– Qualcomm Atheros Adds Wi-Fi to the Mix
The thing about hybrid DSL/LTE broadband, about which we have been reporting, is that it could bring fast broadband to millions of residences that don’t have it — those that have only very slow basic DSL speeds of 1 Mbps or less.
We asked Lantiq about the technology to find out whether it has legs and talked with its director of product marketing for the company’s “dsLte” chipset, Matthias Kindler, about the matter. We wanted to find out whether the technology works? How widespread is the interest among telcos? Will others besides Deutsche Telekom and British Telecom be interested? Both have said they will deploy such a technology but have not said they will use gateways with Lantiq’s chips. What could LTE speeds be in areas where every home has an LTE modem, albeit in sparsely settled areas? How does Lantiq’s chipset act as the “traffic cop” to divert traffic to and from the DSL and the LTE connection. Is the chipset ready for shipping? Does it include Wi-Fi? Which version? 11n? 11ac?
Kindler said yes it has legs and quickly added that six of the world’s major telcos are seriously investigating the technology. He would not provide us the names because the company has signed a non-disclosure statement with them. One is a DSL-only operator that is interested in partnering with a cellco to offer the service — a win-win situation for both.
He said it’s difficult to say what the LTE speeds would be because LTE, like the cablecos’ DOCSIS, is a shared network. The actual speed at any given time depends on how many other residences are using the network and what they are doing — such as streaming an HD video or just using email. The operator will have to do a thorough job of network planning to ensure that subscribers get the speeds they expect. That should be in the 2 Mbps to 10 Mbps range, he said.
As to the role that the DSL connection would serve, Kindler said it could serve several because it is a more stable and reliable network. It could be used as a backup for smoothing out video streaming or for less demanding tasks such as email or browsing, which would take some of load off the LTE connection.
Telcos can offer the hybrid DSL/LTE network over their existing network infrastructure. Adding LTE to DSL would also extend the life of the telcos’ investments in their copper wire networks. It could also serve to prevent an LTE competitor from coming in and taking the subscription: “buy my LTE, get my DSL.”
It’s more about adding LTE to DSL, Kindler said, than adding DSL to LTE.
The chipset is available now, Kindler said. It is the existing AnyWan XWAY GRX Network Processor family that’s combined with a member of its existing VDSL transceiver family such as the XWAYVDSL VRX300 it recently announced for bonded VDSL.
Logo for Lantiq’s Hybrid DSL/LTE Chipset
As to acting as a traffic cop, the Lantiq chipset can be set to a telco’s specifications, in three variations: ….
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