Something new is on the way for users of phone-based Internet!
It’s called G.fast, and could help speed up your Internet connection considerably.

Like a lot of tech advancement, this new standard uses existing hardware in a new and awesome way…. something like the amazing jump that happened between Plain-Old Telephone Service (POTS) 56K dial-up, and DSL back in the late 90’s.  Suddenly, the same old wire had a whole new use.

So, here we are again, seeing how much Internet juice we can squeeze out of that copper wire.

FTTN
How fibre-optic Internet commonly works right now
(Source: bell.ca)

 

Currently, Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) in Toronto, like Bell, are able to deliver the Internet to neighbourhoods using an extremely fast high-capacity fibre-optic network (sometimes called the backbone).  The fibre-optic cable they used is specialized to carry a whole bunch of signals all at once, making sure that we can all enjoy those YouTube videos of cats attacking with printers.

The real challenge is the home stretch between the super-high-capcity fibre-optic cable that in your neighbourhood, and your house.

Stringing fibre-optic cable from the high-capacity backbone to your house is pricey.

So, right now, different options are being used by ISP’s (usually, they just use the old-school DSL/ADSL).  This is sad, because a lot of potential speed is lost between your house and the fibre-optic backbone.


Enter G.fast!

 

According to D-Link’s website, G.fast (or “G.Fast”, as they call it), “promises to provide theoretical aggregate upstream and downstream capacity of up to 1Gbps at distances of up to 500m using existing copper phone line infrastructure.”  (You can read more here).

That’s super-cool!

But, it’s not all sunshine & lollipops.  There is a small catch for the developers of this technology.  FM radio!
Yep.  G.fast works in and around the FM radio frequencies.
So, without some serious ingenuity, you’d have to choose between awesome Internet, and listening to the CBC Radio One on your kitchen radio.  Eep!

Still…the Internet Telecommunications Union (the ITU) – is working hard at standardizing the technology, with a possible roll-out in 2015.  So, Toronto may see something like this in 2016 or so.
(By the way, no technician visit will be necessary in order to enable the technology.  Cool, huh?).

The real question: What funky/friendly brand name will Bell use for this technology?

…And now, a video!  It’s arguably a little dry.  But it’s primary evidence.  And my Master’s thesis advisor would be smiling to know that I’m including it:

G.fast: A Face-lift for DSL & ASDL is on the way
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