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Aussie Claims Copper Broadband now 200x Faster 208

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the alarms-going-off-in-brain dept.
SkiifGeek writes "Winner of Melbourne University's Chancellor's Prize for Excellence, Dr John Papandriopoulos could soon find himself the focus of a number of networking companies and government agencies interested in wringing more performance from existing network infrastructure. Dr John developed a set of algorithms (US and Aussie patents pending) that reduce the impact of cross talk on data streams sharing the same physical copper line, taking less than a year to achieve the breakthrough. It is claimed that the algorithms can produce up to 200x improvement over existing copper broadband performance (quoted as being between one and 25 mbit/sec), with up to 200 mbit/sec apparently being deliverable. If the mathematical theories are within even an order of magnitude of the actual gains achieved, Dr John's work is likely to have widespread implications for future bandwidth availability across the globe."
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Aussie Claims Copper Broadband now 200x Faster

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  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:48AM (#21098325) Homepage Journal
    My dreams of building a top-notch deathmatch LAN using old rolls of 1970s speaker wire from my basement could finally come true.
  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:49AM (#21098337) Homepage
    So is this like coating the series of tubes with an improved surface so that the trucks get better traction?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by arivanov (12034)
      Nope.

      I can bet that it is a reuse of the 3G MAC ideas. 3G uses multipath to improve the signal to noise ratio by filtering the signal versus delayed samples.

      Similar thing is possible with crosstalk as long as you handle all wires from the same duct in the same ASIC this usually is not the case. It will simply not work in countries where access to the copper is unbundled. In other places it will require major rewiring in the exchange.

      I would hate to extinguish the hopes of all hopefuls which think that the h
      • Re:Metaphor please (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Omnifarious (11933) <eric-slash&omnifarious,org> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:29AM (#21098783) Homepage Journal

        Your post is labeled informative, but it is so filled with jargon that is missing any nice links to references that explain it that I find it quite unhelpful.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          You must be new here.
        • Re:Metaphor please (Score:5, Informative)

          by ozmanjusri (601766) <[aussie_bob] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:48AM (#21099807) Journal
          Your post is labeled informative, but it is so filled with jargon

          I think the premise that this tech is based on 3G multicast is wrong too.

          Dr Papandriopoulos paper [ulos.org] suggests the algorithm works by iteratively lowering power, and therefore reducing crosstalk. The reduced crosstalk allows faster protocols like VDSL to be used on the copper that was previously only capable of ADSL2.

          • Re:Metaphor please (Score:5, Interesting)

            by arivanov (12034) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @11:53AM (#21100789) Homepage
            Quote from the article: one wire is wirelessly pushing its signal on to another wire (a phenomenon known as crosstalk), a microprocessor could use the noise from the crosstalk to do error correction on original signal...

            Err... That is exactly what I described (without even reading the article).

            IMHO not patentable due to being bleeding obvious. The sole reason it is not being done at present is that till recently it was impractical. You just about handled one wire with one chip. Handling a bundle and running a "cool" algo on them was simply beyond what the electronics could do.

            As far as the likelihood with 3G: 3G does something quite similar using the signal in a feedback loop. As a result echoes from buildings and reflections from earth (aka multipath) which in other technologies decrease your signal to noise ratio are used to increase the signal to noise ratio.

            For example you have the following sequence of bits: 1 1 1 0. Once you get past the first 1 you get the same sequence arriving reflected from a different source. As a result you get slightly better signal to noise on the next 1 1. After that you have a 0. It overlaps with a reflected 1. As a result you get garbled input. If you use a delay shift register and optimise where do you need to add your signal from 1,2,3,4 units of time before that to yourself you can actually eliminate this and improve your signal to noise based on reflections instead of garbling the signal. In addition to that the output of the filter is used also in guess what - power control: telling the mobile to adjust its power.

            What this chap is doing is doing the same by applying signal from wire N to the signal from wire Y as a digital filter. Which means exactly what I said - in order for this to be of any use all wires in the same bundle should be handled by the same ASIC. I should probably do the math but they should probably also run the same line protocol. If you have a third party provider running an ADSL in the middle of your "precious" DSL2 bundle this nice scheme fails.

            Pity actually, while not particularly original this is a cool way of using a well known existing way of improving signal to noise ratio (including the power control part of it).

        • Re:Metaphor please (Score:4, Insightful)

          by wsanders (114993) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @04:21PM (#21104621) Homepage
          Summary: You have to do a bunch of math, like, real fast, and it might not even work if all the signals don't go through the same thingy.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by unitron (5733)

            Summary: You have to do a bunch of math, like, real fast, and it might not even work if all the signals don't go through the same thingy.

            If I hadn't already posted to this story I'd be trying right now to figure out how to use my two remaining mod points to mod you both funny and insightful.

    • by Von Helmet (727753) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:45AM (#21098991)

      Well, if you're using like, then it's actually a simile.

      That being said, I think the appropriate metaphor for your post would be "flogging a dead horse".

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Spokehedz (599285)
      No... it's more like this:

      You have many tubes going one way, with the internet flowing through them. If one fills up (it's not a truck!) then it spills over into one of the other tubes, or sometimes if a similar amount of internet is flowing in two tubes that are next to eachother then they spill over randomly.

      Now, cross-tube-spill makes for slow internet--more so than an email from your coworker--and this guy here figured out how to send the internet through the tubes in such a way that there is no spill o
    • by rrohbeck (944847)
      >So is this like coating the series of tubes with an improved surface so that the trucks get better traction?

      Nope. Just the opposite. Lube, so the bits can slide through the tubes faster.
  • 200 mbit/sec (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FatAlb3rt (533682)
    m != M ...or is it just me? MB and Mb...let's use them correctly. [/rant]
    • m != M ...or is it just me? MB and Mb...let's use them correctly. [/rant]

      No, this guy's just finally managed to get 200 millibits per second. Get yer bits, once every 5 seconds...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by alexhs (877055)
      Actually, Aussies just discovered ADSL networking, now 200x as fast as their current POTS [wikipedia.org] network :)

      I kid, please don't bite ;)
      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        Australia is one of the first to roll out ADSL2, and my australian boss just got 2MB SDSL for less than I pay for my ADSL link over on the other side of the planet (SDSL here costs about 20x as much)... so don't be so quick with the jokes :p
  • 200x??? Hardly... (Score:2, Informative)

    by funfail (970288)
    (Up to 200 mbit/sec) / (Up to 25 mbit/sec) = 8x improvement...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Andy_R (114137)
      On the upside, this does mean that getting 'within an order of magnitude' of the claims shouldn't be too hard!
    • For us europeans, 200Mb/s would be a 8x improvement over short distance ADSL2+, but think of the poor americans who crawl at 1.5Mb/s "high speed" for twice as we pay.
    • ... the most meaningless phrase in American Marketing.

      Anytime I see "up to" in a marketing statement I interpret this as meaning "you'll never get as good as"...
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by mfnickster (182520)
        > I hate "UP TO"...the most meaningless phrase in American Marketing.

        So, it would be safe to say you've had it "up to here" with the phrase...?
  • Both linked articles are a little scarce of details, but it's an interesting concept.

    One thing though, is this the point at which companies should either get rid of the existing technologies and invest in newer, more stable, scalable and flexible telecommunications hardware & wiring? To me it is very much like the software-development stage where it's best to rewrite everything from scratch, than to patch the existing codebase (sorry, code-head, no better analogy available; sue me). Is there a risk
    • Both linked articles are a little scarce of details, but it's an interesting concept.


      Well, I would hazard a guess that this is his home page [ulos.org] and that links to a far more informative paper.
    • So, cable television exploded in availability in the 1980s. One of the major players in the cable television industry is Comcast. Comcast absorbed lots of networks as it grew. Before comcast, local cable companies would set up town-wide or county-wide networks of analog copper wire. They'd push an analog signal. Since the signal degrades, they needed a lot of repeaters and other equipment to boost the signal. They also needed lots of satellite reception points (called head-ends) to send national network inf
  • I'll believe it when I see it.
  • In other news... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:54AM (#21098395)
    PhD student advertises thesis on slashdot! News at 11.
  • Realism... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Danathar (267989) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:57AM (#21098423) Journal
    "Dr John's work is likely to have widespread implications for future bandwidth availability across the globe."

    Given what I've seen in the past and knowing how greedy telecommunications companies are, I doubt the above statement.
    • Oh, I'm pretty sure Verizon will be offering 200 Mbps connections if this all works out. They'll probably have a 5 GB per month bandwidth cap, and if you break it your account will dialed down to 512kbps or some other similar nonsense. But certainly they'll be *advertising* 200Mbps.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Had a few beers with him. Here is his homepage [ulos.org].
  • Even if this is true - and I'll allow those with a better background in this field to explain why it probably isn't - isn't this suspiciously similar to a scam from a few years back where this guy was peddling a supposedly similar gain in transmission speed over telephone lines? He had this elaborate setup to supposedly demonstrate it that he wouldn't let anyone examine closely?

    I must be remembering some of the details wrong because I can't find the article - I remember that it was on slashdot as w
    • Re:Famous scam? (Score:5, Informative)

      by femto (459605) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:14AM (#21098625) Homepage
      I know this guy though having attended conferences with him. I know he is not a scam artist. I also think he is brainy enough to do this. He is not a fly by nighter but a serious communications theory researcher with a track record. As I've just emailed to my supervisor, "It's not every day a communications theorist makes the mainstream media". John Papandriopoulos is easy to find on google.
      • by udippel (562132)
        Maybe not 'a scam artist', but a fscking good salesman of himself. I went to his home page at http://jpap.andriopo.ulos.org/ [ulos.org] and saw very much of a sales-show of oneself, much more than a home page of a scientist.
        While I was pondering about the feasibility of his undertaking, his home page made me wonder. I downloaded and read the article, and found some snake-oil.
        The article here sounds like an 'add-on', whereas the whole thing is a 'replace by'. Call it PAP-ADSL, or whatever you like. Meaning, you need ne
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by c0nehead (581714)
      Adams platform [slashdot.org].

      Also Australian. Who would have guessed it's an island full of criminals?
  • The 200x speedup is only if you consider 1Mbit broad band. My DSL provider's top plan is 6Mbit. So 200Mbit would be a 33x speedup. Modify that by an order of magnitude as the submitter states, and we're looking at a 3.3x speedup or 20Mbit. That's still a nice gain, especially considering it comes with little additional infrastructure, but it's not as wildly fantastic as the article might lead you to believe.
  • by mks113 (208282) <{mks} {at} {kijabe.org}> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:10AM (#21098577) Homepage Journal
    And we learned, in Electrical Engineering, that the theoretical maximum bandwidth for a phone line was 2400 bps.

    Using basic bandwidth calcs for voice (500 to 4000hz?) and imposing a modulated signal inside that, the distortion created by the physical arrangement of the wires would cause the limit.

    I'm glad that some people aren't scared off by theoretical physical limits.

    (That was in about 1986, A Hayes 1200 baud modem was an amazing piece of equipment and cost about $700)
    • A Hayes 1200 baud modem was an amazing piece of equipment and cost about $700

      I was a Boca Research man myself. I use to get screaming transfer rates on the local BBSs. I held the 1200 baud record for a long time on one of the more prominent systems.
      • VenTel here. My 1200 baud modem worked great until a friend of mine plugged it into his Amiga, which provides power on a couple of pins. All the magic smoke got out shortly thereafter. I remember a few years later thinking that the new 14.4K modems were PFM, and it was nice having high speeds without giving up the real estate for a Courier HST - you could just about put legs on a Courier and use it as a coffee table.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That's only true if the bandwidth is limited to 3 kHz, as it is in voice circuits.

      Plug a 3 kHz bandwidth and about 35 dB signal-to-noise ratio into the formula for channel capacity and you get about 35,000 bits per second. This is consistent with the last generation of analog modems (33.6 kb/s).

      Now if the bandwidth is not artificially limited (remove transformers, filters, bridged taps, etc.) the theoretical capacity will increase by a large amount.
    • by Detritus (11846)
      Your professor was incompetent, or you have left out some facts.

      There's a big difference between the theoretical limits on information transmission and the practical limits imposed by economics and the current state of technology. I saw 9.6k full-duplex modems in widespread use in the 1970s. They were available to anyone who could afford their steep price ($20K each).

      Shannon-Hartley theorem [wikipedia.org]

      C. E. Shannon (Jan. 1949). "Communication in the presence of noise". Proc. Institute of Radio Engineers vol. 37 (

  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:12AM (#21098585) Homepage Journal
    Geek Post Subject: Comcast Throttles Bandwidth, Breaks Contract

    Geek Post Comments: I can't believe Comcast! They promised me an unlimited 200mbit connection and all I am getting is 60mbit! I want what I paid for, who cares how fast my connection was 3 years ago! I demand my 200mbit connection, and at $50 per month!11!

    Geek Post Moderation: +5, Insightful
    • And rightfully so. If you can't handle 200mbit, don't sell 200mbit.

      When I sell something I don't have, I go to jail for fraud. Why should it be different for ISPs?
      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        It just is... no idea why. Like the way they say 'Unlimited broadband £9.99' then in a 2 point light grey on white font just off the page 'subject to fair use limit', and this so-called limit is on defined in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'

        Fraud and deception laws haven't reached the technology world, alas.
      • by Duhavid (677874)
        You need to say "up to". See, you sell an
        engine, rated at 50 hp, and you say,
        "up to 5000 hp". No fraud there now.
    • by GiMP (10923)
      Comcast just needs to set (and publish) transfer limits that are reasonable for the data plan. For instance, Comcast seems to have a 300-400GB transfer limit at the moment (although it can vary...) If Comcast raises their speeds to 200mbps but do not increase their transfer limits, customers could max out their monthly limit in only 4 hours.

      This does have me thinking about the new 17/2mbps service that I signed up for with Comcast. Does having a higher data plan increase the secret limit, or do I just pu
  • 200x faster net access, that's remarkable if its true.

    On a related note, I note that hospitals are quietly getting ready to increase their budgets for coping with an influx of wrist related repetitive strain injuries and severe myopia. Not to mention a lack of sleep.
    • by dintech (998802)
      You mean from all the people playing counter-strike, right?

      Right? :S
      • if counter strike makes you go blind, then yes.

        ..but nobody ever warned me you could go blind from too much gaming. :-)

  • by martyb (196687) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:21AM (#21098695)

    The slashdot summary and linked articles are rather short on details. A little googling located some details:

    NOTE: I did a quick skim of it and had not seen any empirical evidence of the advance; seems to be entirely theoretical. I don't mean to lessen his accomplishments, but my experience is that reality usually has unforeseen factors. I certainly hope he IS on to something here!!

    (*) I didn't know anyone used the &ltblink> tag any more. :/

  • i don't want more bandwidth - I want less latency. I have enough bandwidt to do anything I want except maybe watch HDTV real-time, and I don't care about that.

    But I hate waiting 5-10 secs for the server I cliked on to respond - partially due to all those redirects and things - but also the 120 ms across the Atlantic and 300 ms across the Pacific is a big contributor. That is like 6 times slower than the speed of light.

    Where are all those optical routers :(

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by WombatDeath (681651)
      That sounds expensive. We should probably just increase the speed of light instead.
      • by Kjella (173770)
        You shouldn't by any chance also go by the nick Q (no, not the James Bond character)?
        • If you think that changing the gravitational constant of the universe would help, I'm willing to give it a shot!
  • he has a sign, "Will Research For Bandwidth"
  • Now the telecom companies will just cut the number of lines they service and split it out to 200x as many people, effectively keeping the same speed for everyone, but cutting maintenance costs at the same time.

    And you know, if they decide to pass those savings on to the consumer, great! But I have a sneaking suspicion that they'll just keep the profits so they can broadcast "RECORD EARNINGS FOR XYZ TELECOM THIS YEAR!"
  • Sending analog and digital data over twisted pairs has been studied by Bell Labs and others for about 120 years.

    It seems a bit unlikely this one guy has made 200x of progress over what scads of EE's and Shannon and Nyquist and innumerable PHD's have worked out over the years.

  • by DrBuzzo (913503) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @01:15PM (#21101963) Homepage
    Copper isn't really as slow as it is sometimes made out to be. A good copper coax cable, like the one that delivers cable TV can easily push gigabits per second of data without breaking a sweat. Just using standard methods you can get 20gbps. With multichannel rf modulation it's a real lot. If you go to some half-decent microwave connectors you're easily talking terabits per second over a few miles. The only reason cable modem speeds are limited is that A) video takes up most of that bandwidth. Especially the analog channels. Channel 1-50 or so are analog. They eat huge amounts of space. B) you don't get your own coax run to your house, like phone wire is done. You share it with everyone else in your neighborhood.

    But that's because coax is very well shielded and has consistent impedance. Twisted pair cable can do pretty well and give you a good few gigabits per second if it's good, high quality copper and has a decent amount of shielding and good insulated and grounded splices and connectors.

    But the problem is that in practice the phone companies are mostly pushing DSL through little sipindly twisted copper which was put in for basic voice service a long long time ago. It's either not well shielded or not shielded at all. The twists are are not always very good and tight and it often is connected with spade connectors or even just stripped copper onto screw terminals. This ain't double-shielded cat-5e were talking about here. If it were, there wouldn't be nearly the issues of getting high speed data over phone lines at long distances and with good QOS.

    The one thing that gets me is that phone companies continue to put this crap in. At least SBC (Now AT&T) does. It's understandable that their existing copper lines will be a huge task to have all replaced, but when running new services, why even bother with that old crap? How much more does some good network-grade stuff cost? Whatever it does, it still costs a lot less than it will when you eventually have to yank everything out in the near future. Verizon has the idea going with fiber (although that may even be overkill). They're putting in something which they know is not going to be a limit in the future so they don't need to worry about being stuck with obsolete cable.

    The current lines are being squeezed to carry as much data as possible and that's causing problems. Hence, I do not see this as an issue of "Copper is not fast enough." It's that crappy old 2-wire phone cables are not fast enough. I really don't think that all that much more can be done with them by just trying to tweak the modulation and compression and such. It's just about hit the wall.
  • You mean like those that might be implemented in software?

    Can't wait for the anti-software patent zealots to get a hold of this!

  • Oh, that's right, you're cutting all of your copper.

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