Can DSL deliver 400Mbps over copper to the countryside?
Br0kenTeleph0n3 has been looking for cheap alternatives for rural broadband, given that B4RN is looking at more than £1400 per home for fibre to the home (FTTH).
True, B4RN’s customers are going to receive 1Gbps symmetrical for £30/month, which may well tempt a move up north,. But then more by luck than good judgement we ran across a link to DSL Ring technology, which appears to offer some 400Mbps over copper, i.e. for free, or at least no extra cost, and for a claimed 1% of the cost of FTTH.
The xDSL attenuation problem
It is well worth watching the video, especially for the graph (above) that shows that BT’s 80Mbps VDSL fibre to the cabinet service, to be introduced next year, suffers from severe attenuation problems. This means anyone living more than 1500 metres from the cabinet will get speeds equivalent to a brokeback donkey on Valium.
Also, DSL Rings doesn’t work on the BT network. Not for any technical reason, just that it is not yet approved for local access,
It is a mystery why BT CEO Ian Livingston hasn’t either licensed the technology or bought the company, if only to keep it off the market until it thinks we are capable of handling 400Mbps over the phonelines.
At any rate our curiosity was sufficiently piqued to ask the Canadian inventors, Genesis Technical Systems, a couple of questions, the answers to which are below.
What is the present status of talks to get DSL Rings on to the UK ANFP (access network frequency plan)?
Genesis is a member of the NICC’s DSL Working Group and is submitting a proposal to the Carrier Steering Group to have work on DSL Rings-specific functionality included in the next work item. Work items lead to a new issue of the ANFP. Genesis has participated in drafting version 4i of the ANFP which is currently out for review.
Where in the world is DSL Rings being used in pilots or even commercial applications?
Genesis has done entry lab demonstrations with both an Eastern and a Western European Telco. Genesis is now planning further lab demonstrations and a field trial with a European Telco in the first half of 2012. Genesis anticipates commercialisation in the second half of 2012.
What is the average cost per household of providing up to 400Mbps access?
This is commercially sensitive information which is also highly volume-dependent. However, we estimate that the costs are less than 5% than that of FTTH deployments in urban areas, and less than 1% the cost of FTTH deployment in rural areas.
How well will this work in rural areas, where the distance between houses in often more than 150m?
Genesis’ DSL Rings is an excellent rural solution that provides telcos with a much needed opportunity to provide very low cost ultra-high bandwidth to their rural customers over distances even beyond 7 km from the exchange. The Genesis DSL Rings rural solution is specifically configured for networks with large distances between houses and a distance of more than 150 m does not generally affect its operation. The Genesis DSL Rings solution can provide rural telco customers with greater than 200m, and up-to 400 megabits/sec, over the telco’s existing copper phone lines at less than 1% of the cost of fibre (NB: Actual speeds depend on the availability of telco lines and equipment.)
What was BT’s response?
Genesis is not able to reveal information as to which telecoms in the UK and elsewhere in Western and Eastern Europe it is working with.
Which UK firms have signed up to sell or install DSL Ring technology?
Genesis is not able to reveal this information.
What patents protect the technology?
To-date Genesis has filed five patents covering various aspects of its DSL Rings technology.