Phantom Mode boosts broadband to 300Mb/s

April 21, 2010 // 11:31 a.m.

Tags: #adsl #bell #bell-labs #broadband #copper #dsl #fibre-optic #ma-bell #phantom-mode #phantom-mode-dsl #pots #sdsl

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.

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