Alcatel Lucent Thursday morning announced technology to deliver 10 Gigabits per second via fiber, which astute readers of GigaOM may recall Verizon tested in 2009 and again in 2010. At the time, Verizon talked about holographic TV and splitting the capacity provided among homes, and it may still one day do this, but as Alcatel-Lucent’s Stefaan Vanhastel, director of product marketing told me, this tech is really for wireless backhaul and folks delivering fiber to densely populated buildings. Vanhastel said speeds of 100 Mbps are fine for today’s applications, so we’re not likely to see this hitting our homes, but will instead see it in wireless networks and companies using it for fiber-to-the-cabinet or a fiber-to-the-premise service in apartments.
Essentially, this is for beefing up the back-end of mobile broadband networks, especially as operators add more components, such as picocells in congested areas. The 10 Gbps pipe can be shared between up to 128 connections, making this pretty economical for operators to install and then consolidate as needed. Since Verizon is using its FiOS network for its own backhaul and also leasing out capacity to others, it’s more likely its XG-PON tests will pay off first in its mobile service. Which is more than fine, especially as all those iPhones come online.
We hear a lot about spectrum as a limiting factor of speed and capacity on broadband networks, but backhaul limits the speeds once the data leaves the airwaves to hit the web. For perspective, T-Mobile has said it is currently deploying 20 Mbps backhaul, so even shared 10 Gbps backhaul would be a big leap forward.
Image courtesy of kainet on Flickr
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