G.fast field trial shows both speed and limits

18 March 2017 by Steve Blum

Strictly for short tracks.

British Telecom – aka BT – is offering real world verification of the speed claims made regarding the G.fast standard, which is technology that’s designed to get fast, fiber-like broadband speeds out of copper wires. The results are encouraging and live up to reasonable expectations, if not all the marketing hype surrounding G.fast.

According to a story by Sean Buckley in FierceTelecom, BT has found that G.fast’s field test results reasonably match laboratory predictions…

The provider is seeing great interest from customers and favorable technical results from its G.fast technology pilot deployment.

BT has been conducting G.fast trials with Nokia’s Alcatel-Lucent subsidiary, Adtran, as well as Huawei.

During its trials, BT found it can deliver about 330 Mbps to a home within 300 meters of a remote terminal (RT) cabinet.

“[Among] the first pilot customers the indications are that the performance of the product over the new equipment is pretty much spot on what we had predicted from the labs in the earlier few trials and I am very pleased with that,” Selley said. “I’m very pleased with where we stand right now on G.fast.”

The G.fast standard has gotten a lot of attention because it’s designed to fit as comfortably as possible into legacy copper networks and standard telco provisioning practices. In other words, it offers a degree of hope to both telephone companies and their customers who currently rely on lagging DSL platforms.

It’s not a substitute for fiber, which supports speeds a thousand times faster over distances a hundred times greater, but it’s better than what telcos have now and keeps them in the same ballpark as cable companies. If they adopt G.fast and make the necessary upgrades to their copper systems. Simply slapping the gear onto existing networks would be like dropping a V-8 engine into a go-kart: amusing but any improvement in performance would be short lived indeed.