FiOS Test Struts 10-Gig Stuff

Verizon Communications, kicking some sand in cable's face, announced it has successfully tested 10 Gigabit-per-second signals -- both downstream and upstream -- over its existing FiOS fiber-to-the-premises network.

The telco claimed the field trial in Taunton, Mass., was the world's first for XG-PON2, a prestandard fiber-optic transmission technology. "XG-PON" stands for 10-Gigabit passive optical network.

A symmetric 10-Gbps connection far exceeds anything that would be useful on the open Internet today. But Verizon said the test demonstrated the inherent superiority of an all-fiber access network, particularly on the upstream side, noting that 10 Gbps upstream is upwards of 20,000 times faster than 500 Kilobits per second upstream available with some cable broadband services.

"This trial demonstrates the capacity of Verizon's FiOS network to provide even greater upstream bandwidth capabilities required for adoption on a mass scale of new and emerging residential applications like user-generated video, as well as business services," Verizon executive director of technology Brian Whitton said in a statement.

Upstream-hungry applications Whitton cited were HD video sharing, 3D video, video telephony, telemedicine, and off-site backup and storage services.

In May, a Verizon test of Motorola's XG-PON1 system delivered 1.85 Gbps of aggregate bandwidth to two PCs in a home in Taunton, Mass.

According to cable industry experts, coaxial cable has the potential to deliver up to 20 Gbps aggregate throughput.  However, today that's theoretical and would require the development of equipment that could actually deliver those speeds.

Verizon conducted the test at the Elks Lodge in Taunton, Mass. -- an existing Verizon customer -- using an XG-PON2 prototype system developed by Alcatel-Lucent, which provides a GPON system used by FiOS. The optical network terminal (ONT) unit placed at the Elks Lodge location supported up to 10 single Gigabit Ethernet links, as well as one dedicated link capable of delivering the full 10 Gbps symmetric speeds.

Two PCs, each having a 10-Gbps network interface card, communicated across the network between the ONT and the line terminal equipment located in Verizon's switching facility in Taunton.

The test demonstrated an application layer throughput of 9.1 Gbps, upstream and downstream, Verizon said. As part of the test, 2.3-Gigabyte movie took an average of just four seconds to download or upload and save to the computers. An additional test was done to transfer a 6.9-Gigabyte medical image file in 11 seconds.

The 10-Gbps signal was transmitted over the FiOS connection that the Elks Lodge currently uses for its Internet connection and for five FiOS TV connections. According to Verizon, the existing FiOS TV and Internet connections were unaffected by the test, as the GPON and XG-PON2 signals were layered over the same fiber for the trial.

The technology used in the test isn't standardized. Verizon said work by the International Telecommunication Union standard for XG-PON2 technology, including the wavelength plan, will begin only after the XG-PON1 standards are all ratified, which is expected later this year.

A video about the 10-Gig field trial is available here: