ADTRAN: We have more than 60 G.fast trial customers

If you had any doubts about the potential popularity of G.fast – the technology that promises gigabit speeds over copper – ADTRAN, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN) has given you a reason to look past them. The communications systems provider says that it has engaged in trials of G.fast with more than 60 operators since 2014.

If you had any doubts about the potential popularity of G.fast – the technology that promises gigabit speeds over copper – ADTRAN, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN) has given you a reason to look past them. The communications systems provider says that it has engaged in trials of G.fast with more than 60 operators since 2014.

The company's showcase trial is with BT, for which ADTRAN is one of three equipment vendors that have supplied BT with G.fast technology (Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei are the others; see "BT connects first G.fast trial customers"). The trial is somewhat out of the mainstream for a pair of reasons, ADTRAN sources say. First, rather than test G.fast's performance as an in-building delivery mechanism for fiber to the building (FTTB) scenarios as most trial customers are doing, BT hopes to determine G.fast's suitability as an upgrade for VDSL in the last mile. Second, in line with this first goal, BT is implementing G.fast in a fiber to the cabinet (FTTC) architecture rather than what would be considered a more typical fiber to the distribution point (FTTdp) implementation.

In FTTdp, a distribution point unit is installed at a distance 500 m or less from the customer. The unit performs the conversion from the optical signal that originates at the central office or other broadband services node to an electrical signal for transmission over existing copper-based customer connections. In trials such as the one BT is conducting, the distribution point unit functionality is added to existing DSL cabinets.

"Providing fiber to every home or business in a given community can be a logistical and financial challenge. Rather than relying on fiber for the entire network, G.fast solutions such as ADTRAN's utilize existing copper assets for the last step of the journey. This allows us to provide the ultra-fast broadband that customers demand, while reducing the time and cost of running fiber all the way to the premises," explained Mike Galvin, BT managing director of service, strategy & operations, via an ADTRAN press release.

BT has expressed the hope that it can support downstream speeds of 500 Mbps via G.fast. However, ADTRAN asserts it has developed ways to extend both bandwidth capacity and transmission distance. The company says that it also has successfully implemented the reverse power feature option within the G.fast specifications, through which the distribution point can be powered from the customer premises.

The company says it further differentiates its G.fast offering via the sealed enclosure design of its distribution point units as well as support for software-defined networking (SDN) implementation (see "ADTRAN service orchestration aims for gigabit FTTH service deployment efficiency").

ADTRAN says G.fast has shown success using a variety of transmission media, from outside plant twisted-pair and various Category x enterprise and home copper to coaxial cabling. The company says that 65% of its customers who have trialled the technology plan to use it in some way.

For more information on FTTx equipment and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer's Guide.


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