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DSL To Match Gigabit Speeds…Sometime In The Future

Think that DSL is dead now that fiber optic broadband is on the way to becoming mainstream? Think again. Apparently, researchers over at Nokia Siemens have developed a new system that is supposedly capable of boosting DSL speeds at levels close to gigabit-levels. Now, the only question is how many of us will still be around by the time the new system is suitable for mainstream deployment.

Read on to catch a glimpse of what the future of DSL has in store.

Is that ADSL connection of yours driving you up the wall due to its much slower speed when compared alongside the likes fiber optic broadband? If so, it appears that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel for ADSL users.

Apparently, Nokia Siemens has claimed to have discovered a method in which it can add additional channels without having to tamper with the number of wires present in the current telephone cables. This method, which is known to many as ‘phantom DSL’, works by implementing a ‘virtual channel’ in existing cables through the addition of an extra signal layer over standard DSL frequencies.

It is also worth nothing that Nokia Siemens is not the only company which is currently researching on the possibilities and implementations of ‘phantom DSL’. Six months back, Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs announced its own implementation of phantom DSL which claims to be capable of maintaining speeds of 100mbps within the one-kilometre boundary, while much shorter distances saw speeds boosted at up to 300mbps.

Nokia Siemens’ implementation however, takes the cake where raw speed in concerned. Unlike the latter’s maximum speed of 300mbps, Nokia Siemens claims that their implementation of phantom DSL is capable of attaining speeds of over 800 meters at short distances, although it did not provide any figures for bandwidth at much greater distances. In theory, this will allow DSL connections to attain near gigabit speeds, which puts it remarkably close to the numbers touted by fiber optic broadband providers.

But does this mean that we will soon be seeing phantom DSL being implemented for use by consumers and businesses? Sadly, it does not appear to be the case. Granted, the speed boosts which phantom DSL is capable of achieving is impressive, but it comes at a cost. On the service providers’ end, new hardware capable of supporting its implementation needs to be installed, while end users will also have to fork out the cost (or rental) of a new DSL modem which is compatible with the phantom DSL technology. And the cost involved in establishing a phantom DSL-compatible infrastructure may be significant enough to deter both ISP and end-users from investing into it, unless a public or government body is willing to step in and sponsor such a project with public money.

And even if the government was willing to sponsor such a project, there is one last issue which effectively grounds any plans for the building of such an infrastructure. To date, phantom DSL technology is still very much in the ‘testing and demonstration’ phase of development, and is definitely not ready for prime-time deployment any time soon. So while DSL technology may have the potential to reach near gigabit speeds some time in the future, consumers like us probably should not waste our time waiting for it.

In the meantime, we will probably just be contented with paying for higher quality telephone cables and playing with filters to eke out some modest performance gains from our DSL connections.

Source: Ars Technica

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