NBN could deliver 10 Gbps in five years

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NBN could deliver 10 Gbps in five years

German 26 Tbps demonstration a case for fibre, says NBN Co CTO.

Australians connected to the National Broadband Network could receive peak speeds of up to 10 Gbps within five years through upgrades to the gigabit passive optical network (GPON) network, according to NBN Co.

Gary McLaren, chief technology officer at the government-owned network builder said that new wave division multiplexing (WDM) technology would increase the network's GPON capacity from 2.5 Gbps available today to 40 Gbps.

Users could feasibly receive peak speeds of 10 Gbps – 100 times those promised today – depending on the load on their shared 32-premise GPON link, he said.

McLaren said NBN Co subject matter experts were working with equipment vendors to keep Australia’s fibre network on the cutting edge.

“The fibre that we’re putting into the network now will be around for the next 50 years,” he said, explaining that upgrades would take place at fibre access nodes and end-user termination points.

“When we see the roadmap for the next five years, there’s a clear pathway for an increase in speed of 16 times.”

NBN Co this week welcomed news of a new, all-optical orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) technique that allowed German researchers to send data at a record 26 Tbps over fibre.

While McLaren did not expect the technique to enter the commercial sphere for some time, he told iTnews the demonstration “confirms what might be possible down the track”.

“We’re always keen to understand where some of the research is going,” he said, noting that commercial 26 Tbps chipsets were still “many, many years off”.

“As fibre optic technology improves, so too will speeds and the amount of data that can be carried over the network we are building today.”

“Tests such as this just go to show just why a fibre-enabled National Broadband Network is the best infrastructure for Australia’s future.”

Last year, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced that the NBN could deliver end users 1 Gbps in tests – ten times faster than today’s 100 Mbps speeds.

McLaren said any new fibre technology advancements would be applied to the network’s backbone and backhaul links first before reaching consumers.

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