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Alcatel-Lucent claims broadband speed record of 10 Gbps using existing copper infrastructure

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Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) continues to wring more life out of dying copper infrastructure, this time claiming to have hit a new broadband speed record of 10 Gbps using traditional copper telephone lines and prototype technology in Bell Labs tests.

The results, which were achieved over 30 meters bonding two pairs of lines of standard copper supplied by a European operator, demonstrate how existing networks can be used to deliver 1 Gbps symmetrical ultra-broadband access services, ALU said in a press release.

The company used prototype XG-FAST technology--an extension of G.fast--to deliver "a major breakthrough for copper broadband" that will let "operators provide Internet connection speeds that are indistinguishable from fiber-to-the-home services."

"Our constant aim is to push the limits of what is possible to 'invent the future' with breakthroughs that are 10 times faster than are possible today," Marcus Weldon, president of Bell Labs, said in the press release. "Our demonstration of 10 Gbps over copper is a prime example: by pushing broadband technology to its limits, operators can determine how they could deliver gigabit services over their existing networks, ensuring the availability of ultra broadband access as widely and as economically as possible."

Wringing more bandwidth from copper is essential for telcos that face both financial and structural hurdles in replacing existing infrastructure with fiber at the same time the cable industry continues to use its DOCSIS 3.1 specification to jack up speeds over hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks.

G.fast, which is closer to market with a likely release date in 2015, uses a 106 MHz frequency range for data transmissions that have been shown to deliver 500 Gbps over 100 meters. CG-FAST, ALU said, uses an increased frequency range up to 500 MHz to achieve 1 Gbps symmetrical speeds over 70 meters on a single copper pair.

"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," said Frederico Guillen, president of ALU's Fixed Network business, in the press release. "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 service."

Coincidentally, faster speeds over copper would help telecom providers stay within the bounds of new FCC definitions of broadband that could require speeds up to 25 Mbps downstream.

For more:
- see this Alcatel-Lucent press release
- Multichannel News has this story

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