BT creates C-RAN using copper G.fast, shows promise of a faster mobile internet

BT has claimed a "world first” – it has successfully used G.fast technology to deliver C-RAN (Cloud Ratio Access Network) cellular service over copper.

It is being said that the new technology might find its use in 5G, as the future cellular network will require a higher data capacity, which is where C-RAN might come in handy. We won’t see 5G in action before 2020 or even 2022, though.

The problem with C-RAN networks, however, is that they usually require a dedicated fibre optic link and, as you might expect, not everyone has access to fibre. That’s why BT, together with Cavium, tested if C-RAN could be fuelled by G.fast. At a facility in BT’s Adastral Park Labs facility in Ipswich, the two companies have shown that it can deliver data over copper lines at speeds of 150-200Mbps.

The exact speed is left unknown.

Dr Tim Whitley, MD for Research & Innovation at BT said: “Using G.fast to deliver a cellular network is an exciting breakthrough for C–RAN and yet another world first for our team of researchers at Adastral Park.

“These technologies will play a key role in 4G networks and will be fundamental to 5G architectures. The trials are another step towards a fixed and mobile network which will support customers’ increasing demands for data.”

“We are very excited to collaborate with BT, using Cavium OCTEON Fusion–M™ basestation and ThunderX® server processor technology to validate this new class of Radio Access application with G.fast technology.” said Raj Singh, General Manager of Cavium’s Wireless Broadband Group.

“Our successful testing has laid the groundwork for enabling LTE deployments today and 5G deployments in the future using G.fast.”