When you think of broadband, fibre is the best way to go. In Malaysia, you can get a fibre broadband plan from as little as RM79/month and with speeds of up to 1Gbps. Unfortunately, there’s still a significant number of households that are still stuck with copper-based Streamyx. It’s slow, unreliable and it costs more than a fibre subscription.
After introducing Terragraph in Penang, YTL Communications are currently testing a new technology that can deliver fibre-like speeds on copper wires.
The technology is called Giga Wire and it promises to offer gigabit speeds using existing copper cables in buildings with no wall hacking and rewiring required. All it needs is a switch in the building and provide a new CPE in the customers’ home. We are told that YTL is currently running tests in several buildings in Penang, KL and Genting, and they managed to get a download speed of 876Mbps.
Although fibre is a usual choice for backhaul, Giga Wire can still be rolled out wirelessly via Terragraph. At the moment YTL’s Terragraph network in Penang has a bandwidth of 1.7Gbps. Based on their roadmap, this will be increased to 4.6Gbps by end of this year and this is made possible with the latest chipset by Qualcomm. At 4.6Gbps, Terragraph is much better than fibre considering that it is quicker and more cost-efficient to deploy without the need of laying physical cables.
The technology itself isn’t entirely new and Giga Wire has been implemented in various countries including South Korea. According to the Giga Wire alliance website, the technology is based on ITU-T Gigabit Home Networking (G.hn) standard and it does not affect existing VDSL service. This is important as there are users on high-rise buildings that are connected to Unifi over VDSL with a maximum speed of 30Mbps.
Overall, this technology looks very promising and it has the potential to bring more Malaysians up to speed at a minimal cost. While TM has not specifically mentioned that it is looking at Giga Wire as a feasible technology to increase broadband speeds, it’s worth pointing out that the telco has numerous times in the past mentioned that it is looking at various fit-for-purpose technologies, one of which could be Giga Wire. TM has yet to offer an alternative wired solution for Streamyx in locations where fibre isn’t available.