Bell Labs, part of Alcatel-Lucent have achieved a jaw dropping world record of 10Gbps over a standard copper telephone line. Achieved as part of a research project to investigate the possibility of bringing Gigabit internet to broadband networks that encompass copper lines along with high-speed fibre, Bell Labs were able to maintain the 10Gbps speeds over a distance of 30 metres using two pairs of lines in a bonded connection.
Although the top speed was recorded over a 30 metre stretch of standard telephone cable, past this distance and particularly past 70m, the speed drops down to 1Gbps, however this is still good news as it means that 1Gbps connections in both directions may be possible for broadband users who have FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) type connections.
High speed connections over short runs of copper cables are a common sight these days thanks to the above mentioned FTTC type connections, with speeds in the region of 80Mbps possible depending on your proximity to the nearest cabinet. To go past this level of speed and on to the 1Gbps barrier, Bell had to rethink how data is sent across the copper and this meant using a new DSL standard known as G.fast. Further more Bell Labs have developed an extension of the G.fast standard known as XG-FAST allowing the faster speeds to be obtained over shorter distances – say 10Gbps over 30m.
Following the new record, Federico Guillén, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Fixed Networks gave a statement saying:
“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.”
Simply put, this news means that the prospect of having 1Gbps internet connections without the need for a FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) type connection is on the horizon and in the next few years Google (who currently offer Gigabit Fibre internet in the US) are likely to have a whole lot more competition to deal with. Should we be excited? Simply put yes – especially if you struggle to get high-speed internet right now.