Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Comparison of Technologies

Article
The availability of different broadband technologies is an important factor for a fast and qualitative expansion of broadband infrastructure, meeting different local needs occurring form topography and population structure.
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With DSL, cable access, the optical fibre technology, radio broadcasts and new mobile standards, a variety of technologies is available on the market that ensure reliable broadband services. However, it is important to chose a technology that is best for the individual region.

 

 

Down-Upstream Rate(1)

Efficiency range(1)

Infrastructure architecture

Suitability 

Future of the technology

Wired Broadband Technologies

ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+

24/1 Mbps 5 km
  • internet access by transmitting digital data over the wires of a local telephone network copper line terminates at telephone exchange (ADSL) or street cabinet (VDSL)
  • Vectoring: Elimination of cross talks for higher bandwidths
  • G.Fast: Frequency increase up to 212 MHz to achieve higher bandwidth
  • use of existing telephone infrastructure
  • fast to install small efficiency range due to the line resistance of copper connection lines
  • 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

VDSL, VDSL2, Vectoring

100 /40 Mbps1 km

G.Fast

500/500 Mbps250 m 

CATV

200/100 Mbps(4)2-100 km(2)
  • coaxial cable in the streets and buildings; fibre at the feeder segments
  • network extensions to provide backward channel functionality
  • use of existing cable television infrastructure
  • fast to install high transmission rates
  • Further implementation of new standards (DOCSIS 3.1) will allow to provide higher bandwidth to end-users

Optical Fibre Cable

1/1 Gbps

(and more)
10-60 km
  • signal transmission via fibre
  • distribution of signals by electrically powered network equipment or unpowered optical splitters
  • 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)
  • next generation technology to meet future bandwidth demands

Wireless Broadband Technologies

LTE (Advanced)

100/30
(1000/30) Mbps(3)

3-6 km

  • 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
  • highly suitable for coverage of remote areas (esp. 800 MHz)
  • quickly and easily implementable
  • shared medium limited frequencies
  • commercial deployment of new standards with additional features (5G) and provision of more frequency spectrum blocks (490 - 700 MHz)
  • meets future needs of mobility and bandwidth accessing NGA-Services

HSPA

42,2 / 5,76 Mbps3 km

Satellite

20/6
Mbps 
High
  • highly suitable for coverage of remote areas
  • quickly and easily implementable
  • run time latency asymmetrically
  • 30 Mbps by 2020 based on next generation of high-throughput satellites

Wi-Fi

300/300 Mbps300 m
  • inexpensive and proven
  • quickly and easily implementable
  • small efficiency range shared medium
  • increased use of hotspots at central places 

WiMAX

4/4 Mbps60 km
  • gets continually replaced by Wi-Fi and LTE

Source: Analysis Mason 2012: "Policy orientations to reach the European Digital Agenda targets"

Legend: 

1 Technical standard max.

2 Depends on amplification

3 Depends on the frequency spectrum used

4 EuroDOCSIS 

 

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