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Phantom Mode boosts broadband to 300Mb/s

Phantom Mode boosts broadband to 300Mb/s

The DSL Phantom Mode technology currently under development by Bell Labs promises 300Mb/s speeds over plain copper telephone lines.

If you're hankering for faster Internets but are stuck without the joys of optical-fibre-to-the-home, take heart: there's a new DSL standard on the horizon which promises 300Mb/s over plain old copper lines.

According to a write-up over on GigaOM, the technology - currently under development at Bell Labs in the US - behind such speeds is known as DSL Phantom Mode, and holds the key to a major speed boost for those unable to get a fibre-optic connection to the 'net.

The company's claims are impressive: in field tests, Bell Labs has been able to get speeds of 300Mb/s over a 400 metre line, while a more realistic kilometre-long connection still pushed over 100Mb/s.

The technology gets its name from the creation of a 'phantom' channel which Bell Labs claims "supplements the two physical wires that are the standard configuration for copper transmission" while introducing "vectoring that eliminates interference or 'crosstalk' between copper wires and bonding that makes it possible to take individual lines and aggregate them."

That last part is a clue as to exactly how the technology is able to get such impressive speeds: to scale up to the maximum possible data rates, the system will require multiple lines - which means new equipment both at the telco end and at the consumer end. While implementation of Phantom Mode DSL is likely to be significantly cheaper than a country-wide fibre-to-the-home push, it's not without cost.

Bell Labs has yet to announce when the Phantom Mode technology will become available to consumers - or how much the extra equipment is likely to set people back.

Are you pleased to see people trying to give DSL a new lease of life, or should copper wiring be ditched as archaic and companies concentrating on the roll-out of fibre for truly big pipes? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

41 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
ev1lm1nd666 21st April 2010, 13:27 Quote
There's still life in the old copper wire yet, this just proves the point. I haven't seen any speed increases by using fibre optic cable over copper at all, in fact I've seen just the opposite, my BT line is a damn site faster than my Virgin line ever was and I'm on the same package too. Virgin couldn't handle anything more than xbox live and web browsing (facebook games used to cause serious lag) but my BT line can cope with xbox live, online pc gaming, folding@home and live streaming tv all at the same time with no noticable lag. I used to be a fibre-optic fanboy but have had to seriously reconsider my views after the switch to BT
Hustler 21st April 2010, 13:33 Quote
Sounds like you were on an oversubscribed router......the perennial failure of fibre optic broadband....

It really is a post code lottery as to what kind of experience you will get with Virgin....live in an area where not many people are online and its fantastic, 20,50 or 100mb all day long.....be unlucky enough to live in a congested area, and its crap, like being back on 56k.....

Its why i went back to DSL......i can only get 5mb due to exchange location, but i know i can get 5mb 24/7 no matter how busy it gets in the evening...
kenco_uk 21st April 2010, 13:35 Quote
Sounds very good. Up to 300mb speeds would be impressive. Passing some of the cost to the consumer sounds like it could be quickly adopted, e.g. if it requires a different 'microfilter' or some such device. I'd imagine an up to 300mb connection wouldn't be cheap, but an up to 50mb or 100mb for ten or fifteen quid a month with an initial setup fee would be taken up.
perplekks45 21st April 2010, 13:42 Quote
Just give me more upload... download is fine @ 16Mb/s.
And that is not a technical issue. So for me it's nice to know it's possible but mainly.. meh.
Almightyrastus 21st April 2010, 14:00 Quote
And yet BT would still find some reason to throttle it to 300Kb/s at peak times........
M_D_K 21st April 2010, 14:41 Quote
300mb over 400m and then shoots down too 100mb over 1km so your still looking at 30mb if you live 2km away or more, i know my old house was 2miles from the nearest exchange so this looks no faster to me, plus your sending more data down an old copper wire means your gonna get more packet loss.

Virgin fibre hasn't let me down yet with crazy download speeds its awesome :), i would say let the copper die out but having fibre to all homes is going to take a while.
DbD 21st April 2010, 15:48 Quote
M_D_K - if BT put fiber to the junction boxes, which they have already started, then we should be able to have 300Mb to our houses using this. It saves BT having to put fiber from the junction boxes to our houses (an order of magnitude more expensive).
Woodspoon 21st April 2010, 17:06 Quote
Smells like just another excuse to put prices up and not bother upgrading the whole system.
Teelzebub 21st April 2010, 17:29 Quote
I'm paying £20 a month for 6mb now so I would pay another £10 month for 20mb or more, I really hate slow speeds.
thehippoz 21st April 2010, 17:47 Quote
yeah really just go fiber if you need to install new lines.. bell labs is awesome but this stinks of white collar airport bathroom guys
Anfield 21st April 2010, 19:12 Quote
300Mb/s? with all the capping going thats really pointless, besides most likely it will only ever be implemented for downloads even though upload speeds in the uk are beyond pathetic, ever tried to upload a larger number of photos at once?

I'd rather have 10Mb/s up and down without limitations than a promised speed of 300Mb/s which only happens at 3am on Tuesdays and if several Pcs download Windows updates the Capping kicks in...
D-Cyph3r 21st April 2010, 19:13 Quote
Quote:
: in field tests, Bell Labs has been able to get speeds of 300Mb/s over a 400 metre line,


http://i496.photobucket.com/albums/rr322/CAC_003/facepalm1.jpg
tel1749 21st April 2010, 20:20 Quote
living out in the sticks i just cannot see them doing anything to get us a decent speed , people belly aching as they are stuck with 8.........12 mhz you are so lucky, here i have on a good day around 700kb now folk don,t laugh but it is true i just cannot get faster.
HourBeforeDawn 21st April 2010, 21:04 Quote
Well this certainly looks promising for the US at least.
Farfalho 21st April 2010, 22:06 Quote
Bring it on! Cooper is cheaper than fibre-optic
theflatworm 21st April 2010, 23:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farfalho
Cooper is cheaper than fibre-optic

At least, that's what all the guys are saying ;).
theflatworm 21st April 2010, 23:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by theflatworm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farfalho
[Ms] Cooper is cheaper than fibre-optic

At least, that's what all the guys are saying ;).
theflatworm 21st April 2010, 23:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farfalho
[Ms] Cooper is cheaper than fibre-optic

At least, that's what all the guys are saying ;).
theflatworm 21st April 2010, 23:59 Quote
Whoops. Sorry about that. Seems there's a glitch in the 'edit' function.
Zurechial 22nd April 2010, 01:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by theflatworm
Whoops. Sorry about that. Seems there's a glitch in the 'edit' function.

Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure there is. :p
LordPyrinc 22nd April 2010, 02:08 Quote
Facepalm... :D
aron311 22nd April 2010, 02:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Cyph3r
Quote:
: in field tests, Bell Labs has been able to get speeds of 300Mb/s over a 400 metre line,


http://i496.photobucket.com/albums/rr322/CAC_003/facepalm1.jpg

Haha I don't mind my exchange is about 150m away :-D
aron311 22nd April 2010, 02:30 Quote
PS. Loving the new site!
dark_avenger 22nd April 2010, 02:52 Quote
Would be useful here in Australia as pretty much all of our telco infrastructure is still based on copper.

Makes scene to use both wires, current DSL only uses 1 wire
perplekks45 22nd April 2010, 08:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by aron311
Haha I don't mind my exchange is about 150m away :-D
Quote:
Originally Posted by aron311
PS. Loving the new site!
EDIT BUTTON!!!

Kids these days... :(
crazyceo 22nd April 2010, 10:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ev1lm1nd666
There's still life in the old copper wire yet, this just proves the point. I haven't seen any speed increases by using fibre optic cable over copper at all, in fact I've seen just the opposite, my BT line is a damn site faster than my Virgin line ever was and I'm on the same package too. Virgin couldn't handle anything more than xbox live and web browsing (facebook games used to cause serious lag) but my BT line can cope with xbox live, online pc gaming, folding@home and live streaming tv all at the same time with no noticable lag. I used to be a fibre-optic fanboy but have had to seriously reconsider my views after the switch to BT

Can't really say I agree with you. I had Virginmedia bliss a few years ago and then moved house where I was only stuck with a BT line. I went from 20meg to 1.5meg if I was lucky and even then it was very unstable. Now I've moved back to an area where I can get Virgin and back in high speed bliss but now at 50meg.

I know BT have got a shedload of government funding to help with the switch to fibre optic from the exchanges. Maybe they should have researched it a bit more and had a quick chat with Bell Labs?
Xir 22nd April 2010, 10:56 Quote
After the Berlin Wall came down, the city of Dresden was rewired in the most modern way, using fiber optics.
Then DSL came along, but it only works on copper lines...and until today, they don't have any internet faster than ISDN unless using UMTS.

Using fiber optics was (is?) just too expensive for the companies, installing an fiberoptic junction in every single house.
zpk 22nd April 2010, 11:26 Quote
On the note of being to expensive to install fibre points to an entire city..

I read about this a while ago, pretty awesome for the little city state.

www.opennet.com.sg/

Full fibre layout mmmm
stephen.cooke 22nd April 2010, 17:05 Quote
Alcatel-Lucent isn't the only one to achieve multiple 100's of Mb/s over the existing copper plant...

Check out www.bondeddslrings.com. This one can do rural Scotland without ripping up people's gardens to install fibre.
Culinia 23rd April 2010, 01:56 Quote
That's all fine and dandy BUT
To achieve full sync you will have to be close to the exchange!!

On ADSLMax "up to 8Mbps service" max sync is 8128Kbps (8Mbps) with a throughput of approx 7.15Mbps (due to overheads)... I live 3.5km from the exchange (long line) and sync at 2112Kbps (1.75Mbps w/overheads) or about 26% of the maximum.

So if 300Mbps is rolled out and if the same limitation is taken for me i.e. 26% then I would sync at 78Mbps which is obviously ALOT better (assuming it will work similar to this) but it is beyond the point as cable providers are at a stable 200Mbps DEPENDING on BANDWIDTH available across the pipe!!!

IMO, fibre optic is the future so stop distracting yourselves in poor quality copper wire which is what? 100 years old now!
Culinia 23rd April 2010, 01:59 Quote
IN SUMMARY: Waste of time and resources. Invest in true future technology, fibre...not old 100 years technology.
Makaveli 23rd April 2010, 04:39 Quote
I agree with all of you they should just forget about copper. However most of these companies don't want to spend the money to roll out a fibre network when they can just keep milking the current infrastructure.
perplekks45 23rd April 2010, 08:47 Quote
There's not enough competition in most countries to force the big companies [mainly formerly state-owned] to splash up that much money to upgrade the infrastructure. Or if there is they want the smaller companies to pay their share and they just can't afford it so nothing happens.

Either way: Europe is so far behind Japan it's not even funny.
Xir 23rd April 2010, 09:32 Quote
When the telephone company was state owned, they connected everybody, no matter what the cost.
Which is why even the loneliest farms have telephone, which again makes research for copper based connections rather interesting.
crazyceo 23rd April 2010, 09:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
There's not enough competition in most countries to force the big companies [mainly formerly state-owned] to splash up that much money to upgrade the infrastructure. Or if there is they want the smaller companies to pay their share and they just can't afford it so nothing happens.

Either way: Europe is so far behind Japan it's not even funny.

I completely agree. I lived in Tokyo between 2001 to 2004 and by the end they already rolled out 50meg as standard and where pushing for 100meg. Now that was over 6 years ago and only now we can get 50meg via Virgin.

BT sat on their hands for decades without any thought of updating the network. They made billions doing nothing and really only opened up to cheaper services when they were forced to allow competition. So since then, they have blamed the upgrades on lack of funding because you all wanted competition. Pathetic really!
erratum1 23rd April 2010, 12:13 Quote
In rural England my internet speed is pathetic, so any development that could make it faster is great. Compared to the rest of the world we're like still living in caves.
kylew 24th April 2010, 04:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bumsrush
I'm paying £20 a month for 6mb now so I would pay another £10 month for 20mb or more, I really hate slow speeds.


£15 for 24.5Mb download and 2.8Mb upload (I actually get it as well).
Gradius 24th April 2010, 15:15 Quote
This is nice but it came far too late. The future is fiber optic with speed of 1Gbps, 10Gbps and by 2025 it will be 100Gbps (no kidding!).
Gradius 24th April 2010, 15:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farfalho
Bring it on! Cooper is cheaper than fibre-optic

Not anymore. China sells fiber uber cheap!
perplekks45 24th April 2010, 15:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradius
This is nice but it came far too late. The future is fiber optic with speed of 1Gbps, 10Gbps and by 2025 it will be 100Gbps (no kidding!).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradius
Not anymore. China sells fiber uber cheap!
Quote:
By the way, there's an edit button. Use it please.

Thanks.

Nice speed though. Use [ img ] www.picture.url [ /img ] to show them. ;) (without spaces or course)
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