Ericsson Says 500mbps Possible On DSL Copper

Telecom giant Ericsson has announced a significant breakthrough in telephony based copper transmission speeds, breaking DSL speed records with sustained rates of over 500mbps through standard copper wiring.

The announcement comes after Eriscsson succeeded in maintaining a sustained data transfer rate of just over 500mbps by using crosstalk canceling technology, and a line length of 500m. Channel bonding technology much like that seen in the DOCSIS 3.0 cable rollouts also helped with the achievement, with six separate lines paired together, along with updated "vectorized" VDSL2 technology.

The current state of already implemented DSL technology however does reveal some very realistic bumps in the road however.  First, a large portion of current DSL subscribers reside at a range beyond 500m from their local exchange.  When it comes to DSL, signal quality and strength degrades significantly with distance. Per Ericsson's tests, the reality is many subscribers would still be outside of the reach of 500mbps speeds.

Additionally, the channel bonding technology used involved six separate lines to reach such high speeds. Considering that most homes currently do not have anywhere near six lines run, significant efforts would have to be made to run new lines from the exchanges to homes interested in the service.

In the end, it is always good to see new ways to improve currently technology.  Many DSL subscribers have simply begun to abandon copper based technology in favor of fiber solutions such as AT&T's U-Verse, and Verizon's FiOS, while Cable continues to improve upon its solutions with advances in the DOCSIS specifications. 

If Ericsson is able to overcome the hurdles facing DSL, then it is entirely possible that copper based DSL technology could find itself with a new lease on life. 

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  • At least the lines stay cool.

    *badum tssh*
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  • U-Verse is not fiber, or at least not completely. It is fiber to the neighborhood box, but from there to your house is still copper wires.

    If they can extend the life of the existing copper infrastructure then great, but if you have to make modifications to the system to improve it, it's better to go ahead and replace it with fiber, as we'll all have to get there eventually anyway.
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  • U-Verse is still a copper solution in many markets (oddly enough, they use VDSL in such cases). They run fiber to a central node, and then copper to your house. In case you didn't know, your Phone and Cable companies use fiber in the exact same way.

    The reason they are still developing DSL solutions is because many markets have only phone lines. In markets where there's no cable or fiber, there's no other options (unless Internet-over-Power ever becomes viable). However, requiring a phone-line setup not present in most cases probably isn't going to help the already under-served markets either.
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