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Bell Labs claims new speed record for regular old copper wiring

10Gbps speed reached using experimental new protocol.

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Most of the higher-speed Internet connections used by businesses these days require fiber-optic cabling, but Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs division claimed this week to have reached 10Gbps using nothing but new transmission technology and ordinary copper wiring.

The technology, called XG-FAST, is an outgrowth of a standard undergoing final review at the International Telecommunications Union, called G.fast. The G.fast specification calls for the use of a wide spectrum range of 106MHz far larger than that used by existing DSL technology. Effectively, G.fast can send or receive data much faster than conventional DSL, though it can only do so over comparatively short distances, around 100 meters.

XG-FAST takes the concept and runs with it, using fully 500MHz of spectrum range, further increasing transmission speed and limiting usable distance. Bell Labs said in a statement that the 10Gbps mark was reached using two pairs of copper cable lines, over a distance of just 30 meters. A further experiment using a single copper pair, achieved 1Gbps speeds over 70 meters.

The idea, according to Bell Labs, is to use the technology as a last-few-feet connection.

"It will enable operators to provide Internet connection speeds that are indistinguishable from fiber-to-the-home services, a major business benefit in locations where it is not physically, economically or aesthetically viable to lay new fiber cables all the way into residences," the statement said.

Federico Guillén, president of Alcatel-Lucent's fixed network business, said that the result opens up new possibilities for service providers.

"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."

The previous claim for world record speed over copper appears to be from Nokia Siemens Networks, which posted a mark of 825Mbps in 2010.



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