Alcatel-Lucent on Wednesday claimed a new broadband speed record of 10 Gbps using traditional copper lines.
The vendor's Bell Labs division has unveiled a new technology it is calling XG-Fast. Similarly to G.fast, which is on the verge of being standardised by the ITU, XG-Fast significantly increases the frequency range used to transmit data. While G.fast uses a range of 106 MHz and reaches speeds of up to 500 Mbps, XG-Fast uses up to 500 MHz and can reach substantially higher speeds.
In a test using standard copper cable provided by an unnamed European operator, Bell Labs used XG-Fast to achieve 1 Gbps symmetrical speeds over a distance of 70 metres on a single copper pair using a 350 MHz frequency range. When it used a bonded copper pair and upped the frequency range to 500 MHz, Bell Labs achieved 10 Gbps, albeit over a distance of just 30 metres.
Indeed, as with all copper broadband technologies, attenuation is a big issue. The speed of G.fast tails off at distances over 100 metres. However, the speed of XG-Fast drops after 70 metres.
Nevertheless, the company said it demonstrates how operators could one day deliver gigabit broadband services without having to deploy fibre all the way to the premises.
"By pushing broadband technology to its limits, operators can determine how they could deliver gigabit services over their existing networks, ensuring the availability of ultra-broadband access as widely and as economically as possible," said Marcus Weldon, president of Bell Labs, in a statement.
"XG-FAST can help operators accelerate FTTH deployments, taking fibre very close to customers without the major expense and delays associated with entering every home," added Federico Guillén, president of Alcatel-Lucent's fixed networks business. "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."