Wednesday, December 6, 2023

You don’t need fiber: they achieve speeds of 1 Gbps with the archaic copper cable of ADSL

The copper cables that the United Kingdom has used in much of its territory for decades could support an internet connection three times greater than what they currently offer. This would make it possible to dispense with expensive fiber optic cabling installations, according to a new study led by Dr. Ergin Dinc and his team at the University of Cambridge. The researchers also assure that this finding would also improve the Internet connection in those countries that use “twisted pair” copper cables for telephone lines. The solution they offer, however, has some drawbacks.

Invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1881, “twisted pair” (TP) cables have been in use in the UK and other European countries since the 19th century, and are made up of different copper wires that are linked together in a twisted fashion. propeller Braided conductors, in particular, offer higher data throughput, and they are capable of canceling out interference and crosstalk from other nearby cables. It therefore allows the possibility of connecting different systems, such as telephones or computers, through the same cable.

Currently, “twisted pair” copper cables can reach speeds below 1 GHz. The group of researchers, however, assures that in optimal conditions these can go up to 5 GHz. “The standard twisted pairs used in the UK can be used up to a carrier frequency of 5 GHz without any radiation effect and this upper limit can be moved to higher frequencies by decreasing twist lengths,” details Dr Ergin Dinc in their study published in the journal Nature. Dinc estimates that, at short ranges, broadband speeds with “twisted pair” cables can be up to 3 Gbps.

Copper cables with broadband speeds will not be able to replace fiber optics

Copper cables |  Optical fiber
Image: Unsplash.

The team of researchers hopes that this finding will serve to adapt the high-speed Internet connection in those places where the installation of fiber optic cables can be complicated or very expensive. For example, in old towns or historic areas. However, the possibility of browsing at speeds higher than those currently offered by copper cables does not seem to work as a definitive alternative to fiber optics. Mainly because fiber cables are capable of transmitting hundreds of terabits per second at much longer distances.

Broadband connection on “twisted pair” cabling, however, could serve as a temporary solution, while telecommunications companies continue to advance in the installation of fiber optic infrastructures. As Dr. Ergin Dinc has assured Daily Mailthis process could take “between 15 and 20 years to reach all households in the United Kingdom”.


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