New chips will “power the gigabit era of DSL,” Broadcom claims

Broadcom logoBroadcom today unveiled DSL chips that use the new G.fast standard to deliver up to 1Gbps broadband over copper phone lines.

That doesn't mean everyone who has DSL will suddenly get a huge speed upgrade. G.fast, a standard from the International Telecommunication Union, is intended for fiber-and-copper networks in which fiber delivers data close to homes and copper takes it the rest of the way. These networks are cheaper to build than fiber-to-the-home because they reuse existing copper, but thus far they haven't been able to match the gigabit speeds of fiber-only service.

Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs and the British telecom company BT are both testing G.fast, with the latter using Huawei technology. Broadcom is now joining the party with technology it plans to sell to Internet service providers, who would then roll it out to their customers. The chips will power both the back-end technology needed to deliver high speeds as well as home gateway systems for Internet users.

Broadcom said its BCM65200/900 chips offer "the most power-efficient system solution for high-density G.vector DSLAMs as well as new G.fast-based fiber-to-the-distribution point (FTTdp) architectures," and has "full backward-compatibility to existing VDSL and ADSL technologies."

Separately, Broadcom's new BCM63138 chip for DSL gateway devices lets customers receive gigabit-per-second throughput.

There's no word yet on when consumer services using the Broadcom chips will be available. Swisscom is the only telecom mentioned in Broadcom's announcement.

"We will continue to work together to address challenges and unlock the dramatic potential of evolving copper access technologies," Swisscom Product Manager Oliver Lamparter said in the announcement. "As we consider high-density deployments, Swisscom will look to leverage Broadcom's new end-to-end G.fast solution in our near-term G.fast offerings."

The Broadband Forum industry consortium is setting up a lab that will certify G.fast products to ensure that offerings from different vendors are interoperable.

G.fast operates on higher frequencies than existing DSL technology. It is designed to be usable within 250 meters of a fiber node, but the fastest speeds require shorter distances between fiber and homes. BT said last month that it can deliver 786Mbps download speeds over 19 meters of copper and 696Mbps download speeds over 66 meters.

By comparison, AT&T's U-verse fiber-to-the-node service places fiber 600 to 900 meters away from homes and delivers up to 45Mbps.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Broadcom

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