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Alcatel-Lucent's XG-FAST Pushes 10,000Mbps Over Copper Phone Lines 149

Mark.JUK (1222360) writes The Bell Labs R&D division of telecoms giant Alcatel-Lucent has today claimed to set a new world record after they successfully pushed "ultra-broadband" speeds of 10,000 Megabits per second (Mbps) down a traditional copper telephone line using XG-FAST technology, which is an extension of (ITU G.9700). is a hybrid-fiber technology, which is designed to deliver Internet speeds of up to 1000Mbps over runs of copper cable (up to around 250 meters via 106MHz+ radio spectrum). The idea is that a fiber optic cable is taken closer to homes and then works to deliver the last few meters of service, which saves money because the operator doesn't have to dig up your garden to lay new cables. XG-FAST works in a similar way but via an even shorter run of copper and using frequencies of up to 500MHz. For example, XG-FAST delivered its top speed of 10,000Mbps by bonding two copper lines together over just 30 meters of cable.
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Alcatel-Lucent's XG-FAST Pushes 10,000Mbps Over Copper Phone Lines

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    What is the latency?
    • by Shatrat ( 855151 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:39AM (#47415841)

      To what, the DSLAM? A few microseconds. To the IP drain? The same as before. Also, this does not beg the question.

      • To the IP drain? The same as before.

        So 20 milliseconds? Like in other DSL technologies.

        • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
          20ms? That's pretty good. My mom had a 80ms ping to her first hop, during off hours. At peak hours, it was near 100ms.
        • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

          20 milliseconds to what? Google? That's going to be dependent entirely on the ISPs transport network and peering locations, and the access technology won't affect it at all (assuming it's not congested).
          The latency from the customer to the broadband gateway router in the ISPs office is going to be similar to a LAN.

        • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

          First-hop latency on VDSL2 is less than one third that...

          My first-hop latency is 12ms, and that includes a 600 kilometer journey from my DSLAM to my ISP's closest PoP in another province.

          • I also have VDSL2 and my latency to PoP located 25 km away is is 24 ms.
            • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

              That's because you're on an interleaved profile rather than fastpath. Your ISP has, on your line, sacrificed latency for improved error correction.

        • The latency isn't a by product of DSL technologies. It is caused by Interleaving.
          If you are happy with a slightly slower connection, you can get lower latency but it must go slower to prevent errors.
          Its usually a setting on your router, with Interleaving always enabled by default.


  • by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:29AM (#47415729)

    All my telco worker friends grumble about being forced to praise their customers' horticultural skills on their site visits.

    • All the honeys stop by and praise my edging, and people can't stop talking about the D's on my lawnmower.

    • by dmomo ( 256005 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:41AM (#47415855)

      Big ups to my garden, big ups to my hoe.
      What the dill w/ my weeds and my dill-yo?
      Gotta keep the green flowing round my grill-yo.

      My lyrics is tight.
      My rhymes on target.
      I drop fatter beets
      Than a farmer's market.

    • I have yet to see any telco digging up anything. They just run the wire from the pole and drill right through the pristine front of the house to run black cable over white siding in the most obnoxious way possible. Dig up the front yard...pah! We are not Europe!
  • Up to 250m? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 3.5 stripes ( 578410 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:35AM (#47415797)

    So in real life, around 20m, give or take 12m.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

      No, probably around 100-200m is the more realistic outcome. Which is enough for an average residential building. In a taller building where this range isn't enough, there's usually some sort of a panel mid way where you can insert repeaters to strengthen the signal for much cheaper than having to rip out walls.

      Notably this is exactly how VDSL is being currently used. I now use one at home, 100/10 connection over a standard copper pair to DSLAM in the basement which in turn is connected to the central ISP ne

      • Re:Up to 250m? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @01:47PM (#47417039)
        So all they need to do is park a $30k box within 100m-200m of the customer, and they have to power, cool, and maintain batteries in this box. Sounds like a great idea. Why would anyone want to use a $100 fiber port with a 40km-80km range and is back in a central datacenter, when they could spend $500+/port for a 100m-200m range and installed out in the field?!
        • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

          Not even close. VDSL2 DSLAM is (afaik) around 1000 euro for operators who buy them in bulk nowadays, and you can hook it to the building's electric supply. You're not going to need VDSL2 to work if building has no power anyway (modems will turn off without power), so you don't need any kind of batteries.

          You seem to think this is hypothetical. This is how much of the internet is being implemented across Nordics as far as I know. They pulled this connection to my apartment building a few years ago, and the ro

        • by Ezza ( 413609 )


          (I live in Australia)

    • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:16PM (#47416209) Homepage Journal

      as soon as you get out of the shade of the equipment cabinet, it's dead, Jim. yeah, that'll work. dig up the shrubs to put a 2 cubic meter cabinet and power stand next to the house. oh, yeah, I'm going to pester the phone company for this now.

      plus 106+ MHz impacts aviation radio with interference. if the cabinet blocking your dryer vent doesn't get you, the 737 in your living room will.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Also heavily dependent on the quality of your line, not just the length. If it is old and crappy, gets damp every time it rains and is only holding on by a thread this isn't going to help you convince the phone company to replace it for you. I don't know if the US is any better but in the UK British Telecom will just tell you it works for voice so sod off.

  • That is going to barely make it from the pole to the house. Tack on how much the gear will cost and this is cheaper than pulling fiber? Pull the fiber and be done with it 2 strands of single mode from the 70's would still get me any speed available today, sure it might need C/DWDM to do it but it's doable with standard gear.

    • Re:30m (Score:5, Informative)

      by Shatrat ( 855151 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:46AM (#47415881)

      This is a good way to get high speeds into multi-tenant buildings. You bring fiber into the wire closet and then run this over the existing copper to the offices, apartments, suites throughout the building.

      • Re:30m (Score:4, Informative)

        by silas_moeckel ( 234313 ) <[silas] [at] []> on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:57AM (#47415991) Homepage

        30m is pretty short run, 10ge will do 100m over 6a or 7. For office buildings it's normally pretty easy to get new cable in place not so much with apartment complexes.

        • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

          The other concern is, what if only 1 or 2 tenants in the 10 story office building are interested in anything higher than 50mb/s service. Why run fiber through the whole building for those two customers, when you can just upgrade your equipment in the wire closet and be done in an afternoon?

          • Your 10 story office building would be out of reach of this, 3.9m is your average commercial building floor to floor distance and I've yet to see one with the primary dmarc in the middle floor :)

            In the case of only 1 or 2 clients pulling only one or two pairs might be the correct thing.

          • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
            Because you don't want to be sending someone to the same apartment every month, each time someone wants to upgrade. Why would I want to buy 1lb of peanuts for $3 when I can purchase 2oz for $1? It's not like I'm going to eat a pound of peanuts right now.

            You need to think further out than the immediate if you want to make good long term decisions.
      • Re:30m (Score:4, Informative)

        by NJRoadfan ( 1254248 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:04PM (#47416067)
        Verizon does exactly that with FiOS in some MDU installs. They run fiber to the wire closet, and the runs to the units are VDSL2.
        • maybe some, but they ran fiber right to my room in a 100 person apt building in NYC in about 2010.

        • They run fiber to the wire closet, and the runs to the units are VDSL2.

          Obligatory "me too", via Saunalahti/Elisa @ .fi for a couple of years now.

    • Yeah, not counting the existing line length inside the walls too. How just how do they plan on powering the fiber-to-POTS line converters? I'm guessing the fiber transceiver feeds off voltage from the existing POTS line running in parallel to box out in the easement someplace?

    • Details like that are only important to the ISP if they actually intend to deliver the advertised speed.

    • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

      You don't even need two strands. A single strand and a BX GBIC (different wavelengths up and down over the same fibre) will see you good for 100Mbps, 1Gbps or 10Gbps depending on how much you want to spend on your optics. You can get 40km and 80km versions of all three as well.

      Given the big cost in fibre is splicing and termination, halving the number of strands is going to make a big dint in the role out cost. There is a slight cost premium for BX GBIC's at the moment but I am sure if you made telco sized

      • I would love to see a passive fiber network that is run by the muni that allows cdwm from central meet me rooms (aka the old telco CO). BX optics are nice, but would rather have optics with different send and receive wavelengths without the built in cdwm splitter/combiner so you can have multiple providers reusing the same fiber.

        • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
          In most fiber roll outs, the cdwm splitters/combiners are back at the CO behind a patch panel. The actual fiber from the customer to the CO is unshared. Google fiber is a bit different, they have dedicated back to the "fiber hut", which acts as an aggregation point.
          • As we have seen with the last few years of hurricane season, putting the fiber huts etc while cheaper is a logistics nightmare in an emergency. The move to put everything on a pole is simply about getting things cheaper. In a rural setting sure but not within 20 or so cable miles of the CO.

  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:39AM (#47415837)

    The rest of us still do local caching proxies and QoS hackery to make the most of our 2-3 Mbps.

    • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

      This is the future of DSL land. Every year the twisted-pair based providers build more fiber extending their DSL aggregation modules closer to the customer. Eventually they will all become FTTH providers, but somewhere in-between they are high speed DSL over short copper lines that go to a DSLAM at the end of the street.

      • Interestingly, we don't know if the speed is synchronous.

        Perhaps the upload is .6Mbps?

        • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

          Synchronous != Symmetrical. The article does mention that the XG-FAST technology is symmetrical, although the service provided by the Telco probably would not be.

      • You'd think that's some kind of manifest destiny, but where I live the telco (VZ) has already stated that the fiber rollout is over with. They population density doesn't warrant the investment of the equipment needed to extend the fiber.

        • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

          It's true a lot of FTTH early adopters didn't find the business model as attractive as they thought. But every year the price of the FTTH PON equipent comes down, and the price of ADSL and copper is going up.
          It's inevitable that we will all have FTTH at some point. It's debatable whether the existing ILEC will survive long enough to build all the way to the home, but I think the healthier ones will.

          • That's not the case at all. There is only 1 FTTH adopter in the area - Verizon, and they're never going anywhere. It's not a question of an attractive business model, it's a matter of basic math - they've stretched the fiber as long as it will pay for, and no further. ILECs want out of the copper business altogether, that's why they're rolling (capped) 4G "Broadband" as an alternative.

    • The DSL provider in my area (Anchorage AK) is so ass backwards that there are large pockets of the city where you can't get more than around 792k.
    • Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. No seriously, I'm with you on the 3mbps/sec DSL situation and am wondering what software/hardware you use for this. I see this as being quite handy on Patch Tuesday and similar. I have half-ideas as to how to make it work, but I'm interested to hear about your tried-and-true setup.

      • Cache your DNS.
        Queue and deliver your own email - throttled, of course.
        Force everything through a squid proxy for a couple of reasons - first, see what your PCs are doing w/o any user interaction, I found it interesting how many google and microsoft websites things randomly hit. Block them all in squid to save bandwidth. Bandwidth throttle in squid, if you do it right you can make it subnet, IP, time-of-day specific, whatever you want. Caching Microsoft stuff can be tricky, there's a lot of articles ou

  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:43AM (#47415865)

    Because you know they upgrade their networks right away

    • by ogdenk ( 712300 )

      Nah, they'll do their best to bury this tech so they can justify giving their pet video streaming services priority and throttling others in the name of fighting network congestion even though their network was largely built with public funds.

    • Exactly! How else could they charge for a fast lane if the connection is horrendously slow?
    • They will but none of their customers will.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:51AM (#47415935) Journal
    Even in areas where all the cabling is buried(which definitely isn't all of them) how much do you save by putting some fancy and expensive widget within a couple hundred meters of every customer's location? Aside from the joys of managing a zillion touchy network devices out on the poles in all winds and weathers, you'd better hope that there's no secondary market for such gear or people will be harvesting them faster than you can install them...
    • If you can connect a hundred meters, in many neighborhoods you may be able to connect a dozen homes to one box. From there, it would be fiber. Laying fiber along a right of way is quite a lot easier and cheaper than dealing with individual homeowners and trenching in yards under driveways, fences, etc.

      Any opportunity for competition to cable is welcome, so I hope they can get this or similar tech to market. Sounds like they've got a way to go.
      • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
        For the same price of one of those boxes that can supply "dozens" of houses with 1gb DSL, you could get a fiber box that supports thousands of houses with 1gb/1gb fiber, uses less power, and is all located in the CO, instead of out in the field.

        My ISP went from 7 racks of DSL equipment in the CO plus cabinets in the field to 1/2 rack of fiber equipment with NOTHING in the field.
        • Nobody will dispute that fiber to the house is best. The question is what costs less to build out quickly? Boxes connected to existing copper, or fiber installation through each yard.
    • The obvious usage, in my eyes, would be multi-tenant buildings. Stuff like office space or even apartment and condo buildings. That's a very big chunk of potential customers, considering it's where the majority of housing growth seems to be heading.
    • BT tried this in the UK. Retrospectively, they found that it would have pretty much cost the same to lay fibre to everyone's door as it would be to maintain their fibre to the cabinet system. 80Mbit/s is what you can get at the maximum. I live about 300m down the road from the nearest phone cabinets I've seen and I get about 60Mb/s
  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:53AM (#47415945) Homepage Journal

    Or are we going to have to put up with an idiotically asynchronous connection like we already do with DSL (768K) now?

    • by no_go ( 96797 )

      Or are we going to have to put up with an idiotically asynchronous connection like we already do with DSL (768K) now?

      You probably mean Asymmetric.

      I would think consumer and small business Internet access will keep on being asymmetric for the most part, whatever the technology.
      Most users on those markets are consumers and not producers of data, which means more downloads than uploads.

      Combine that with bandwidth being ALWAY scarce, you will have Engineers , network architects, product managers
      and management designing their products taking that into account.

      The market need for a symmetrical or a reverse ratio of uploads to d

      • I'm not aware of asymetric Ethernet standard, for instance. Fiber to the home is basically last mile Ethernet, and in some markets where residential ISP just sell DSL service without bothering to limit speeds (and where caps are unheard of) you are really able to get a symmetric connection. Other providers may artifically limit the connection to an asymmetrical one like 100/10, 100/30 or 100/50.

  • Why not use Gbps? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alzoron ( 210577 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:09PM (#47416117) Journal

    Other than just wanting to sound super awesome is there any reason why they aren't using Gbps instead of Mbps? It's sort of like saying a new car has a top speed of a bazillion picometers per second.

    • Probably because internet speeds are still largely measured Mbps. For anyone who's not familiar with data speeds, sticking to that measurement gives them an idea of exactly how much extra speed they're talking about.
    • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

      Maybe to disambiguate from 10GigE, which is a different beast altogether from 10G over unshielded telco twisted pairs.

  • At this point, I can't even use the speeds that the ISP claims to provide because all of the content sources that I attempt to use can't seem to saturate my existing bandwidth. This is especially noticeable with video streaming services which seem to be unable to keep up despite the fact that the advertised bandwidth of my connection far exceeds the required bandwidth of the video. I get more stuttering videos now than I did in 1998 despite the fact that I have 2,000 times more bandwidth now than I did th
    • The difference is not internet service, but "cable TV". If you can employ an existing infrastructure to deliver TV channel packages, then there is finally a path for competition in many places where coaxial has it locked up.
    • Either your internet speed is much faster than most other areas (like fiber or something), or you're getting your Mbps mixed up with MBps. I deal with this a lot, where someone will complain about only being able to download at 2MBps when they're paying for 20Mbps or whatever, and wondering where the other 18 went. Also, the main reason you probably had better experience 15 years ago is just due to how buffering has changed. Back in 1998, things had to be heavily buffered, so when you did get to start a
  • I thought I read somewhere that it was 10,000,000 kbps, or was it 10gbps?

  • Metric conversion for those who prefer simpler numbers.

    Oh, and that's a furload of Libraries of Congress per time period.

  • Does a balcony count?

  • Technologically exciting, realistically irrelevant. It has become abundantly clear that the telcos do not want to upgrade their networks no matter how much the cost of doing so drops.
  • Range too short, higher frequency and therefore more sensitive to interference, and I doubt that is symmetrical (upload speed might be ridiculously low). Simply take the fiber to the home (FTTH) and period.
  • .. there's shit tons of fiber where I live, only it's under the streets but doesn't reach premises. No incentive or obligation to hook it up to cramped four-story 19th century buildings, where most of the flats are rented.
    Simply put no one will pay for doing whatever complicated digging and stuff to do in the building just so I can upgrade speed. And oh, you often have a succession of building less than five meter wide, in a one-way street.

    Regular DSL speed is high. VDSL is perfectly useless : needs to be l

  • The 10GBASE-T IEEE 802.3an standard supports 10Gbps Ethernet up to 100 meters over shielded CAT6 or 55m over unshielded CAT6 twisted pair.

  • by wiggles ( 30088 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:58PM (#47416625)

    The much better Ars Technica summary article [] says that yes, 30m for 10Gbps, but 1Gbps over 70m. Gigabit DSL would be a game changer.

    • Still not enough. As other readers wrote, the quality of existing phone lines varies between questionable and mediocre, and most users will not live in a radius of 70 meters from the distribution point. It is already difficult to operate a 15Mbps ADSL, then imagine 1Gbps.
  • Why we are now measuring thing in units we never use, bits, is pretty beyond me.

    We use bytes, K bytes, M bytes, G bytes and T bytes.

    Using bits with a lower case b is a byte / 8 and can be useless and misleading to the average viewer.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Pssst the basic unit for information is actually the bit. Byte is just a shorthand for 8 bit.

    • Network speeds are always properly measured in bits.
  • The last mile of copper in the US is in an abysmal state. Telcos like Verizon are laying their fiber network and abandoning their low-cost copper network.

    In Princeton, NJ we can barely make reliable, noise-free, voice calls over copper. T1s over copper are similarly disappointing.

    I doubt pushing even higher speed data over this terrible infrastructure will result in a satisfactory experience - and the minute you need to replace a cable, why not lay fiber?

  • I can't even get fast speeds on dial-up since they connect from 24000-31200 even on 56k modems. :( Also, no DSL because COs are too far (over 20K ft.). :(

  • ATT: But no one asks for faster speeds...
  • Could swear 4 wires can carry Ethernet

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes it can! But only 100Mbit Ethernet. 1000Mbit (gigabit) Requires all 8 pairs. An old trick (one loathed by a lot of technicians charged with upgrading existing installations to gigabit) is to use a single cat5 cable for two 100Mbit Ethernet drops by only using 4 pairs per port.

  • wow, too bad the exchange box is a mile down the road

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