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BT trials passive 10Gb XG-PON fibre internet in Cornwall

by Alistair Lowe on 26 November 2012, 09:51

Tags: British Telecom (LON:BT.A)

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With the aid of UK government funding, we've seen fibre internet spread to many areas of the country over the past few years and, whilst there are still many who are wondering when the party's going to come to them, those with fibre may already know that the service they have currently is known as Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC).

PON vs AON

FTTC delivers fibre to a nearby cabinet, where it's then routed and dispatched over copper to the home. This technique raises the initial and running costs of cabinets and, ultimately, will prove to be a speed barrier as internet speeds progress. It's with these facts in mind that BT has begun trials of XG-PON, also known as 10G-PON (10Gbit Passive Optical Network).

XG-PON is what's known as a 'last-mile' service and promises to deliver fibre right up to the house in a cost-effective manner. Fibre cable will need to be laid to the premises, however, instead of an expensive routing box. The technology involves passive splitting of datastreams (half-mirrors and such like) and so no powered and complex routing takes place in the cabinet, paving the way for cheap hardware and cheap upgrades.

This approach does have the trade-off that a single 10Gbit connection will be shared between multiple homes, with end modems tuning into an individual modulation to detect their specific portion of the signal and so, ultimately, the effectiveness of the technology will come down to the number of customers placed on the same line. There are some less obvious advantages, mind you; for example, if a single datastream is sent to multiple homes, this could be carrying IPTV at very little cost to overall bandwidth.

Right now, BT is trialing the new technology with a business customer is Cornwall, where the standard could allow the firm to deliver high-speed, dedicated connections to multiple clients/sites at a fraction of the cost. With BT dedicated internet prices as they currently stand, we certainly hope that the firm passes along any savings and pray that the technology can reach the home sometime in the near future.



HEXUS Forums :: 7 Comments

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Are there any extra security considerations with this approach thou?

Having other endpoints information available on a public network shouldn't be a concern, but again lets be realistic, it could well prove interesting for security researchers and the like to have such casual access.
Fibre is all wonderful and such but how about spending some money on 21CN for the rural exchanges that have been abandoned. I pay £26p/m for bog old ADSL in my village, grr.
rox0r
Fibre is all wonderful and such but how about spending some money on 21CN for the rural exchanges that have been abandoned. I pay £26p/m for bog old ADSL in my village, grr.
Actually this is a bit like the conversation I was having with my parents, it goes a like this.

Parents: We have such poor broadband, and the cost of fuel is sky high.
Me: You pay piss all tax, have tonnes of space, and don't require a tax to drive in to town. Cry me a river.

I guess I'm just saying you pay your money and take your choice. You have the benefits of lower cost accomodation, lower tax etc. Yet I pay the same for broadband despite getting congested speeds due to living on a very crowded exchange.

The irony is my parents now get FTTC and get a much better speed than someone on a central london exchange, because the only other residents of the village are so old they just require enough bandwidth to send their money to a 419 scammer........ *rant*
TheAnimus
Are there any extra security considerations with this approach thou?


I believe the passive solution can actually be made really quite secure. If you're worried about whether it is (rather than can be) secure you should probably be interested in the fact the kit comes from ZTE [nytimes.com]! :D
TheAnimus
Are there any extra security considerations with this approach thou?

Having other endpoints information available on a public network shouldn't be a concern, but again lets be realistic, it could well prove interesting for security researchers and the like to have such casual access.
DOCSIS works similarly, BPI/SEC take care of security.

Out of interest, why do these trials always seem to end up in Cornwall?