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O

nce the plain old telephone


service, the role of the
telephone wire continues
to be refashioned. The
latest digital subscriber line (DSL)
standard being developed G.fast
uses 106MHz of phone wire spectrum
to deliver gigabit broadband, a far cry
from its original purpose of carrying a
3kHz voice call. The developments
(see fg 1) complement fbre getting
ever closer to the home.
G.fasts 106MHz spectrum
compares to 17MHz used for VDSL2,
the current leading DSL standard. But
this comes at the cost of greater
signal attenuation and crosstalk.
Signal attenuation is a result of the
phone wires limited spectrum.
Greater attenuation at higher
frequencies cuts the distance over
which data can be sent: VDSL2
operates over 1500m, while G.fast will
typically be up to 250m.
Cutting the crosstalk
Crosstalk describes the signal leakage
between copper pairs in a cable that
can hold tens or hundreds of wire
pairs. The leakage means each pair
not only carries the sent signal, but
also noise; the sum of all the leakages
from neighbouring DSL pairs.
Crosstalk increases with frequency
and early G.fast trials by Alcatel-
Lucent showed crosstalk was so
severe at higher frequencies that the
interference matched the strength of
the received signal. Its one reason
why no one has developed G.fast
technology until now, said Dudi
Baum, CEO of Israeli start up Sckipio.
Vectoring, which tackles crosstalk
by using noise cancellation, is already
used with VDSL2. Vectoring is
considered a key aspect of G.fast,
even more than for VDSL2, said Paul
Spruyt, DSL strategist for fxed
networks, Alcatel-Lucent.
While G.fast is viewed as an
extension to VDSL2, it has clear
differences. VDSL2 uses frequency
division duplexing where data
transmission is continuous
upstream (from the home) and
downstream but on different
frequency bands or tones. In contrast,
G.fast uses time division duplexing,
where the full spectrum is used
alternatively to send or receive data.
If a cable carries both VDSL2 and
G.fast services, G.fast will use
frequencies of more than 17MHz to
avoid overlapping with VDSL2;
crosstalk between the two cannot be
cancelled because of the different
duplexing schemes.
Operators want G.fast to deliver
aggregate data rates ranging from
150Mbit/s over 250m to 1Gbit/s over
cable lengths of less than 100m (see
fg 2). This compares to VDSL2s
aggregate data rate of 70Mbit/s
(50Mbit/s downstream, 20Mbit/s
upstream) over 400m, a rate that
doubles to 140Mbit/s with vectoring.
Vectoring works by measuring the
crosstalk coupling on each line before
the DSLAM the platform at the
cabinet or the fbre distribution point
unit for G.fast generating anti-noise
to null each lines crosstalk.
The crosstalk coupling between the
pairs is estimated using modulated
sync symbols sent between data
transmissions. A users DSL modem
expects to see the modulated sync
symbol but, in reality, receives the
symbol and crosstalk from modulated
sync symbols transmitted on
neighbouring lines.
The modem measures the
crosstalk and sends the value back to
the DSLAM. This correlates the
received error values on the victim
line with the pilot sequences
transmitted on all other disturber
lines and measures the crosstalk
coupling for every disturber-victim pair.
Anti-noise is generated and injected
into the victim line on top of the signal
to cancel the crosstalk; a process
repeated for each line.
G.fast vectoring is, however, more
complicated than VDSL2s. Besides
the greater crosstalk, G.fast has a
power saving mode in which the line is
deactivated if no data is sent. The
vectoring algorithm needs to stop
generating anti-noise as soon as a
line is deactivated and to respond
DSL technology is developing to the point where data might soon be delivered to the home at
1Gbit/s over copper pairs. By Roy Rubenstein.
In G.fast trials
conducted in
Austria, the
use of
vectoring
allowed data
rates of
500Mbit/s to be
reached over
100m of copper
cables
www.newelectronics.co.uk 25 March 2014
Its down to the wire
33
COMMUNICATIONS DESIGN
NEXT GENERATION COMMUNICATIONS
1995 2000 2005 2010 Beyond 2020....
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ADSL
ADSL2
ADSL2plus
VDSL(2) 8b
VDSL(2) 17a
+ bonding
+ vectoring
+ Phantom
the gap
+ G.fast
Fibre
to the
home
Fig 1: How innovations in copper have supported fibre roll out
1000
500
100
50
100
50
1
25 March 2014 www.newelectronics.co.uk
rapidly once it restarts. VDSL2
modem lines also get deactivated, but
far less frequently.
The number of computations is
proportional to the square of the
number of lines, said Spruyt. For
G.fast, the number of lines is 4 to 24,
or even 48, since the distribution
point unit is closer to homes (see fg
3). For VDSL2, 200 or even 400 pairs
are possible.
Both DSL technologies use discrete
multitones, but G.fast uses half the
number 2048 of VDSL2s, with
each tone 12 times broader in
frequency. G.fasts symbol rate, related
to the tone spacing, is 12 times faster,
requiring the calculations to be
performed a dozen times more quickly.
Since crosstalk cancellation is
required for each tone and there are
half the number of tones, G.fasts
calculation rate is six times that of
VDSL2 for the same number of lines.
Thus, while G.fast vectoring is more
complicated, the overall computation
load and power consumption are
lower, due to fewer DSL lines.
In contrast, G.fasts analogue
front end requires much faster A/D
and D/A converters due to the
106MHz bandwidth, upping the power
consumption. We should expect the
frst generation of G.fast to consume
more power than VDSL2 silicon,
said Spruyt.
The main functional blocks for
G.fast and VDSL2 include the
baseband DSP, vectoring, the analogue
front end and the line driver. The
degree to which they are integrated
whether one chip, or four if the home
gateway functions are included
depends on where they are used.
The chipsets will be designed
differently for the different segments
where they are used, said Arun
Hiremath, director of marketing for
Ikanos Communications. For example,
the G.fast modem could be
implemented as a single chip the
baseband, home gateway and even
the line driver, due to the short
transmission lengths, he says.
Products have yet to appear
Ikanos has yet to disclose G.fast
silicon, but has announced its Neos
development platform, allowing its
customers to test and trial the
technology. Hiremath says its G.fast
silicon will be based on the Neos
architecture, with samples expected
later this year.
Neither has Sckipio revealed its
G.fast chipsets, but it is expecting
frst samples. We will provide more
information in a few months, said
Baum.
The start up has ported its RTL
design onto a Cadence Palladium
system and has DSL models
bundles of twisted copper pairs to
test its designs performance. We
use those models to see the
expected performance running our
protocol over those wires, said
Baum.
Alcatel-Lucent has its own
vectoring know-how for VDSL2 and
G.fast. Having our own vectoring
technology means we have our own
vectoring processing, said Stefaan
Vanhastel, marketing director for fxed
networks, Alcatel-Lucent.
Alcatel-Lucent has conducted G.fast
trials with A1, the home subsidiary of
Telekom Austria. Over 100m, G.fast
only achieved 60Mbit/s, due to
crosstalk. Activating G.fast vectoring
saw it rise to 500Mbit/s, almost a
factor of 10, said Vanhastel.
Much work is still to be done
before G.fast will be deployed, says
Alcatel-Lucent. The ITU is only likely
approve the G.fast PHY specifcation
later this year, while there are
interoperability, test, functionality and
performance specifcations still to be
written by the Broadband Forum.
Sckipio is more upbeat about
timescales, believing operators will
start deployments in 2015. Operators
have to respond to broadband
competition from cable players and
operators deploying fbre, says Baum.
Sckipio has multiple feld trials of its
G.fast silicon planned this year.
Both companies might be right,
said Hiremath. For G.fast, you need
fbre closer to your house to get a
gigabit and that is not available with
most carriers. G.fast will start with
small scale deployments, he says, but
the carriers will wait a little more for
things to mature.
It is hoped that
G.fast will
support data
rates of 1Gbit/s
over distances
of less than
100m.
However, this
will require the
use of
vectoring 2.0,
which reduces
the effect of
crosstalk
significantly
34
COMMUNICATIONS DESIGN
NEXT GENERATION COMMUNICATIONS
Fig 2: G.fast will require Vectoring 2.0
0 50 100 150 200 250
A
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Loop length (m)
G.fast full FEXT
Crosstalk
G.fast single line
(17.7 to 106MHz)
G.fast vectored
FEXT: far end crosstalk cancellation
800
600
400
200
0
Fig 3: A fibre to the distribution point architecture
1 to 48 users per remote network equipment
Distribution
point unit
Passive
splitter
60V DC
Aggregation
Customer premises
equipment
Vectored VDSL2:
200Mbit/s
G.fast: up
to 1Gbit/s
G.fast
transceiver
Power
extraction
Power
insertion
DPU power
supply
Power
source
G.fast
transceiver