Broadband has become a staple in households all over the world and the days of dial up internet are a distant memory. Broadband internet standards are consistently being improved and developed for greater penetration, speed and stability. The latest standard to be approved is called G.fast and it is designed to provide access speeds of up to 1 gigabyte per second. The key point with this standard is that this speed rating can be delivered over existing telephone wires, where typically, this type of service speed would only be able to be delivered over fibre optic networks.
This new G.fast technology is an important development in the broadband space as the debate is no longer about copper versus fibre, since the same fast speeds can be achieved in different ways. Under a G.fast application, all customers will potentially have the opportunity to achieve these speeds whether they are connected via traditional copper wires or fibre optic cables. This is because G.fast uses a fibre to the distribution point (FTTdp) format, allowing it to combine the strengths of both fibre and DSL. Under this architecture, fibre is deployed as close as possible to the customer (to a distribution point) and high speeds can then be delivered into the customer’s premises over their copper line, using the right equipment.
Importantly, G.Fast can only be deployed using interoperable devices and companies such as Alcatel-Lucent are at the forefront of this new standard. They have been working with large telecommunications companies to trial solutions allowing their products to bring in high speeds, provided that the premises are within 250 metres of the fibre periphery point (after which point speeds can start to drop).
These products and technologies ultimately allow the footprint of superfast broadband to be expanded without the need for drastic network infrastructure upgrades, such as full fibre cabling to the home. Alcatel-Lucent has launched their 7368 ISAM residential gateway, which allows users to plug and play to receive high speed internet. Importantly, it supports DSL2 so that customers can continue to enjoy their current broadband service and be ready when operators introduce G.Fast. The fact that these new devices are completely plug-and-play also means that technicians are not required to be called out to customer premises to install and set up the connections. When available, they can simply switch over without requiring any technical assistance or on-premise installation.
This significant improvement in broadband technology will allow the streaming of 4K video and provide an easier and more cost effective way for network operators to deliver high speed broadband to more people, making the prospect of fast internet an even more scalable proposition. The Alcatel-Lucent device even has an integrated reverse power feature, which provides an efficient way to power the growing number of distribution point units that are required for rolling out and deploying this standard. This means that network operators don’t necessarily need to connect their distributions points to the local power grid, saving costs and maintenance.
With the number of connected devices growing exponentially, the demand for high speed broadband throughout the world has never been stronger. This new standard brings with it a significantly easier, more stable and cost effective way to bring high speed internet to more homes with less hassle.
Most large global network operators have been testing the G.Fast service in their respective regions and plan to start rolling it out. The development of new products such as modems and routers will only assist the rollout of the G.Fast network standard and make it easier for consumers to start enjoying the increase in their connection speeds.