Chinese telcos may not plan to embrace NG-PON2 in the foreseeable future, but component prices are dropping and making the next-generation passive optical network technology more attractive. Yet even without the huge volume price discounts associated with widespread adoption by Chinese providers, NG-PON2's capabilities make this a solution well worth the price of admission, especially for operators with both wired and wireless offerings.
It's these strengths that will generate NG-PON2 sales of $204 million in 2022 compared with $5.9 million in 2017, according to Dell'Oro Group. (See Next-Gen PON: $7B Market by 2022.)
"Ultimately, NG-PON2 is expected to be a multi-service infrastructure enabling network operators to collapse diverse service platforms into one," wrote Derek Nesset, research director at Huawei, in NG-PON2 Technology and Standards. "NG-PON2 must be highly scalable, flexible, reliable and efficient in both bandwidth and power consumption."
The standard -- based on tunable wave-division multiplexing (TWDM) -- supports speeds of 80 Gbp/s downstream and 10 Gbp/s upstream across a distance of 80 km, with synchronous speed of 100 Gbp/s across more than 100 km expected by 2025 at the latest.
Because it uses wave-division multiplexing (WDM) channel separation, service providers can upgrade to NG-PON2 while simultaneously serving customers; in other words, there's no disruption so there's zero impact on service level agreements or customer experience or need to provide advance notification that most likely will irk at least some subscribers.
Since Gartner predicts there will be a major Internet outage impacting more than 100 million users for more than 24 hours between December 2017 and 2022, it's imperative for all providers to continue the pursuit of communications-worthy technologies, even as they aptly adopt open source standards- and cloud-based approaches to development and operations.
The Poster Company for NG-PON2?
As an executive at Verizon, Lee Hicks speaks frequently about NG-PON2 and its benefits.
From day one, operators from around the world agreed NG-PON2 must co-exist with prior iterations of PON such as GPON, EPON and XGS-PON and be compatible with existing optical distribution networks (ODNs) consisting, typically, of fiber and optical power splitters found in outside plants such as ducts and poles.
But perhaps the biggest benefit is NG-PON2's innate ability to enable operators to converge all services -- such as residential, mobile, business and more -- onto one network. That ultimately spreads network infrastructure costs across all customers, from cost-sensitive home and SOHO subscribers to services-hungry corporations and cutting edge leaning entrepreneurs and verticals.
Operators also can manage wavelength assignments from the central office, moving end users to different wavelengths to save energy during off-peak hours or rebalance bandwidth.
It's also an approach to consider for partnerships, whereby operators can share a network and split wavelengths with each other, customers or partners like communities, municipalities or government agencies.
Singular vision for one network
Essentially, NG-PON2 is a shared infrastructure platform or a single network that has multiple uses and shared costs, according to Analysys Mason. "TWDM-PON shares costs, risks and benefits between mobile, back- and front-haul, fixed broadband and enterprise -- and between digital service providers," Research Director Rupert Wood wrote in a paper.
Verizon is, obviously, the public face of NG-PON2, publicly sharing much of its work with partners ADTRAN and Calix. "There are competing 10-gig PON services but we believe most of them are interim steps and NG-PON2 is the way to go for the long-term," said Lee Hicks, Verizon vice president of network planning during ADTRAN Connect last month. "We see NG-PON2 as our universal access platform."
Others, while not yet adopting NG-PON2 today, recognize its value in the future.
"We consider the XGS-PON solution to be the most efficient technology as it will enable Swisscom to offer [gigabit service] in the future. And here we see that the next step in development is going in the direction of TWDM-PON," Heinz Herren, former CIO and CTO of Swisscom told Broadband World News shortly before he stepped down from those roles and took a seat on the telco's board.
Deutsche Telekom just signed an infrastructure project with the Gigabit Region Stuttgart, home to 174 municipalities and almost 3 million people, one of many partnerships the German operator has inked in its bid to grow revenue and business.
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