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Broadband: Technology comparison

A comparison of broadband technologies presents features of each solution and helps decisions on the best solution for different regions.

Full FTTH coverage for three rural villages in Drnje, Croatia
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With DSL, cable access, the optical fibre technology, radio broadcasts and new mobile standards, a variety of broadband technologies are available on the market that ensure reliable broadband services. However, it is important to choose a technology that is suitable for the individual region. Below, the main characteristics of each technology are summarised. An overview table allows for quick comparison at a glance.

Wired Broadband Technologies

ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+

Downstream/Upstream rate: 24/3 Mbps

Efficiency range: 5 km

Infrastructure Architecture: internet access by transmitting digital data over the wires of a local telephone network copper line terminates at telephone exchange

Suitability: use of existing telephone infrastructure; fast to install; small efficiency range due to the line resistance of copper connection lines

VDSL, VDSL2, Vectoring, 35b Supervectoring

Downstream/Upstream rate: 250/40 Mbps

Efficiency range: 1 km

Infrastructure Architecture: internet access by transmitting digital data over the wires of a local telephone network copper line terminates at street cabinet (VDSL); Vectoring allows elimination of cross talks for higher bandwidths.

Suitability: use of existing telephone infrastructure; fast to install; small efficiency range due to the line resistance of copper connection lines

Future of the technology: further speed and range improvements by enhancing and combining new DSL-based technologies (phantom mode, bonding, vectoring); bridge technology towards complete fibre optic cable infrastructure

G.Fast

Downstream/Upstream rate: Gbps bandwidths possible

Efficiency range: 100 m

Infrastructure Architecture: G.Fast: Frequency increase up to 212 MHz to achieve higher bandwidt

Suitability: use of existing telephone infrastructure; fast to install; small efficiency range due to the line resistance of copper connection lines

Future of the technology: further speed and range improvements by enhancing and combining new DSL-based technologies (phantom mode, bonding, vectoring); bridge technology towards complete fibre optic cable infrastructure

CATV & DOCSIS

Downstream/Upstream rate: 1 Gbps/200 Mbps

Efficiency range: 2-100 km

Infrastructure Architecture: coaxial cable in the streets and buildings; fibre at the feeder segments. Network extensions to provide backward channel functionality

Suitability: use of existing cable television infrastructure; fast to install; high transmission rates

Future of the technology: Further implementation of new standards (DOCSIS 3.1 & 4.0) allow provisions of higher bandwidth to end-users

Optical Fibre Cable

Downstream/Upstream rate: 10/10 Gbps (and more)

Efficiency range: 10-60 km

Infrastructure Architecture: signal transmission via fibre; distribution of signals by electrically powered network equipment or unpowered optical splitters

Suitability: highest bandwidth capacities; high efficiency range; high investment costs; bandwidth depends on the transformation of the optical into electronic signals at the curb (FTTC), building (FTTB) or home (FTTH)

Future of the technology: Next generation technology to meet future bandwidth demands

Wireless Broadband Technologies

LTE (Advanced) (4G)

Downstream/Upstream rate: 300/75 Mbps

Efficiency range: 3-6 km

Infrastructure Architecture: mobile devices send and receive radio signals with any number of cell site base stations fitted with microwave antennas; sites connected to a cabled communication network and switching system

Suitability: highly suitable for coverage of remote areas (esp. 800 MHz); quickly and easily implementable; shared medium; limited frequencies

Future of the technology: commercial deployment of new standards with additional features (HSPA+, 5G) and provision of more frequency spectrum blocks (490 - 700 MHz); meets future needs of mobility and bandwidth accessing NGA-Services

HSPA/HSPA+ (3G)

Downstream/Upstream rate: 42,2 / 5,76 Mbps, 337 Mbps / 34 Mbps

Efficiency range: 3 km

Infrastructure Architecture: mobile devices send and receive radio signals with any number of cell site base stations fitted with microwave antennas; sites connected to a cabled communication network and switching system

Suitability: highly suitable for coverage of remote areas (esp. 800 MHz); quickly and easily implementable; shared medium; limited frequencies

Future of the technology: commercial deployment of new standards with additional features (HSPA+, 5G) and provision of more frequency spectrum blocks (490 - 700 MHz); meets future needs of mobility and bandwidth accessing NGA-Services

5G

Downstream/Upstream rate: 10/1 Gbps

Efficiency range: 3-6 km

Infrastructure Architecture: mobile devices send and receive radio signals with any number of cell site base stations fitted with microwave antennas; sites connected to a cabled communication network and switching system

Suitability: high achievable data rates; low latency; high reliability; higher frequency bands; advanced multi-antenna transmission; handling of extreme device densities; flexible spectrum usage

Future of the technology: meets future needs of mobility and bandwidth accessing NGA-services; enables connectivity for a wide range of new applications

Satellite

Downstream/Upstream rate: 30/10 Mbps

Efficiency range: High

Infrastructure Architecture: mobile devices send and receive radio signals with any number of cell site base stations fitted with microwave antennas; sites connected to a cabled communication network and switching system

Suitability: highly suitable for coverage of remote areas; quickly and easily implementable; run time latency; asymmetrical

Future of the technology: 30 Mbps by 2020 based on next generation of high-throughput satellites

Leo Satellites

Downstream/Upstream rate: Signal distribution to user via WiFi/LTE/HSPA

Efficiency range: --

Infrastructure Architecture: mobile devices send and receive radio signals with any number of cell site base stations fitted with microwave antennas; sites connected to a cabled communication network and switching system

Suitability: reduced latency; affordable internet access possible; controlling by the necessary ground stations of non-stationary flying satellites is very challenging

Future of the technology: internet service for very rural and remote areas possible

INTERNET balloons

Downstream/Upstream rate: Signal distribution to user via WiFi/LTE/HSPA

Efficiency range: --

Infrastructure Architecture: mobile devices send and receive radio signals with any number of cell site base stations fitted with microwave antennas; sites connected to a cabled communication network and switching system

Suitability: currently in a testing phase; challenging controlling; controlling by the necessary ground stations of non-stationary flying balloons is very challenging

Future of the technology: internet service for very rural and remote areas possible

Wi-Fi (802.11n) (IEEE 802.11ad)

Downstream/Upstream rate: 600/600 Mbps (802.11n); 6.7 Gbps (IEEE 802.11ad)

Efficiency range: indoor 70/ outdoor 250 m (802.11n); 3.3 m (IEEE 802.11ad)

Infrastructure Architecture: mobile devices send and receive radio signals with any number of cell site base stations fitted with microwave antennas; sites connected to a cabled communication network and switching system

Suitability: inexpensive and proven; quickly and easily implementable; small efficiency range; shared medium

Future of the technology: increased use of hotspots at central places

WiMAX (IEEE802.16e)

Downstream/Upstream rate: 6/4 Mbps; 70 Mbps (IEEE802.16e)

Efficiency range: 60 km

Infrastructure Architecture: mobile devices send and receive radio signals with any number of cell site base stations fitted with microwave antennas; sites connected to a cabled communication network and switching system

Suitability: inexpensive and proven; quickly and easily implementable; small efficiency range; shared medium

Future of the technology: gets continually replaced by Wi-Fi and LTE and plays therefore no significant role anymore; further developments are therefore not expected

Lifi

Downstream/Upstream rate: max. 224 Gbps

Efficiency range: several meters

Infrastructure Architecture: mobile devices send and receive radio signals with any number of cell site base stations fitted with microwave antennas; sites connected to a cabled communication network and switching syste

Suitability: only delivers communication over short ranges; low reliability; high installation costs; cheaper than Wi-Fi; only effective and permanent within closed rooms

Future of the technology: useful in electromagnetic sensitive areas such as in aircraft cabins, hospitals and nuclear power plants without causing electromagnetic interference

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