Why G.fast interoperability is key to reaping the benefits of the ‘Gigabit Era’

With Ovum analysts forecasting that ITU’s ultra-fast copper technology, G.fast, will support nearly 29 million subscribers by 2021, interoperability between chipsets (for Customer Premises Equipment and Distribution Point Units) is a complex but absolutely vital component for the industry when deploying the technology.

This is the message that I will be delivering on behalf of the Broadband Forum at next week’s ITU Telecom World 2016 in the panel discussion: “Gearing up for Ultra-High Speed Networks,” where I will be joined by fellow panelists Reinhard Scholl, Deputy Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, and David Bessonen, Senior G.fast Engineer at Telebyte, Inc.

G.FAST BLOGThe discussion we will have is taking place at a time when consumer demand for high-speed networks, including gigabit access, is skyrocketing.

It is all very well having the technology, but if standards are not implemented from the start, there will always be limitations. That is why the work of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) and the Broadband Forum is so vital as we enter the Gigabit Era.

Why G.fast interoperability is so important

As the industry continues to embrace G.fast, its success in broadband networks absolutely depends on service providers having a wide choice of equipment and this is where interoperability comes in.

RELATED: First commercial G.fast launch in Europe

The Broadband Forum’s collaboration with the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory aims to address exactly this issue and a huge amount of work is going on at the moment to achieve true G.fast interoperability.

The Forum’s work on G.fast builds upon the progress made by the ITU-T, which approved its broadband standard designed to deliver access speeds of up to 1Gbit/s over existing telephone wires in 2014, in conjunction with the Forum’s FTTdp architecture project. ITU-T recently doubled the access speeds achievable with G.fast, raising the bar to 2 Gbit/s.

RELATED: G.fast broadband doubles in speed with ITU standard, raising the bar to 2 Gbit/s

With collaboration like this, it will be entirely possible for the industry to achieve the high-speed connectivity being sought after by consumers and we are already beginning to see evidence of this.

Demos of cross-chipset interoperability

At Broadband World Forum, in London, the world’s first cross-chipset interoperability demo took place.

A similar demonstration will be held at ITU Telecom World, where Forum member Telebyte, the leader in G.fast Physical Layer testing, will provide a live demonstration of G.fast in a real-world test environment, including products from its ID-337 solution group – based on the Broadband Forum’s ID-337 G.fast Certification Test plan.

Such work pays testament to the work of the Forum and the ITU and with this continued approach, I see no reason why Ovum’s forecast of 29 million by 2021 cannot be surpassed.

Mark Fishburn


Mark Fishburn is Director, Strategic Marketing at the Broadband Forum. Mark is also President of strategic marketing company, MarketWord formed in 2006. Previously, he was Chairman of the Board, Metro Ethernet Forum, Chairman of the Board of the 10 Gigabit Ethernet Alliance, and board member of the Gigabit Ethernet alliance and he was instrumental in the creation of the MEF’s Carrier Ethernet, CE 2.0 and 2014 strategies. He has won more than 25 industry awards and studied BSc. Special Mathematics at the University of London.

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