G.fast, a new broadband standard and fibre alternative has been awarded first stage approval by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Hardware companies can now take on G.fast chip designs revealed by the ITU and finalise equipment specifications to support the new standard. They are also asked to feed “results of this work into ITU-T Study Group 15 in the interests of finalizing G.fast as early as April 2014,” according to the press release.
The new broadband technology claims to achieve download speeds of up to 1Gbps over copper telephone wires which are common in most homes. This would benefit the large amount of copper based phone networks, which are the majority of connections still out there despite the hype about fibre broadband. With increasing data intensity from cloud applications and Ultra HD offering up to 8K streaming, the humble copper cable, originally designed to carry voice calls, is struggling to cope with the amount of data going in and out of homes. Even the latest version of DSL- VDSL2, can’t cope with the task for many connected households. The alternative method of creating trunks with fibre is simple, but extending fibre cables to every home has proven to have many problems including issues mostly relating to implementing in brown fields with slow roll-outs, cost of labour, scattered population and issues with home fibre wiring. It simply uses far too many resources.
G.fast came as a result of engineers focusing on developing fibre-like throughput on copper cables back in 2010. The throughput is increased to operate at a much higher frequency than DSL and companies such as Sckipio have been working to incorporate G.fast into its hardware enabling an easy way for users to install it whilst still being backwards compatible allowing them to hold onto the DSL standard. Also in the UK BT has been trialling a G.fast service working alongside Huawei before the spec was approved by the ITU.
“G.fast provides the speed of fibre with the ease of installation of ADSL2. The solution is as compelling to consumers as it is to service providers, coexisting with VDSL2 and complementing FTTH,” said Les Brown, Associate Rapporteur of the G.fast Experts Group. But it is still unclear as to how soon the new G.fast will become available for customers but some hardware makers have hinted that it might be as soon as 2015 for some markets.