Broadband component manufacturer Sckipio Technologies hopes its new chip announced today will help telcos better compete with cable companies by enabling G.fast bandwidth to be dynamically allocated between the upstream and downstream paths.
G.fast technology originally was developed to support high bandwidth over short copper loops. But as Sckipio Vice President of Marketing Michael Weissman explained in an interview with Telecompetitor, developers have continued to improve G.fast performance. Aggregate upstream and downstream speeds of 150 Mbps over 500 meters of traditional phone wiring are already feasible—and the aggregate speed rises to the 300 Mbps range when distance is decreased to 300 meters, Weissman said. The ratio of downstream to upstream bandwidth can be set by the carrier.
The chip announced today “allows you to use available capacity up or down dynamically,” he said. That means G.fast bandwidth can essentially be doubled by temporarily allocating it in a single direction, he explained. And that’s a capability the cable companies can’t match.
“For the first time in a long time, telcos will have a competitive advantage in speed in a way they haven’t had,” Weissman said.
Dynamic bandwidth allocation is made possible by Sckipio’s use of time domain duplexing (TDD) rather than the traditional approach that allocates different frequencies to upstream and downstream traffic, he said. The ITU is working on a new standard that will incorporate dynamic bandwidth allocation, which will be referred to as dynamic timeslot allocation, or DTA, noted Weissman.
AT&T Coax Plans?
Using coaxial cable in place of traditional phone wiring can provide a further G.fast bandwidth boost, as today’s announcement also notes. It includes a quote from AT&T Assistant Vice President of Technical Design & Architecture Eddy Barker stating that AT&T believes it will be able to offer up to 750 Mbps in both downstream and upstream performance over coax with current G.fast technology. In addition Barker said the carrier expects to double that performance with the next generation of G.fast chipsets.
Why is AT&T discussing coax performance?
Weissman noted that AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV brought with it a coaxial connection from customer rooftops into their homes, including individual units of apartment buildings – and the carrier is considering leveraging that connection to support G.fast.
Easy Upgrades Expected
Sckipio is seeing strong interest in G.fast technology from large and small carriers, Weissman said. He noted that rural carriers are striving to meet Obama administration bandwidth recommendations that call for 3 Mbps upstream – an apparent reference to the Connect America Fund program. That program requires rural carriers in certain situations to deploy broadband supporting speeds of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.
“It’s not the download speeds that . . . are most challenging,” Weissman said. “It’s the upload speeds.” G.fast with DTA capability can overcome those challenges, he said.
What also should have strong appeal is a new approach that Sckipio anticipates equipment manufacturers taking toward network upgrades, Weissman noted. According to Sckipio’s vision, manufacturers will create small form-factor pluggable (SFP) modules that will be complete G.fast modems. Telcos will ship the SFPs to end users, who will be able to plug the SFPs into interfaces in their home gateways that were designed to support GPON. That approach will eliminate the need for the telcos to roll trucks when a customer upgrades to faster broadband service based on G.fast.