Sun, 9 December 2007
Mike Intro: Earlier this fall we discussed DOCSIS 3.0 and how the cable companies will use this technology to deliver high bandwidth services to consumers. In this podcast we discuss the implementation and technologies the traditional telephone companies are using to deliver-high bandwidth voice, video and data services.
Mike: Gordon, I know you are very familiar with Verizon and the companies FiOS fiber to the home ((FTTH) product. How is the project coming along?
FiOS is Verizon's Fiber to the Home (FTTH), also know as Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) product offering. The service provides high-bandwidth data, voice and video services. The company has posted some interesting data on their policy blog for the third quarter of 2007. Here's a summary:
Fiber Implementation: Source: http://www.verizon.com/fiberoptics
FiOS is currently available in parts of 16 states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
At the end of September 2007, Verizon had passed about 8.5 million homes and businesses – installing more than 457 million feet of fiber in parts of 16 states.
Verizon expects to continue passing some 3 million premises annually through 2010,
when the company expects to have passed about 18 million homes, or over half the homes
Verizon will begin boosting speeds and capabilities on its all-fiber network when it begins
deploying advanced G-PON electronics in 2007. This technology can increase
downstream broadband speeds by up to four times, and upstream speeds by eight times.
Verizon is investing nearly $23 billion in the FiOS project, between 2004 and 2010.
Mike: How about broadband products?
Broadband Products: Source: http://www22.verizon.com/Content/ConsumerFiOS/
Mike: What about video?
Video: Source: http://www.verizonfios.com/tv
Mike: What's happening with bandwidth over fiber?
On November 19, Verizon announced they have completed a 100 Gbps optical communications test between Tampa and Miami, FL. The two cities are 312 miles apart. Here's a couple of quotes from the press release:
Verizon has successfully concluded the industry's first field test of 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) optical transmission, on a live, in-service 312-mile (504 kilometer) network route between Tampa, Fla., and Miami.
The test, which utilized a live video feed from Verizon's national FiOS TV network as the "payload," was successfully completed Friday (Nov. 16). The 100 Gbps transmission was conducted on a Verizon Business ultra long-haul optical system carrying other live traffic at 10 Gbps. The test demonstrated that by deploying advanced electronics, an existing network system can easily and quickly be upgraded to 100Gbps.
The test was done using existing fiber that had been installed for 10 Gbps service. Here's a couple more quotes from the press release:
Unlike other trials that used 10 separate 10 Gbps wavelengths to carry 100 Gbps, the Verizon test utilized a 100 Gbps signal on a single wavelength, demonstrating Verizon's drive to promote "true" 100 Gbps in a serial fashion on just one transmission wavelength.
Like the equipment in the company's 40 Gbps trial in June 2004, the 100 Gbps equipment used in the field trial was implemented with a "plug and play" approach. This is a key objective for future commercial implementation, and means the technology was used without any changes to the fiber, amplifiers and other embedded equipment.
Amazing bandwidth obtained using existing fiber - the trial only swapped electronics using, according to the press release, Alcatel-Lucent's 1625 LambdaXtreme Transport system.
Mike: Will companies continue to deliver assymetrical services?
On October 22, Verizon announced 20 Mbps symmetrical FIOs service in parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for as low as $64.99 a month. There are two things that I find exciting about this offering. First - it's great to see the bandwidths continue to go up. I feel this is just the start and we'll see bandwidths of over 100 Mbps within the next two years in selected areas as the telcos, like Verizon, go head-to-head with the cable companies like Comcast. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where FIOS is available you re in for a real treat regarding bandwidth.
The second exciting thing I see here is a shift to symmetrical services.
Mike: Could you explain what a symmetrical service is and how it differ from what we're used to?
Broadband products to date, including FIOS, ADSL and cable modem, have always been asymmetrical - the "A" in ADSL is even short for asymmetrical! Asymmetrical services provide more downstream bandwidth than upstream bandwidth. It's been a way for the providers to "cheat" a bit based on traditional Internet usage. Consider the way you traditionally surf the web - you enter a small amount of information in the address bar and hit enter. The address you type ends up going to a DNS (Domain Name Service) server and is looked up. The DNS server sends back the IP address of the site you want and your browser is directed to that site location. The site server then sends your browser the site contents you want to see.
Think about it - in the traditional model - a little information gets sent upstream and lots of information comes back downstream. Recognizing these patterns the providers have designed their networks to provide a little upstream bandwidth and lots of downstream bandwidth. Well...... all this has changed with this new FIOS offering from Verizon. Here's a quote from a Verizon press release:
"Verizon's new symmetric service is a smart response to the changing usage patterns of high-speed Internet subscribers," said Vince Vittore, senior analyst with Yankee Group. "We believe that as user-generated content continues to expand and telecommuting increases in popularity, upstream speed will become just as important as downstream for all users."
Mike: Thanks Gordon. We'll take a look at Fiber To The Node (FTTN) technologies next week.