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Terabit DSL Possible, Vendor Claims

DSL data rates can theoretically hit the terabit-per-second range via the use of high-frequency sub-millimeter wave technology at 100 meter lengths via “ordinary twisted pair phone wire,” broadband vendor Assia claims in study that was presented this week in tandem with the Summit in Paris.

Using similar techniques in millimeter wave bands that will play a big role in 5G deployments, speeds of 100 Gbps can also be achieved over 300 meters and speeds of 10 Gbps can be hit at distances over 500 meters via copper lines, Dr. John Cioffi, chairman and CEO of Assia and Emeritus Professor at Stanford, explained during his keynote at the event (his presentation is posted here).

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“Fiber-like speeds of 10 – 1000’s of gigabits/second (Gbps) are possible by using the previously unexploited waveguide modes of current copper infrastructure,” Cioffi said, in a statement. “Waveguide-mode use is similar to use of millimeter-wave transmissions in advanced wireless and 5G. Waveguides can enable use of frequencies above 100 GHz for extraordinary speeds.”

Cioffi presented his proposal at an event dedicated to, a new standard designed to bring gigabit-class speeds to DSL networks.

While today’s fastest systems use about 200 MHz of capacity, wireless uses 25 times as much spectrum, he noted.

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Cioffi conceded that homes won’t need terabit-level speeds anytime soon, but held that such speeds would be valuable to data centers that are run by telcos as well as companies such as Google and Microsoft.  He also said 5G small cells will also require massive backhaul.

“Fiber is and always will be expensive to deploy. There are a billion phone lines around the world which will now be able to deliver fiber-like speeds over existing copper infrastructure.  Using the existing wires in place can dramatically reduce the cost of 5G networks,” he said.