Sckipio touts fibre-like symmetrical G.fast kit

Stick this on your pole, instead of fibre


Fabless G.fast silicon house Sckipio hopes to give the fibre-most-of-the-way, copper to the home market a kick along with silicon that gets close to symmetric performance, at whatever data rate the copper can support.

Talking to Vulture South after the launch, the company's marketing veep Michael Weissman explained the reference design for a single-port Distribution Point Unit (DPU), which Sckipio hopes will drive adopted by network owners trying to avoid that troublesome truck-roll to install fibre-to-the-home.

The DPU implements Dynamic Time Assignment (DTA), a technology the company proposed to the ITU and which received the standards-setter's assent in the standard as G.fast amendment 3.

Instead of configuring a network so that the downstream gets more time slices as upstream (unlike ADSL, which allocates capacity according to the frequencies used for downstream/upstream traffic, G.fast is a time division multiplexing scheme), DTA lets the distribution point respond to user traffic.

It can set allocations at 90 per cent down / 10 per cent up, all the way to 10 per cent down / 90 per cent up – and since the DTU responds to user demand, Weissman said it can feel pretty much like using a symmetrical service.

“If you're watching Netflix, nearly all of your traffic will be downstream. But if you're backing up your hard drive into the cloud, you can use 90 per cent of that capacity in the other direction.”

For networks using G.fast Weissman says it means there's going to be “a lot of capacity for a very long time, in the practical world”.

What's the catch?

The catch is, of course, that DTA was designed for a low-crosstalk environment (note - in its work with Calix, below, Sckipio is demonstrating DTA in a high-crosstalk configuration).

In a twisted-pair network, that means the best place for DTA is very close to the customer – once the pairs are split out of their bundles into individual cables.

The technology can also be applied to HFC networks, for example where that's been used as the in-building distribution in fibre-to-the-basement installations.

Since the technology is designed to sit alongside fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) deployments, Weissman said Sckipio paid attention to making it as much like a “virtual fibre” environment as possible.

Hence, as well as its fibre-like speeds and latencies, the DPU is designed to play nice with passive GPON management systems.

“We are going to behave as if we are a passive node on the network – it's easy to provision this into the network, without much management integration.”

The GPON system will “see something that's much more like a CPE than an access device”, he said.

Power from the user

Like most fibre-to-the-distribution-point (FTTdP) solutions, the Sckipio DPU is user-powered, but here there are some characteristics the company hopes carriers will appreciate.

First, because it's a single-port device, it avoids arguments Weissman said have emerged with multiport user-powered systems – is each user contributing a “fair” amount of power? Are low-consumption households unfairly subsidising the power consumption caused by high-consumption users?

A second is that it's a low-power unit, pulling about 7 Watts; and unlike a DSL modem, the DPU powers down most of the time. Its fast-start means it can idle, and respond to a network request with a one-second power-up latency, he said.

He also noted that since the DPU is designed for “on the pole outside the house” deployment, it solves a problem G.fast suffers on longer cable runs: the dc power suffers badly from attenuation if power has to travel a few hundred metres.

It also gets rid of the need to provide chunky backup batteries: in the US, for example, “the FCC is requiring 8 hours for battery backup – with 16 to 24 ports, you need a big backup unit.”

Other announcements

Other key announcements from Sckipio include a 16-port vectored DPU, developed in conjunction with Calix, that implements DTA; and a G.fast 24-port DTU built by South Korean company HFR.

On the 16-port Sckipio/Calix unit, Weissman said it was developed because at the moment, most G.fast deployments use vectored bundles.

It's designed optimising the system for the entire bundle, so as to get the dynamic assignment capabilities of G.fast in more conventional fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) deployments.

The system's management is designed to manage the time-slicing across larger port counts, “so you don't have different lines communicating at different ratios at the same time.” ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • US, UK, Western Europe fail to hit top 50 cheapest broadband list
    Syria, Sudan, Belarus, Ukraine came top. Are you starting to see a pattern?

    In an analysis of 3,356 fixed-line broadband deals in 220 countries, price comparison website Cable.co.uk found that the UK has the 92nd cheapest internet, beating the US, which came in 134th place.

    Based on 41 packages, the average cost per month for broadband in Britain came in at $39.01. Stateside, this rose to $55, from 34 packages measured.

    For these bulwarks of western democracy, 92nd and 134th place isn't particularly impressive. But if you really want to shave the dollars off your internet bill, you have a number of options.

    Continue reading
  • The right to repairable broadband befits a supposedly critical utility
    A bolt of lightning has caused me days of misery, because the fix requires too much proprietary tech

    Column I heard an electric discharge, a bit like a Jacob's ladder, immediately before a deafening crack of thunder. I'd never been so close to a lightning strike! All of the lights in the house went bright, then dimmed, then went back to normal. "Uh-oh," I thought, "I'm in trouble now." Everything in the house had been hit by a nasty surge and the oft-spoken aphorism that broadband services are now a utility to rank with water and electricity was suddenly very, very, real to me.

    But it was electricity I worried about first. I use top of the line surge protectors so my most sensitive devices – computers and monitors, of which I have many – all seemed fine. But I'd overlooked two other connections that come into nearly every home: the antenna and the phone line.

    My television seemed to have taken a direct hit. It still worked – mostly – but appeared unable to receive any digital broadcasts. That circuit, lying on the other side of the antenna lead, likely took a big hit from the lightning strike. But the rest of the television seemed fine – at first. After a few days, and several spontaneous reboots, I began to intuit that devices don't always immediately fail when hit by lightning. Sometimes they gradually shed their functions and utility.

    Continue reading
  • Telecoms growth forecast for 2022 may be optimistic
    Analyst view: 4Q21 drop plus strains from war mean component shortages drag on

    The telecoms kit market had a good 2021 with revenues close to $100bn, up more than 20 percent since 2017, but growth is now slowing, according to analyst Dell'Oro Group. Huawei is also starting to feel the effect of sanctions, but still leads the global market by a fair margin.

    However, the Dell'Oro Group's prediction of slightly less growth for 2022 may turn out to be optimistic amid warnings that the Ukraine war is already having an impact on the fragile supply chain recovery.

    Dell'Oro's analysis is based on the telecoms market sectors it monitors, including Broadband Access, Microwave & Optical Transport, Mobile Core Network (MCN), Radio Access Network (RAN), and Service Provider Router & Switch.

    Continue reading
  • Fibre broadband uptake in UK lags behind OECD countries
    Not very 'world-beating'

    Optical-fibre internet now makes up 32 per cent of fixed broadband subscriptions across the OECD countries, and is the fastest growing broadband technology. However, there is a mixed picture with cable still dominant in the Americas and the UK still predominantly DSL.

    These figures come from an update to the OECD's broadband portal, indicating that fibre subscriptions grew by 15 per cent across the OECD countries between June 2020 and June 2021, with demand for faster internet speeds as employees worked remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions cited as one reason.

    Fixed broadband subscriptions in OECD countries totalled 462.5 million as of June 2021, up from 443 million a year earlier, while mobile broadband subscriptions totalled 1.67 billion, up from 1.57 billion a year earlier.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022