Can Fiber To The Home Beat DSL Right Now?

from the sign-me-up-now dept

For many in the telecom/broadband world, the idea of “fiber to the home” is the holy grail of providing broadband internet services to customers. However, over in Milan, where one company is trying to do just that, many people are suggesting they’re ahead of their time, and most people will be satisfied with just a simple DSL line for the time being. It is true that you’re never going to convince random people why they should pay so much more for FTTH as opposed to DSL, but without applications that really make use of the bandwidth, there really isn’t a huge reason to make the leap. So far, the company, e.Biscom, is trying to lure users with additional features like downloadable movies from the major studios, but I’m not sure that’s compelling enough to pay the premium necessary.

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Comments on “Can Fiber To The Home Beat DSL Right Now?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Well, for one thing, there is no “right now” for fiber, other than via utilities and municipals….the bells are waiting on regulation. Could be a decade before we see large scale fiber in the US…..and by then the cable industry should have networks capable of 100Mpbs….

And what’s with the NYTimes author writing out “A.D.S.L.”? First time writing about broadband I take it…..

LittleW0lf says:

Re: No Subject Given

…and by then the cable industry should have networks capable of 100Mpbs…

How? Will compression be that powerful, it isn’t right now…compression can only get you so far. They may be able to scratch a few more kbps out of the compression they have now, but the only way they’ll be able to increase the bandwidth that significantly is to increase the number of channels used per connection and reducing the number of users on each channel, something that they have actually been moving the opposite direction in.

DOCSIS (the “protocol” used by Cable Broadband Providers,) provides bandwidth across RF channels, like all other cable channels on a copper wire, divided into 6mHz ranges from 5-42mHz for transmission, and anywhere from 50-860mHz (or 73-760 mHz, depending on who you talk to,) for receiving.

Each DOCSIS device (Cable Modem) is provided with one or more upstream and downstream channels (common to see 5 downstream and 1 upstream channel per device,) which is used to receive and transmit traffic across. In an ideal network, each user would have their own downstream and upstream channels, and the ideal traffic speed for a 5/1 network would be 11mBps downstream, and about 768kBps upstream (yes, with DOCSIS 2.0 you can theoretically maintain 30mBps upstream, but that requires S-CDMA, and nobody else using the channel.) However, since DOCSIS can use TDMA, FDMA, and S-CDMA to split the channel among multiple users, the ideal network probably won’t exist in the real world, where Cable companies only have a limited amount of channels available to dedicate to each device. The more users on a channel, the less bandwidth for each user. So too with the number of channels, the less channels assigned to each user, the less bandwidth for each user.

However, even if they could get 100mBps to the desktop, do you really think that the Cable Companies, who have done everything possible to cap bandwidth as much as possible, will actually allow you to use this bandwidth (I have asked Cox, they have no plans on removing the caps for home users, though you could pay $300/mo to become a “business” and have the caps removed, but you still cannot sell the connection, or have any hope of recovering the $3,600 a year for internet connectivity for a home user…)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

No, they’ll probably cap the hell out of it of course….just noting it’s far more likely to see higher cable speeds than see the bells get off their regulatory stalling tactics….

Besides, what companies like BellSouth will be pushing is FTTP, NOT FTTH…..FTTP with a copper last mile….

This DSLPrime story explores it a bit:

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