Alcatel-Lucent’s G.fast Vectoring Trial Wins Telecoms.com Award for Groundbreaking Technological Achievement in Fixed Ultra-Broadband

April 04, 2014

Alcatel-Lucent and Telekom Austria’s joint trial of a G.fast vectoring innovation has been recognized for “Pushing the limits of fixed communications” at the Telecoms.com Awards 2014 in Barcelona on 24 February.Graphic image badge for Telecoms.com Awards 2014 winner

  • The Telecoms.com Awards honor industry excellence for advances in network technology and services, front-line innovations in customer service, enterprise cloud offerings, and the use of green technology.
  • The “Pushing the limits of fixed communications” category recognizes service providers and vendors that have made a significant, ground-breaking technological achievement that pushes the boundaries of network functionality and affords a glimpse of future mass market improvements.

Consumers want more capacity and faster speeds as connected devices in the home become more prolific and people increase their use of high-bandwidth services like video-on-demand and online gaming..

To meet this growing demand, service providers want to find the most effective evolution path for ultra-broadband access.

Geert Heyninck, General Manager of Alcatel-Lucent’s Fixed Networks Broadband Access business, explained: “A few years ago, fiber-to-the-home was considered the only option for providing fixed ultra-broadband. However, it’s costly and very time-consuming to deploy. So while FTTH is still the ultimate end-goal, the industry now recognizes that new copper technologies such as VDSL2 vectoring and G.fast vectoring are going to be extremely important to fill the gaps where fiber cannot be deployed quickly or economically.” 

G.fast, the technology recognized by this award, allows operators to use existing copper access infrastructure to bring fiber-like internet access to millions of people where FTTH is not an option physically, financially, or aesthetically.

G.fast uses a wider frequency band than current VDSL2 technologies and enables faster speeds over shorter distances – typically up to 500 megabits-per-second (Mbps) over 100 meters, or even up to 1 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) for short in-building connections.

However, as with VDSL2, G.fast works over twisted copper pairs that are susceptible to cross-talk interference. Where 2 or more copper lines are in close proximity – which is the majority of real-world deployment scenarios – cross-talk between lines severely hinders speeds.

Faced with this challenge, Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs developed a new vectoring technology to work specifically with G.fast.

This was no mean feat: G.fast has a significantly higher frequency range than VDSL2, which makes the interference a lot more complex. So G.fast vectoring needs to measure, calculate, and correct many more instances of cross-talk.  

In the world’s first trial of vectoring for G.fast, which we conducted with Telekom Austria and announced publicly in July 2013, we demonstrated:

  • On older unshielded cables, typical of most in-building cabling in Austria, G.fast achieved speeds of 500 Mbps over 100 meters on a single line. However, when a second line was introduced, creating cross-talk between the 2 lines, the G.fast speed fell to only 60 Mbps.
  • Alcatel-Lucent’s vectoring for G.fast was then enabled. This removed the cross-talk and brought the speed back up to 500 Mbps.

These speeds mark a huge improvement over widely deployed DSL networks, which typically offer speeds of 5 to 30 Mbps, and over VDSL2 vectoring networks supporting up to 100 Mbps. Fiber-to-the-home services typically range from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps.

G.fast solutions are expected to become commercially available in 2015 with vectoring for G.fast likely to follow a year later.

Many operators are already looking at G.fast, however, and it is expected to play an important role in many ultra-broadband deployments to complement VDSL2 vectoring and FTTH roll-outs.