Mbit service, about 10 years after Comcast did the same. I don't expect to see this any time soon unless Comcast uses it (they're Fiber-to-the-Neighborhood and then copper, so it's possible). I still won't do business with Comcast, even if I can basically make pricing a wash with bundling. I also could get a DirecTV bundle but giving up DISH would be hard, plus I don't give a rip about sports, which is kind of the focus of DirecTV.

  • Oh, it will, but not in the way you want.

  • Even as current tech slowly inches faster, our caps are going down.. So we get 1g to the house which is cool, but use our monthly allocation of data even faster, which is not cool.

  • Prior to divestiture, AT&T would replace the copper loop between the CO and home every 25 years. Post divestiture, SBC ( Masquerading as AT&T ) will not replace copper until it rots into the ground. When it does get around to replacing it, the loop runs to an RT or equivalent instead of the CO. One of the biggest excuses for the substantial increases in your phone bill was for maintenance of the local loop. They have had more than adequate time to replace copper with fiber, but have chosen to pocke

  • Why don't they call it Gigabit DSL? Now it's G.fast. Before it was "Very high speed" DSL. What's next? G.super-mega-ultra-fast?

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