|ADSL Continues to Deliver|
During the early nineties connection to the internet was made possible through phone connection and a modem. The information that was made available to us has created a wonderful illusion and the process of getting it became unnoticeable. We were so overwhelmed by the data that we never noticed the very slow means how we got it. Until the blessing of Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) came into play, then we realized how slow the internet was. From then on, it became the battle for speed, how to get there and how to get the information that we require. The advent of mobile broadband has simply changed everything over the past few years. The wired became unwired and mobility became a factor when we chose how to connect to the internet. And as we move to next generation of computing, we begin to look at current technologies that continue to deliver like DSL, and how it would evolve to further lead us on both wired and unwired communication.
Wired to Wireless
According to research by Point Topic about the Worldwide Broadband Market in 2010, DSL accounts for about 64.76% of the overall population as their means when they accessed the internet, followed respectively by 20.2% of cable, 13.3% of fiber and 1.35% wireless. However, numerous industry experts believe that the tide is slowly turning for the copper based ADSL to some different means like wireless or to other different modes like fiber. Just like the recent report by Australian Bureau of Statistics, figures of internet activity report for the six months of 2011 showed consumers using some form of wireless service for their broadband, excluding mobile handsets, and that it surpassed the number using copper line ADSL for the first time in years. ABS found that growth in the ADSL market was almost flat, with the number of Australians using ADSL connections for their broadband reaching 4.49 million subscribers as of June up just 0.8% in six months. The number of mobile wireless internet connections increased 13% over the same period to reach 4.78m subscribers. And this is just an example of the current trend on what is happening with broadband internet across the globe.
Copper to Fiber
According to the report the global DSL equipment spending dropped sharply during the first quarter of this year, and they are quick to add that the trend is evidence that service providers throughout the world are making their switch from copper in favor of fiber. The DSL, PON and Ethernet FTTH equipment market reversed its small fourth quarter gain with a 2% decline in 1Q11, dipping to $1.96 billion worldwide. The overall market’s decline was led by a double-digit sequential drop in DSL infrastructure spending in all regions. Despite the sequential declines, the DSL equipment market is up 36% year-over-year (1Q11 vs. 1Q10). The worldwide PON market jumped 20% in 1Q11 over 4Q10, surpassing the $1.0 billion threshold for the first time ever. It was mentioned in the report that one of the markets that incurred a significant drop in spending is China, a key emerging market. But the reports also said the equipment vendor is continuing its thrust towards the copper base, and they are slowly expanding the fiber variant.
Other Modes Available
Despite recent findings regarding the slump in DSL, the transition to a newer technology would not be a monogamous one. It will not simply move from one form to the other. In fact the reason why it has flat-lined and others such as fiber have gone up is because of the availability of other modes being made available to the public. Here are some of them that are being looked upon as the new generation to replace DSL;
Cable Broadband - Cable is the other popular broadband technology. The reason why it has slowly crept into the market is that it is being bundled with cable TV and phone lines. And the best part of it is that it is above average when it comes to speed. But one significant melding of technologies between cable and DSL networks is that now both have traditional metal wires as well as fiber optics.
Fiber Optics & FTTH - Fiber is the most seen technology to replace DSL in many places. The most basic argument is that seen fiber would be the most common replacement from copper wires, thus making the data transmission over long distances much more cost effective. This is typically known as Fiber to the Home (FTTH). It makes the separate cords of television, phone and internet all on one single cord that is a super efficient optical cable.
Satellite Broadband – It is surprising to see it as a part of the alternative, but it is beginning to compete in terms of price and delivery of service. However speed is not at par with counterparts because it is about 2,048 kbit/s download and 128 kbit/s upload. The absolute high latency is understandable because of the signal coming from the satellite and no, there is no solution to this. And although its time is not a plus point of having a satellite service, it is the only broadband that can reach the farthest of all places.
Speculations of replacing DSL with new technologies are the buzz among technology analysts. However, just when everything seems to be definite, Huawei announces speed as its new forte. Just recently it announced a breakthrough in DSL technology; it announced a prototype that clocked a record of about 700Mbps called SuperMIMO technology. It enables operators to build high bandwidth, cost effective and future proof broadband access networks. The technology is the first of its kind in the world since the current rate of DSL is about 100Mbps.
In fact, You Yiyong President of Huawei's Access Network Product Line, said, "DSL technologies for broadband access are showing great market potential. As a leader in the development of DSL technologies, our newest DSL prototype demonstrates our commitment to providing customer-centric and groundbreaking solutions and services for operators to enhance their competitiveness and profitability." He highlighted that the SuperMIMO technology uses four twisted pairs to achieve a downstream rate of 700Mbps at a distance of 400 meters. He highlighted that the innovative technology methodically addresses crosstalk among multiple twisted pairs and dramatically increases DSL bandwidth by 75%, from an average of 100Mbps per twisted pair to approximately 175Mbps.
Leveraging SuperMIMO, Huawei's 700Mbps DSL prototype accommodates high-speed FTTB/FTTC access and bandwidth-hungry private line applications, such as base station access. Although the SuperMIMO is still in its prototype stage and will further be developed, Huawei is not the only company who sees the further development of DSL as the future of connections. In fact in a recent New York Times article, Hong Kong Broadband, a company based in Hong Kong, boasted of an internet connection that can deliver 1000Mbps to their FTTH service and is about $26.00 per month.
Numerous speculations arose when wireless came in; it was even seen as the future of broadband connection. However, one cannot simply dismiss the fact that speed will still be a factor in delivering the service. And when it is about speed, DSL rates cannot be brushed aside. If Huawei can deliver on its current promise, then DSL has evolved and is able to break the barrier in terms of speed. Because the future of broadband is not simply about being mobile or accessible, it is more often than not the expedited delivery, and this has been the main reason why DSL has been here with us for more than 15 years. And with Huawei, it will soon turn a new leaf.