Siemens researchers have developed technology that increases the speed of passive optical broadband connections to the home or office. The new technology also expands the radius of coverage.

The team of researchers, sponsored by the EU, achieved downstream transmission rate of 10Gbit/s and upstream speed of 2.5Gbit/s over a passive optical access network.

By comparison, current gigabit passive optical network (GPON) technology supports downstream data rates of 2.5Gbit/s and upstream rates of 1.2Gbit/s.

In addition, the researchers were able to extend the distance between the hub and subscribers, the equivalent of the "local loop" in copper networks, from 20 kilometres to 100 kilometres. The number of subscriber lines per splitter, where the optical signal is divided up to serve more destinations, was also expanded from 64 to 512.

Numerous operators are keen to deploy high-speed broadband access systems that offer far greater speed than DSL technology, which uses existing copper twisted pairs to provide data rates of up to 50Mbit/s, Siemens said. Services such as VOD and HDTV (high-definition TV) perform best when delivered over fibre-optic subscriber lines.

At the same, new GPON systems eliminate the need for aggregation devices commonly used to collect and distribute data traffic locally. In the future, operators will be able to connect subscribers directly to the core network, Siemens said.

Earlier this year, Siemens researchers achieved a transmission speed of 107Gbit/s over a single fibre

Siemens has developed a new transmission and receiving system that is able to process data directly before and after its conversion into optical signals using electrical processing only. Current systems handling very high data rates have to split signals into multiple lower data-rate signals and later reconvert them from optical to electrical, a process that adds to costs and reduces network capacity.