Nokia achieves “world first” symmetrical 10Gbps over HFC cable


news Nokia has announced that it has achieved 10 Gbps symmetrical data speeds using a traditional hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) cable system.

Calling the advance a “significant breakthrough” and a “world first”, Nokia said it managed the feat by using a prototype technology callled XG-CABLE that is based on unique access technology and applications developed by its own Bell Labs.

Effectively, the test demonstrates how existing cable networks can be used to provide symmetrical (where the network simultaneously supports equal data speeds during both uploads and downloads) ultra-broadband services.

“Achieving ‘symmetrical’ services … is a major breakthrough for the cable industry,” said Nokia in a statement.

In recent years, the need for high-speed upload services has grown significantly, due to demand for HD video uploads, real-time gaming, live streaming video and virtual or augmented reality.

Hence, Nokia said, it set Bell Labs to exploring the feasibility of delivering a symmetrical service over HFC cable systems in 2014. The lab’s work has now demonstrated that the concept – called Full Duplex DOSCIS 3.1 – is “valid and achievable”, says Nokia.

The XG-CABLE test used point-to-point cable topologies to deliver 10 Gbps symmetric data speeds over coaxial cable using 1.2 Ghz of spectrum.

If the concept proves workable in real world scenarios, it could mean that operators will be able to use existing HFC cables over the final 200 metres to provide customers with upload speeds that were previously unachievable due to the limited available spectrum.

It also offers the potential to bring ultra-broadband services to locations that were not physically or economically viable without the use of fibre to the premises (FTTP).

XG-CABLE will also provide operators with greater agility in how they use and manage their spectrum, Nokia said.

“The XG-CABLE proof of concept is a great example of our ongoing effort and commitment to provide the cable industry with the latest innovations and technology needed to effectively address the growing demand for gigabit services,” said Federico Guillén, President of Fixed Networks at Nokia.

“The proof of concept demonstrates that providing 10 Gbps symmetrical services over HFC networks is a real possibility for operators; it is an important achievement that will define the future capabilities and ultra-broadband services cable providers are able to deliver,” he added.

Dr Robert Howald, Vice President of Network Architecture at Comcast Cable, commented: “While it is still early in the development of full duplex, Nokia’s XG-CABLE proof of concept shows that multi-gigabit symmetrical speeds over HFC, as targeted in the CableLabs FDX initiative, are achievable.”

“As we continue our DOCSIS 3.1 deployments this year, this development further illustrates the power and flexibility of the DOCSIS 3.1 as a tool to deliver next-generation broadband performance,” he said.


    • You could say the same thing about ADSL2 more than 10 years ago… Yet now we’re pushing the bandwidth well and truly above what ADSL2+ could do in a best case scenario.

  1. Yeah, and 100gbps is available commercially, while 5tbps has also been proven in the lab, yet how many decades away are such technologies from being in my home? A proof of concept press release does not a generally available commercial product make.

    • Indeed. Basically HFC is late to the party. Such speeds already achieved on fibre with greater efficiency. However we can still expect the chimpanzees at GimpCo to hype it up again and then tell us next week nobody needs more than 50mbps.

      • Indeed HC…

        All good for the small number (in relation to the rest of Oz) who have HFC… yes the same HFC the FTTP haters called FAILED HFC when that suited the anti FTTP narrative… Not forgetting the associated extra costs to achieve every speed increase/increment…they conveniently ignore :/

        Yet this still (as always) pales into insignificance, when compared to what fibre can actually achieve..

        It’s a bit like an F1 team wanking about how fast their cars can go with their dopey fans beating their chests (just as the MTM Neanderthals do here) … as their F1 cars come in a dismal 20th each race.

        • All good for the small number (in relation to the rest of Oz) who have HFC…

          I guess so…if you think 17.39% is “small”.

          nbn™ needs to get RFS, and the resultant ARPU, under it’s belt fast before the whole thing gets to the point where they’ll pull the plug and hand it to Telstra for a song, and HFC/FttB are about the only quick wins they have available.

        • Yes I do TM…

          I supported the original FTTP plan because, IMO, it’s the right technology for the future and more importantly, it was a national plan (well 93%) … not a plan for just 17.39%.


          • Indeed. I think having the vast majority a single solution is the ideal.

            The reality is that any variation adds more complexity, more complexity = more dollars.

            So savings from reusing infrastructure need to be weighed against additional costs in management, maintenance etc.

          • So savings from reusing infrastructure need to be weighed against additional costs in management, maintenance etc.

            I also agree, but the management system is now a sunk cost (, so there would be no saving there unfortunately.

            It’s just another “Malcolm Landmine” that Labor will need to work around, and they may as well try to extract some value from it (if possible…the LPA economic mismanagement is systemic and very, very untransparent…I expect Labor will get caught with a lot of “issues” like this if they win).

        • I understand Rizz, but I think it makes the project more viable/profitable if they can deal with 17.39% quickly (for the medium term) and get on with the other 82.61%.

          Same applies to the MBU/FttB group as well. The way the LPA are doing it currently, they are just making a rod for their own back. Even the “much sooner” HFC will take them till H1 2018 (if it all goes according to plan, and we all know how “nbn plans” often go astray).

          We’re arguing for the same thing in the end, just coming at it from different directions ;o)

          • Also agreed… LOL.

            FTTB makes sense. Because again it will be new up to the basement point.

            The issue with HFC is that it appears a lot of that is being remediated/modified, and far from being the “fastest” to rollout we are still waiting for it to be officially commenced outside of testing.

          • I’ve never supported FTTB simply because it restricts those consumers to sub 200mbps speeds – lots of apartment dwellers are highly paid professionals who could easily benefit from fibre only speeds of 400mbps and up. G.Fast isnt approved for deployment yet and would be another costly upgrade down the track.

            You’d also end up with different classes of apartment block too, many new apartments run digital pabx’s, digital video intercomm’s and so on over cat5+ and would need FTTP to be deployed as a result.

          • The issue with HFC is that it appears a lot of that is being remediated/modified, and far from being the “fastest” to rollout we are still waiting for it to be officially commenced outside of testing.

            I suspect the Optus system may well be a write-off, but being a user of it, I know Telstra actively maintain their HFC (they are usually pretty good about the downtimes).

            I’m hoping the new CEO sticks to the same principals as David Theody, he really did transform the service side of the company.

          • I’ve never supported FTTB simply because it restricts those consumers to sub 200mbps speeds – lots of apartment dwellers are highly paid professionals who could easily benefit from fibre only speeds of 400mbps and up. G.Fast isnt approved for deployment yet and would be another costly upgrade down the track.

            It doesn’t have to be limited to “up to” 200Mbps:


            And nbn™ is looking at a rollout of it in 2017:


            As noted in the nbn™ article that they’d even use for Fttdp:

            We could deploy it in apartment buildings by simply installing new equipment into the basement. We could supply a group of houses via a Fibre-to-the-Distribution-Point model or even just a single premises if need be. There are numerous options. G.Fast really allows us to remove the need to actually enter premises to deliver ultra-fast speeds.

          • TM, G.Fast is not yet approved by ACMA for at scale roll-outs, NBN have a limited approval to trial it only.

          • @Derek O

            As it’s an approved international standard (as of last Dec), I’m not sure that it will be that much of an issue.

  2. Can anyone comment on how much of the existing HFC network infrastructure in Australia would need to be replaced to achieve such results?

    Is it just a matter of replacing the boxes at each end of the coax, or will we need new coax splitters, terminators, or potentially even a different grade of coax cable itself? (In which case you would be an idiot not to run fibre instead, given the long-term maintenance & capacity issues for coax compared with fibre)

    • Can anyone comment on how much of the existing HFC network infrastructure in Australia would need to be replaced to achieve such results?

      ZDNet had a bit of extra info about it which may answer your question:

      Nokia said it would be possible for users to be upgraded to XG-CABLE as needed, once the network’s taps and splitters were upgraded to handle DOCSIS 3.1, and more fibre to be rolled out.

      “It would not be necessary to replace an installed base of DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems, only switching out those modems where users have subscribed to new XG-CABLE services,” the company said.

      “XG-CABLE is only suitable for deployments in passive HFC networks (last amplifier or beyond). This requires fiber to be pushed deeper into the network. However, many operators are already pursuing a deep-fiber strategy.”

      • Yeah and you can guarantee this is a dedicate data only deal too there’s no idea of how well it will play with the likes of Foxtel and its ‘reserved spectrum’ for TV.

  3. It’s worth calling out from the original release by nokia their own points:

    *Technical background information
    **The XG-CABLE test used two different cable scenarios:

    ***Leveraging a point-to-point 100m coaxial drop cable, XG-CABLE was able to deliver 10 Gbps symmetric data speeds with 1.2 Ghz of spectrum
    ***Using HFC network topologies that utilize a Fiber-to-the-Last-Amplifier (point-to-multipoint coax drop) approach, XG-CABLE was able to deliver 7.5 Gbps of symmetrical data speeds.

    **Nokia Bell Lab’s XG-CABLE utilizes innovative echo canceling technologies developed by Bell Labs to achieve full duplex transmission of 10 Gbps upstream and 10 Gbps downstream simultaneously.

    Now how realistic is it really to have all houses within a 100m radius of a ‘node’ running a coax cable back to the node – that’s what’s required for the 10gbit symmetric service.

    Otherwise, as i’ve mentioned previously when D3.1 “Symmetric” developments have been mentioned on delimiter, you can see in their second scenario they’re ‘moving’ the node out to the last amplifier (ie, removing any need for upstream amplification after it gets transformed from optical back to RF.), and decreasing node sizes significantly.

    • The global telecommunications market is huge, and there will probably be some situations where this approach makes sense, but it is hard to see it competing with fiber deployments in the majority of cases.

      • Same issues with FttB and MDU’s I’d wager there’s enough apartments in USA with just cable in the walls so 100m run isn’t out of the question.

    • Re-reading comments always fascinating. Check out the few contributors, then the plethora of squealers.

      Thankfully the cost doesn’t matter arguement is now dead.

      For some time we’ve been told copper (generating billions) is “obsolete”, experiencing little innovation.

      Reusing existing infrastructure saves billions. Its capability countinue to outperform customer demand (wow, capturing majority of available revenue:-).

      • Yes thanks Richard…

        Tell us again, why such FTTP speed aren’t necessary (add download porn etc as you amazingly did just a few days ago)…

        And now exclaim with associated hard on, whoa look at those HFC stats, FTTP squealers.

        Nice work Richard, once again demonstrating why you are continually ridiculed for such contradictory, double standard, complete idiocy.

        You’re welcome.

      • Um… Did you actually reread that Richard?

        Seems to me most actually agreed with and in fact were thankful for the clarity that Ian provided.

        Not sure how this is meant to support your argument at all.

        Hey Ian. If you were doing a new Rollout of a network today, and you didn’t own the existing DS3.0 HFC network, would you build new or try and buy the other network?

        • Interesting question, and i guess the answer is “It depends”.

          If i knew the full details over the quality of the network that already existed, was able to see full maps of cable topology, knew the age and upkeep requirements of the existing system… You could budget for a build using D3.x

          If however, you were providing the service as an actual service to the australian people, it seems unfair that some would get better services than others, unless there was a real – and totally locked in contractually – requirement to upgrade in the future to the highest standard used in the rollout.

          Ie, if people were to get FTTN(VDSL2), DOCSIS 3.x,, etc… Then fine, as long as it’s a stepping stone to FTTH, which is worldwide accepted as the “End Game” technology (Even if not GPON, or even anything passive, fibre is the endgame).

          So i guess… If the price for the old network was good, ie, significantly less than buying and building new, and if the equipment was actually of value (ie, D3.x headends that are upgrade-able to 3.1, etc), and if the equipment was in good condition (in particular the coax passive components)… then maybe.

          You’d have to price up the cost of firstly buying the existing network, and then upgrading it in say 10 years time (or less) when demand increases. If the price of those two components however were any less than about 30% cheaper than a new FTTH rollout… Then you’d have to seriously consider what the value of the new rollout is, over that (10 year) transition period.

          If the economic benefits of having 100Mbit/1000Mbit to users homes can drop that 30% cost saving to under 20% (over the full period), you’d have to absolutely go with a complete overbuild of FTTH, with the option of cost saving potentially by using/acquiring (for the right price, or again just overbuild) the existing fibre networks there, which already run GPON for their distribution network to the CMTS’s…

          If the question however is would i buy a copper POTS system just to run VDSL? It would have to be cheap, to the point of almost free. You’ll be replacing that system first, compared to DOCSIS, so your ‘life’ of that copper would be less than the life of the coax in the ground. It would have to be 5 years max. That would change your financials pretty significantly.

          Lets say a piece of 100pr copper is worth $3/meter, and there’s 500 metres of it down a street. Capex cost of that copper, on a roll is $1500. Labour to put it in? Connect it to houses? Probably talking 75 houses there, connections to NTDs or first TO, probably talking two hours per house, so 150 man hours. Assuming you’re charging out at about $100/hr, installed cost comes to $16500.

          If, as some claim, the life of copper is realistically 30 years, the yearly cost, excluding any maintenance costs, is $550 a year.

          So, if i was to purchase that piece of copper with the idea of using in a FTTN network, throw some financing on top, you’d be looking at $600/yr, or $3000 total. What’s that? Roughly 18% of the “Installed” price… Why that much? Well, you see when you know that you’re going to be replacing the copper in 5 years anyway, the value of it has to go down, purely as a result of the ‘new’ limited lifespan of that cable. Everyone knows that they wouldn’t be used after 5 years anyway. What’s the worth of a cable not being used? What’s the weight of the copper? That’s your answer. About $1-2/kilo, for insulated copper wire.

          Of course the current owners of the copper pairs would cry foul… But lets be honest, if you think that they didn’t think that fibre was going to be replacing copper at all, anytime in the last 30 years, you’re kidding yourself.

          • Ok, put it this way.

            Knowing the (let’s say Telstra) HFC (which it seems you do), how long would you say that network would be able to “hold out” against a “new” FttP network?

            I’m not saying the FttP would be a “max” network (100-1000Mbps straight up), but similar to the current one where it’ll be 100/40 -> 1Gps within 1-2 years.

            My current opinion is that HFC could be viable for the next 5-10 years (as long as the backend is taken care of), but I’m open to an informed opinion that says otherwise.

            And I’d like to ask (in the spirit of disclosure) what your actual background is (no specifics, but “Worked with Telstra a lot” or “Delt with Optus a bit” or “I’ve done a lot of this overseas” is fine).

  4. We know that is not a real world test. One user is not a real world test and Foxtel would have to hand over all their channels for one user to get that at one time. For it to randomly go down for days or weeks at a time, still with no business SLA and for people in priviledged areas with their million dollar homes.

    HFC is obsolete. Seriously this guy got 40gbps over fibre in 2006. 10gbps in 2016 yeah right.

    • hehe actual Fibre standards and commercial things now allow 80Gbps over 40km range! (NG PON2) the theoretical stuff is in the TBps ranges.

      But hey it starts with C ends with a U so obviously 10Gpbs@100m is just better!

  5. More vapourware.

    1) While this has definitely been achieved, Nokia says it is ‘still considered a proof of concept.’
    2) Distance over 100m. May as well FTTP or FTTdp if you are going to have to go that close to the home. You are going to have to do a massive amount of node splits which would make this pointless.

    FTTP more reliable, faster, cheaper, PROVEN technology to 80Gbps – not some crap lab test in perfect conditions.

    • Yeah. Lab results don’t mean anything to the consumer. Give me the results to a real world test with maximum amount of users on the node at the same time. If it can still do 10Gbps then I’ll listen. It is pointless nonsense until then. Besides, why still push copper when many countries are going fibre? I guess this is why Nokia is no longer at the top.

  6. Jeez the copper fanboi’s at Nokia Labs must be getting desperate for attention pulling stunts like this – seriously lets compare this with the best comercially available fibre options shall we:

    = 10Gbs P2P over 100-200 metres
    = 7.5Gbps P2MP over 100-200 metres
    = Powered OSP: more than 400,000 Optical nodes for 5 Million premises (assuming 15 metre frontage and 200m segments)

    NG-PON2 w/ OTDM
    = 160Gbs P2MP (32 way split) over 40kms
    = Powered OSP: ZERO


  7. Just watch GimpCo (NBN) start parroting this article all over the media. They just love any chance they can get to spruik the benefits of their noodle network and this one will have them creaming their pants big time.

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