April 20, 2015

The 5th Generation Broadband Copper Access

  • Bastos Moraes Rodrigo
  • Coomans W.
  • Hooghe K.
  • Maes J.

Since the advent of the world wide web in 1989, telecommunications providers have evolved from providing plain old telephone service (POTS) over a copper loop plant to providing fully digital broadband access over hybrid fiber-copper networks at rates that have increased by six orders of magnitude, from 10 kbit/s in the 1980s to 10 Gbit/s today. This feat was achieved by gradually bringing optical fiber closer to the consumer, combined with successive generations of Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology tailored to the increasingly shorter copper loops. The latest generation of DSL technology (dubbed XG-FAST and demonstrated by the authors in 2014) aims to bring the fiber so close to the customer that only a few tens of meter of copper remain. The locations where the optical fiber transitions to copper would hence be of ubiquitous and highly distributed nature, which opens up new opportunities for this fifth generation of copper broadband access that will be highlighted in this paper.

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