Broadband 2.0: How Technology
and Economics Make Copper Ideal
for the Next Wave of Advanced
Video is changing everything. It’s driving the need for service providers throughout the
world to tool up for Broadband 2.0 – networks capable of handling high-definition video
and advanced multimedia services at speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and
beyond. Motivated equally by the need to diversify their revenue streams and to
maximize return from their capital investments, the vast majority of service providers are
building their Broadband 2.0 networks using hybrid architectures that include fiber for the
backbone and significant utilization of existing copper infrastructure to complete the last-
mile connections for their customers.
To keep pace with demand, the last-mile copper in these hybrid networks will be
powered by a new generation of VDSL silicon and software that delivers dramatically
improved capacity and stability over service providers’ existing wire plants. VDSL
equipment based on these new chipsets will use advanced techniques like bonding and
vectoring to support today’s and tomorrow’s performance requirements, and to deliver
the necessary quality of service and carrier-class reliability.
This makes it possible for service providers to deliver multiple channels of streaming HD
video, robust VoIP, and blazing-fast Internet service for a fraction of the cost of an all-
fiber to the home upgrade.
To find out how VDSL technology is helping service providers keep pace with price and
performance pressures, read on.
Bright Opportunities amid Difficult Realities
The widespread popularity of broadband multimedia services is a double-edged sword for
telecommunications service providers. Declining voice traffic revenues, rising consumer expectations, and
fierce competition from cable operators make service bundles – in particular those that include high-
definition television – an essential survival strategy. Delivering those video-intensive services requires
increased bandwidth of at least 50 to 100 Mbps. Until recently, conventional wisdom was that only a
fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network architecture could deliver those levels of performance. And
unfortunately the wholesale deployment of FTTH is so costly that it strains even the deep pockets of the
world’s largest telecommunications service providers.
It’s been widely reported that it costs roughly $700 per home to run fiber through a typical North American
neighborhood and another $650 or more to install and connect a single subscriber in an FTTH network.
estimate of nearly $1400
per home does not Cost Per Household for Broadband Deployment/Installation
include the full cost of
central office upgrades,
and other fiber-related
infrastructure Fiber ‐ Europe $2,156
An AT Kearney study Fiber ‐ US $1,350
shows that deployment
costs for European
networks are even higher Fiber ‐ Japan $1,071
at $2156 to provision and
connect a typical home
for fiber-based services.
DSL ‐ WW $360
This stands in sharp
contrast to the $360 it Source: AT Kearney, ING, NTT, AT&T, Ikanos
costs to install the
equipment necessary to
deliver VDSL over an existing copper pair.
Completely replacing an existing network is so costly and time-consuming that most service providers are
pursuing a hybrid fiber-to-the-neighborhood (FTTN) architecture which serves its subscribers with copper-
based last-mile links and xDSL technology. Using the installed base of copper local loops eliminates the
costly process of pulling
fiber through a Estimated Cost for Broadband Deployment/Installation
neighborhood and in United Kingdom
bringing it to each home. £35
Additional savings are £28.3
realized because most
xDSL customer premises Variable
equipment can be Fixed
installed by the
subscriber. Meanwhile, £15
recent advances in next-
generation DSL – known £10
as VDSL – technology £5.1
that improve the reach,
stability and overall £0
capacity of legacy copper FTTN/VDSL FTTH
infrastructures now Source: Analysys Mason
allows deployment of
FTTN networks that reliably deliver 50 to 100 Mbps at a fraction of the cost of a full-optical solution.
For example, a study conducted by Analysis Mason concludes that a program to deploy a point-to-point
FTTH network across the entire United Kingdom would require an investment of nearly £28.8 billion or the
equivalent of nearly $50 billion at today’s exchange rates. In contrast, deploying a hybrid fiber and VDSL
network was estimated to cost a fraction of the cost – only £5.1 billion or just 17 percent of the cost of a
full FTTH network – while still being able to deliver an equivalent level of bandwidth and service.
Enabling Technologies Bolster VDSL’s Advantages
In addition to these dramatic cost savings, VDSL continues to evolve to meet the requirements of the
service provider market and demands of delivering high-definition video and other bandwidth-hungry
For instance, noise mitigation technology is used to enhance link robustness, reliability and availability
under severe and time-varying noise environments. Ikanos’ Quality Video (iQV™) technology is a unique
combination of ITU-T standard noise cancellation and rate adaptation algorithms that monitors line
conditions, dynamically adjusts data transmission speeds and maintains line stability. This technology
ensures the optimal
quality of service and VDSL2 300 Mbps
viewing experience that Vectored
consumers require from 250
their video, voice and
data networking VDSL2 200
In addition, these
technologies enable VDSL2 100
PON (10G split 128/2.5G split 32)
stable delivery of 50 to
100 Mbps of service over 75
distances approaching ADSL2+
one mile – a sufficient Bonded
length to service the vast ADSL2+ PON (1G split 32)
majority of populations in
urban and suburban 0 .5 1.0 1.5 2.0
locations. Should Miles Source: Broadband Forum, Ikanos, Others
additional bandwidth and
greater distance be needed, pair bonding techniques can be used to support another data channel over
the second twisted-pair, found in the last-mile runs of most residences and commercial installations.
Bonding logically combines the capacity of the two channels in a transparent manner so the subscriber
sees a single connection that delivers up to 200 Mbps in performance.
Other enhancements including vector processing will provide even greater performance over time. Vector
processing (another ITU-T standard technology) is a unique extension of Dynamic Spectral Management
(DSM) technology that cancels the crosstalk often found on copper lines. When deployed, vectoring is
expected to boost the potential capacity of a network’s twisted copper pairs to 300 Mbps and beyond. The
enhanced link stability made possible by the powerful vectoring algorithms can also be used to increase
the distances over which those speeds can be delivered to residential or commercial subscribers.
In addition to capacity and reach, vectoring gives service providers several other important technical
advantages over traditional noise cancellation techniques:
Vectoring’s advanced crosstalk cancellation capabilities enable the highest possible data
rates and quality of service levels – far beyond that of even fiber-to-the-home installations –
regardless of the network’s subscriber density or other services running within the wiring
Vectoring’s noise cancellation capabilities enable transparent coexistence with legacy
services such as T1/E1 for a smooth, painless upgrade cycle that can be phased to suit
customer and service provider needs.
The dramatically-improved signal integrity made possible by vectoring also allows service
providers to reliably extend the reach of their lines, making it possible for them to offer triple-
play-plus services to virtually all of their subscribers.
The lower costs and advanced capabilities of hybrid copper/optical systems are allowing many major
telecommunications providers to push forward with their Broadband 2.0 roll outs, despite reduced access
to capital and slimmer profit margins. AT&T is employing just such a hybrid FTTN/VDSL architecture in its
network – and has publicly stated that it plans to do so until at least 2018.
Most other North American and overseas service providers are following suit and committing to a hybrid
FTTN growth strategy. These include Bell Canada, NTT, Korea Telecom and many others.
Meanwhile, many other service providers once considered staunch proponents of FTTH architectures
have reconsidered their commitment and altered their plans. Recently, France Telecom backed away
from FTTH. So have many others, driven by the economic realities and price/performance advantages of
In the uncertain conditions of today’s global economy, there are few things that telecommunication
service providers can count on except that consumer demand for bandwidth will continue to grow and
capital for modernizing their infrastructures will remain in short supply for most of the upcoming decade.
To help service providers
meet these challenges, AT&T’s Technology Roadmap
silicon and network
equipment manufacturers Innovative Vectoring
are producing the next Technology Will Increase
Effective Data Rates Even
generation of VDSL Advanced Bonding Further VDSL
products. Technology Available
in Ikanos Capri Duo
These advanced VDSL Chipsets Doubles
offerings allow service User Peak Demand
providers to upgrade their 200+ Mbps
User Avg. Demand
infrastructure to deliver
services that meet and
exceed the capabilities of
networks at a fraction of
the price. This Source: AT&T, Ikanos
technological advances and economic realities makes existing copper infrastructures and VDSL the
medium of choice for delivering tomorrow’s Broadband 2.0 services.
About Ikanos Communications, Inc.
Ikanos Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: IKAN) is a leading provider of advanced broadband
semiconductor and software products for the digital home. The company’s broadband DSL,
communications processors and other offerings power access infrastructure and customer premises
equipment for many of the world’s leading network equipment manufacturers and telecommunications
service providers. For more information, visit www.ikanos.com.
“The Costs Of Deploying Fibre-Based Next-Generation Broadband Infrastructure.” A study conducted by
Analysys Mason, commissioned by the Broadband Stakeholder Group. September, 2008.
Study for the Hellenic Ministry of Transport and Communications, conducted by AT Kearney. May 2008.
FTTH in Europe: Forecast & Prognosis, 2006-2011. A report by Heavy Reading.
The Economics of Next Generation Access - Final Report. A study conducted by WIK-Consult for the
European Competitive Telecommunication Association (ECTA). September 2008.
AT&T’s Ten Year Future of DSL. Excerpted from a presentation made by AT&T president John Stankey
to Bank of America. 2009.