Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs has successfully demonstrated a technology that boosts DSL transmission speeds to 300 Mbps over common twisted copper pair (TCP) lines.

The testing is still confined to the laboratory, but Bell Labs achieved downstream transmission speeds of 300 Mbps over distances of about a quarter-mile (400 meters) over a single TCP wire. DSL rates are dependent on distance; Bell Labs said the same technology could support 100 Mbps at less than a mile (1 km).

DSL Phantom Mode involves the creation of a virtual, or “phantom,” channel combined with vectoring, which Bell Labs said eliminates interference, or “crosstalk,” between copper wires and channel bonding (using multiple wires and aggregating their transmission capacity).

“We often think of the role innovation plays in generating technologies of the future, but DSL Phantom Mode is a prime example of the role innovation can play in creating a future for existing solutions and injecting them with a new source of value,” said Gee Rittenhouse, head of Research for Bell Labs. “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.”

If DSL Phantom Mode is successfully commercialized, it might reduce the pressure on phone companies like Verizon to roll out fiber-to-the-home.

It might also end up providing some validation for companies like AT&T that have been following what heretofore was considered a less aggressive (and less expensive) fiber-to-the-node strategy.

Replacing copper with fiber might be more expensive, but the costs of fiber are coming down, and the rate of return is increasing. Meanwhile, the new technology will apparently require the development of new customer premises equipment (CPE).

Bell Labs said that further research is being conducted to refine deployment models and determine a specific set of CPE models compatible with the DSL Phantom Mode technology.

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