Verizon Test Blasts 1-Gig Links To The Home

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Verizon last month tested a fiber-to-the-home networking technology that delivered a whopping 1.85 Gigabits per second of aggregate bandwidth to two PCs in a home in Taunton, Mass., a trial the telco claimed shows its FiOS network has capacity to handle massive future demand.

A user could download a 20-Gigabyte Blu-ray Disc movie in less than three minutes over a 1-Gbps link, according to Verizon, compared with almost four and a half hours over a 10-Mbps Internet connection.

Such tremendous capacity is far beyond what is available today from any broadband provider, much less useful on the open Internet, but industry experts say 1-Gbps Internet connections could someday be common.

CableLabs has quietly started investigating new data-over-coax approaches that envision delivering multiple gigabits-per-second efficiently over HFC. And earlier this year Google generated publicity by offering to foot the bill for a 1-Gbps FTTH network somewhere in the U.S.; the search giant has not selected which community or communities will win the "Think Big With a Gig" contest.

Verizon previously ran a field-test of XG-PON -- which supplies 10 Gbps downstream and 2.5 Gbps upstream to a home -- in December 2009. That "overlay" test showed the feasibility of the technology, by verifying that XG-PON did not interfere with the regular FiOS signal, but was not designed to produce the same range of connectivity speeds.

"XG-PON" stands for 10-Gigabit passive optical network.

In the most recent test, the Verizon optical network terminal (ONT) at the test home received a 10/2.5-Gbps feed and used two data communication ports to simultaneously provide transmission speeds of close to 1 Gbps to each of two PCs inside the home. Combined, the two ports delivered approximately 1.85 Gbps in aggregate bandwidth in each direction.

Verizon performed speed tests to its speed test server located more than 400 miles away in Reston, Va., and recorded speeds as fast as 915 Mbps between the PC and the speed test server.

The field trial was conducted with an XG-PON system developed by Motorola, while the December test used Huawei gear.

Verizon plans to continue testing XG-PON with other suppliers, and by year-end to submit to suppliers a request for information for XG-PON technology.

"XG-PON can provide the capacity needed to support the explosive growth in bandwidth envisioned for new and emerging services such as 3DTV and Ultra HD TV, and the growing demand for streaming video content to the PC and TV, as well as the increased use of concurrent applications," Vincent O'Byrne, director of technology for Verizon's FTTP architecture and design effort, said in a statement.