by Anton Shilov
12/12/2013 | 10:58 PM
ITU members have reached first-stage approval of G.fast, the new ITU broadband standard capable of achieving access speeds of up to 1Gb/s over existing telephone wires. Within 250-metre range of a distribution point, G.fast’s fibre-like speeds give service providers a tool to supplement and further monetize fibre to the home (FTTH) strategies with the customer self-installation benefits of ADSL2.
“G.fast’s development has followed an intensive work plan, meeting ambitious time-to-market objectives. The standard will enable service providers to deliver fibre-like performance more quickly and more affordably than with any other approach,” said Tom Starr, chairman of the expert group overseeing ITU-T standardization of access solutions.
G.fast, within the fibre to the distribution point (FTTdp) architecture, combines the best aspects of fibre and ADSL2. Consumers will have an over-the-counter solution, self-installed without a technician’s assistance, but equipped to support bandwidth-intensive services such as Ultra-HD 4K or 8K streaming and IPTV, advanced cloud-based storage, and communication via HD video. The physical-layer protocol aspects of G.fast defined by recommendation ITU-T G.9701 have reached the point of stability required to initiate the standard’s approval procedure. Chip manufacturers will now scale-up G.fast chip design and testing efforts, feeding results of this work into ITU-T Study Group 15 in the interests of finalizing G.fast as early as April 2014.
“From ADSL in 1999 to G.fast in 2014, ITU-standardized DSL solutions have multiplied access speeds by a factor of 125 over the past 15 years. It is to the credit of ITU’s membership and the dedication of engineers working in our study groups that ITU standards continue to maximize returns on investment in legacy ICT infrastructure,” said Hamadoun I. Touré, secretary-general at ITU.
ITU-T G.9701 is on track to achieving final approval in conjunction with ITU-T G.9700, which specifies methods to ensure that G.fast equipment will not interfere with broadcast services such as FM radio.
The G.fast project has attracted active participation from a large number of leading service providers, chip manufacturers, and system vendors. Companies involved in its development have already confirmed the standard’s gigabit-per-second capability through lab and field trials using prototype equipment based on mature drafts of the standard.
Service providers will benefit from ‘zero touch’ operations, administration and management; easing migrations to G.fast and increasing the speed of new-service rollouts. G.fast is designed to coexist with VDSL2, enabling service providers to play to the strengths of each standard in different environments; switching customers between G.fast and VDSL2 in line with dynamic business models. The standard will complement FTTH strategies, serving the many scenarios where G.fast is more cost-efficient than FTTH.
The development of the G.fast standard has been coordinated with Broadband Forum’s system architecture project, Fibre to the Distribution Point (FTTdp). Broadband Forum has begun developing a testing suite for G.fast systems, which will include test plans for interoperability events, system performance and functional testing; alongside a framework whitepaper, and possibly also a certification programme. ITU-T and Broadband Forum have been working in close collaboration to ensure that G.fast solutions can be quickly placed into FTTdp deployments.