Ultrafast Access Technologies


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FTTH - G.fast - DOCSIS 3.1: what trade-offs between cost, performance and sustainability

This report provides a state of the art of the different ultrafast Internet access networks available today: 

  • FTTH optical fibre networks; 
  • Upgraded cable networks with coax in the last mile, 
  • Copper twisted pair networks (phone lines).

This state of the art allows for a comparison of the different technologies' technical performance, and to measure the pros and cons of each.
The report gives readers a detailed snapshot of operators' current ultrafast broadband rollouts and future plans, for each class of technology. 
It also delivers concise insights into the main technical, economic and strategic issues surrounding ultrafast access technologies.

Table of Content

1. Executive Summary

2. Methodology and definitions
2.1. General methodology of IDATE reports
2.2. Methodology specific to this report
2.3. Definitions

3. Superfast and ultrafast technologies
3.1. The different technical fixed line solutions capable of supplying a 1 Gbps connection
3.2. Optical fibre
3.2.1. A Fibre to the Home network
3.2.2. The different FTTH network architectures
3.2.3. Connection speeds available with FTTH
3.2.4. Deploying FTTH optical fibre
3.3. Networks with coaxial cable in the last mile
3.3.1. Networks with coaxial cable in the last mile
3.3.2. The DOCSIS standard
3.3.3. DOCSIS 3.1: entering the Gigabit race
3.3.4. Connection speeds available on the different network architectures
3.3.5. FTTB/FTTLA network rollout constraints
3.4. Copper pair networks
3.4.1. An xDSL access network
3.4.2. VDSL2
3.4.3. VDSL2 rollout constraints
3.4.4. Upgrading copper pair networks: Vectoring, G.fast
3.4.5. Shortening copper lines
3.4.6. Factors that influence maximum speeds on copper pair networks
3.5. Issues surrounding the different fixed SFB technologies
3.5.1. The transition from copper/coaxial technologies to FTTH

4. Rollout status and player strategies
4.1. SFB rollouts using the copper pair
4.1.1. Vectoring
4.1.2. Shortening copper lines and G.fast
4.2. DOCSIS 3.1 deployments
4.3. FTTH rollouts

5. Outlook for UFB technologies
5.1. Operators' strategies in terms of CAPEX
5.2. "Sharing" copper lines for G.fast
5.3. Are telephone lines obsolete?

Table 1: Comparison of the two PON technologies' properties
Table 2: Connection speeds and corresponding technical properties (indicative)
Table 3: Maximum connection speeds marketed by cable companies in the countries being examined
Table 4: Comparison of fixed SFB solutions' key parameters
Table 5: Theoretical maximum connection speeds supplied by Wi-Fi and Ethernet (by version)

Figure 1: Connecting optical fibre in the home: the example of an intermediate device between optical fibre and the subscriber box
Figure 2: The two main types of FTTH access network
Figure 3: Maximum distance a GPON optical fibre can reach, according to class (approx.)
Figure 4: Frequency spectrum on a cable network (EuroDOCSIS 3.0)
Figure 5: Architecture of an FTTB/ FTTLA network with coaxial link in the last mile
Figure 6: Frequencies used by the DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 standards
Figure 7: DSL technology access networks
Figure 8: Spectral width used by the different DSL technologies
Figure 9: Estimated evolution of the connection speeds supplied by the different copper pair, according to distance to the cabinet
Figure 10: Evolution of the different copper pair technologies, available connection speeds and maximum line length
Figure 11: How G.fast performs with/without Vectoring
Figure 12: Deutsche Telekom's different hybrid fibre/copper architectures
Figure 13: Suitability of VDSL-based solutions according to optical termination point
Figure 14: Outlook for connection speeds supplied by each type of technology in 2020
Figure 15: RFoG architecture from a cable network CMTS, with coax in the last mile
Figure 16: DOCSIS network architecture with a DPoE section
Figure 17: Evolution of subscribers and broadband products: cable companies vs. telcos
Figure 18: Map of cities with DOCSIS 3.1 " Gigabit" connections supplied by Comcast (and upcoming)
Figure 19: Google Fibre rollouts
Figure 20: Status of different current and future (medium-term) UFB technologies
Figure 21: Comparison of the different CAPEX required for FTTH and FTTDP rollouts