Many customers struggle with broadband speeds of a few megabits per second, but Nokia claims that it has demonstrated the feasibility of 10Gbps symmetrical data speeds over traditional hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) cable networks, such as those operated by Virgin Media in the UK.
The prototype technology, called XG-Cable, is still considered to be at the proof-of-concept stage, according to Nokia, but should easily integrate into the DOCSIS 3.1 suite of specifications focused on providing cable operators with technology innovations to transform the industry.
DOCSIS is the set of standards governing data access over cable TV networks, and DOCSIS 3.1 was designed to enable capacities of 10Gbps downstream, but only 1Gbps upstream. Nokia has taken this a step further by demonstrating that symmetrical speeds of 10Gbps are possible.
The technology is still at an early stage of development and no in-service date has been even floated by Nokia, but the test by Nokia Bell Labs has apparently demonstrated that the technology is viable using existing HFC cable networks, where fibre-optic cable is used to connect to cabinets on the street and coaxial copper cable lines are used for last-leg distribution to the customer premises.
XG-Cable means that cable operators will at some point in the future be able to use existing HFC cables in the last 200 metres to provide upstream speeds never before achievable owing to the limited spectrum available, according to Nokia.
This will enable the provision of ultra-fast broadband services to consumer locations that were not physically or economically viable unless fibre was brought all the way to the premises.
"The XG-Cable proof-of-concept is a great example of our ongoing effort and commitment to provide the cable industry with the latest innovations and technology needed to effectively address the growing demand for gigabit services," said Federico Guillén, president of fixed networks at Nokia.
"The proof-of-concept demonstrates that providing 10Gbps symmetrical services over HFC networks is a real possibility for operators. It is an important achievement that will define the future capabilities and ultra-broadband services cable providers are able to deliver."
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