It works and is deployed in dozens of places, including British Telecom and AT&T. T reports typical speeds of 750 megabits, up and down combined. The highest speeds go less than 150 meters, which is fine for fiber to the basement. In 2018, 212 MHz chips will double that speed. Plans include 10M homes passed by BT and a million at nbn Australia.
More cells, more antennas, more spectrum are the three major tools for adding capacity. To begin:
Adding antennas is usually the cheapest choice in 2018. Nearly every telco is going to four (4x4 MIMO.) Adding spectrum is very attractive when you have some unused but expensive if you have to buy it. Adding cells was the approach before LTE-A in 2014 permitted aggregation. Since then, tower building has almost stopped in the developed world. Any upgrade should include 256 QAM, more bits per Hz.
In a shrinking market, growth requires finding new customers. Adtran has been remarkably successful, beginning with a splash in Europe at DT. They've built a surprisingly strong presence in U.S. cable, mostly unannounced. Now, they've cut a deal with CCS to offer microwave backhaul for wireless to the rooftop, a promising market.
Fiber to the basement + G.fast is finding a large market, including AT&T. In many locations, it will prove cheaper to use Wireless To The Rooftop, WTTR. That was the strategy Google planned when they bought Webpass, although they remain in near-stealth mode. Most G.fast is backhauled with 2.4 gigabit GPON, so the 5 gig microwave from others now available has the capacity. The CCS units are small. as you can see in the picture. Huawei tells me they are ready to bond 5 gig mmWave for 10 & 20 gigabits.
ASSIA, known for DSL optimization, has now announced they are supporting Telefonica Latin America on GPON fiber as well.
Jun Zhang, deputy chief engineer of China Telecom Shanghai, was surprised when this New York reporter called him and his colleagues heroes. They have connected directly to fiber more than 272M homes, twice as much as the entire rest of the world.
There are well over 300M homes passed. 92% of urban homes are covered by fiber. Cities like Shanghai are close to 100% covered. Nearly all the fiber build was done in five years. Prices are relatively low. I am not blind to the authoritarian Chinese state, but I can also admire the achievements.
LTE is approaching 1 billion users, with speeds constantly increasing. China Mobile is among the top four in 5G mmWave plans and the second to embrace Massive MIMO.
Huawei has delivered a testable 50G unit to China Mobile and passed testing at the European Advanced Networking Test Center.
They also offer a 100 gigabit unit with four 25 gigabit devices. A 2 x 50G unit is planned that will be air-cooled.
Verizon has chosen 40 gigabit NG-PON2 for small cell backhaul, but most other carriers are choosing ten gigabits. Verizon has been testing NGPON2 from Calix and Adtran for a year and is now deploying hundreds of 5G small cells.
Softbank was startled by large signups for fixed wireless in Tokyo, a city with almost 100% coverage of fiber home. T-Mobile in Austria has also seen a trend.
The new customers were primarily young. They wanted a service they could take with them if they changed apartments. The fiber connects and reconnects are a headache.
Softbank has nominal speeds of hundreds of megabits and practical speeds of at least a couple of dozen megabits in most of Tokyo. That is enough for most people, most of the time.
AT&T is fibering 3M homes/year. Telefonica doing millions in Brazil and most of Spain. France Telecom is well along and nearly all of Portugal covered. Bell Canada recently decided to speed up fiber because cable was killing them.
After a year of political wrangling, state-owned Algérie Telecom has signed a contract with Huawei and is ready to go. The initial contract is 1M homes servable, with a plan to go to 3M. Wireless networks spread incredibly rapidly and now fiber (mostly backbone) is also building.
What's most important to me to explore as I go to five events, Berlin to Hangzhou?
What technologies to connect the next four million?
Massive MIMO may be a key tool, but of course, anything that brings down the price is crucial. Interesting choices with Wi-Fi.
How many will switch from landlines to wireless as wireless speeds pass 100 megabits?
Capacity is critical, today only 5 gigabytes to 25 gigabytes most places. Free in France, selling 100 gigabytes for $24 points to the future, but that's less than half today's average consumption. Telstra is seeing a modest trend and 5-15% is common. Will that accelerate with better wireless?