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DR. BROADBAND

Scientists working for the company have today claimed to have conducted tests that attained a broadband connection speed of a 300Mb over distances of 400 metres. That’s six times the fastest speed currently available with a commercial package in the UK.

They’re shouting from the rooftops about it. Not least about the seismic impact they suppose it will have on the need to upgrade to exclusively fibre optic networks, which require a much larger investment than those which employ hybrid technology.

So convinced are they by its potential that they claim that it if widely deployed around the world, it could ‘satisfy demand for bandwidth-intense residential triple-play and business services for years to come”.

Gee Rittenhouse, Head of Research for Bell Labs said: “What makes DSL Phantom Mode such an important breakthrough is that it combines cutting edge technology with an attractive business model that will open up entirely new commercial opportunities for service providers, enabling them in particular, to offer the latest broadband IP-based services using existing network infrastructure.”

It’s an interesting bit of tech, that’s for sure. In an innovation the researchers call Phantom Mode, a ‘phantom’ channel is created that sits between two copper wires. Vectoring is then used to cut out cross-talk and bonding which makes it possible to take individual lines and aggregate them.

Even so, we're not wholly convinced. And precedent would appear to be on our side. After all, over the last two years, we've seen numerous technologies touted in this way. And I'm afraid that most of them seem to be little more vapourware when it comes to real life deployment.

Moreover, while we're pleased to see the boys from Bell Labs doing all they can to wring the last drops out of trad broadband tech, there are some issues with their approach that suggest that it might not be anything like as cost-effective as they're claiming.

One such is that customers are going to need at least two lines coming into their propositions. So a lot of folk who have just one will need to fork out extra for a second line.

And it's notable too that there's no mention of upload speeds in the press release. Is that a telling detail? We'll have to wait and see.

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