Blog Post

DSL, Now Offering Speeds of 700 Mbps

Huawei, the telecom gear maker, today said it has achieved speeds of 700 Mbps over DSL using a prototype shown in Hong Kong: the fastest DSL we’ve seen. Earlier this year, Alcatel-Lucent (s alu) showed off 300 Mbps over DSL that could travel for 400 meters one kilometer, because with copper, it’s not just speed, but how far an ISP could deliver those speeds. Huawei has managed its top speed for 400 meters as well.

The race for faster copper may fly in the face of my own personal desire for a fiber-to-the-home connection, but is necessary because of both the prevalence of existing copper networks around the world and the cost of upgrading all of those networks to fiber. Verizon (s vz) has spent up to $19 billion transitioning to fiber-to-the-home, but it too has halted further expansion to wait for customer demand to keep up. Contrast that with AT&T (s T) strategy of upgrading its copper networks with fiber-to-the node, (where it brings fiber to the equipment in the neighborhood, then uses the existing copper to connect to the home.) I’ve called it the slow road to fast broadband, but it’s certainly less risky and much, much cheaper.

Given that many ISPs are content to use their copper until customers are ready to rip it out of the ground and dig their own fiber trenches, Huawei’s advances are a boon to it and to the end consumer who may well be using DSL for the next several decades at this rate. To reach the 700 Mbps speeds, Huawei is relying on what it calls SuperMIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) technology that uses four twisted pairs to achieve its downstream speeds. This technology addresses crosstalk among multiple twisted pairs and increases DSL bandwidth by 75 percent, from an average of 100 Mbps per twisted pair to approximately 175 Mbps.

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6 Responses to “DSL, Now Offering Speeds of 700 Mbps”

  1. Every house I’ve been in, in the US, has 2 twisted pairs (for two line service, even if most people only get one line).
    Telephone wiring within US houses I believe is always 2 twisted pairs, so this would make sense for a lot of places in the US, where they could do fiber to the neighborhood, and get 300Mbps DSL using the 2 pairs to each house.
    In Europe, on the other hand, I think it’s typically only a single pair…

  2. “Given that many ISPs are content to use their copper until customers are ready to rip it out of the ground and dig their own fiber trenches …”

    One thing to consider here is that in most environments in the U.S., underground copper only has a finite life expectancy, 30 – 40 years in many areas. A lot of those lines are reaching end-of-life and will have to be replaced, usually with more copper.

    Now here’s food for thought: what if the PRC’s that regulate most of the companies in urban areas that own the copper mandated fiber to the home as old failing lines are replaced?

  3. This Huawei technology uses 2 twisted pairs.

    But most homes have just one twisted copper pair coming in (the plain-old Telephone system).

    It sounds like fiber-to-the-node plus Huawei’s 400 meter copper link to the home would require extra copper pairs to be laid down.

    Korea already has glass fiber going directly into homes. Australia is about to lay glass fiber into every home. Both of these are paid for by the national government.

    In the United States, rather than subsidizing the auto industry, the government would be better subsidizing the laying of fiber optic cable into every home. It seems to be the only way to get it done.

    • Kelly that’s true that most in the U.S. only have one twisted pair cable going in and as an upgrade this would likely require an update of the equipment inside the home and at the cabinet. So I doubt we’d see anyone here doing this. However, Huawei has a far more global customer base and it might also be a good solution for fiber to the premise for apartments in places likeKorea or Japan.