Adtran Leads 10G Broadband Future

Adtran headquarters in Cummings Research Park, Huntsville

Huntsville-based Adtran develops software and hardware for internet service providers, and it is in the global lead in delivering the next-generation technology to help network operators build their best 10G fiber access networks.

That’s the opinion of the service providers themselves, according to a survey by Broadbandtrends.

10G PON (10Gbps Passive Optical Networking), which Adtran helped pioneer, is a computer networking standard for data links, capable of delivering shared Internet access rates up to 10 Gbit/s (gigabits per second) over existing dark fiber.

Broadbranttrends says 79 percent of carriers worldwide plan to deploy 10G PON by 2020.

We asked the experts at Adtran for some insights into this technology of the broadband future.

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What are the competitive advantages of this technology in the marketplace?

It supports highly cost-effective and scalable gigabit and multi-gigabit services delivery needed to support emerging residential and business applications as well as 5G mobile services rollout over the next decade.

Why is this technology especially important to Metropolitan Areas?

10G PON provides a tremendous competitive advantage for FTTH network operators in terms of both reduced cost and increased utility. Whether it’s providing the increased capacity to support more 50Mbps, 100Mbps and Gig broadband services across an ODN, the ability to support both business and residential service across a common network, or it’s having the marketing clout to offer 2Gbps, 5Gbps and even 10Gbps services is the face or increased Gigabit service competition 10G PON has a lot to offer over traditional PON technologies

Why is this technology especially important to 5G mobile operators and for enterprises and large institutions?

Next-generation 10G PON technology offers the scale, reliability, and flexibility to realize a future world of converged residential, enterprise, and 5G anyhaul applications. 10G PON provides improved operational profitability by supporting the convergence of many service segments across a common access network, while affording the fiber broadband provider the ability to economically deliver multi-gigabit residential services. Deploying 10G PON technology extends the life and profitability of PON network infrastructure. It has more capacity to support 4k and emerging 8k streaming video and other download services and much, much more capacity to support intensive upload services such as always on home monitoring video and emerging cloud gaming, computing. Enterprises demand symmetric bandwidth to run their applications. 10G PON unlike traditional FTTH supports symmetric services. (Up to 10Gbps both in the up and down stream directions)

In a 5G world, the macrocell environment increases by 100x or more, requiring millions of microcells. Fiber is key to support 5G densification as 5G microcells on every neighborhood lamp pole and the corner of downtown buildings. 100Mbps and Gigabit 5G mobile services to dozens of home and hundreds of devices will need a backhaul or access aggregation technology that effectively supports 2Gbps to 40Gbps of 5G microcell site backhaul capacity. 5G delivers the broadband service from the home to the microcell and the fiber infrastructure delivers the application the rest of the way.

What is driving this emerging Gigabit broadband technology, 10Gbps?

Gigabit broadband will enable us to realize the incredible benefits afforded by the tactile Internet, critical cloud services, massive industrial internet of things (IoT), smart home automation as well as augmented and virtual reality applications.

Fiber to the home (FTTH) has been and will continue to be, for the coming decades, the most capable broadband access medium providing the service provider a competitive advantage through increased differentiation or greater utility.

However, as copper, coax and wireless technologies continue to evolve, gigabit is becoming more mainstream, even a little pedestrian, and therefore, less of an advantage for the FTTH network operator.

Gfast over copper phone lines, DOCSIS 3.1 over coax TV cable and millimeter wave wireless can all support gigabit and their services are rolling out in earnest across the globe.

For many new FTTH operator entrants or expanding FTTH network operators, the choice to use next-generation 10G PON technology is as simple as having the ability to disrupt the market by offering gigabit rates as the entry level service and 2, 5 and even 10Gbps residential service rates as options. Having the ability to advertise higher speeds than those supported by competing DOCSIS3.1, 5G or Gfast market rollouts protect market share and provide differentiation versus these competing single Gigabit service offers.

Conservatively speaking, peak service bandwidth is growing at approximately 25 percent per household per year. Annual growth rates as high as 50 percent have been cited by many, but an annual growth rate of household internet usage at peak times of 25 percent (25.9% more precisely) equates to the easy to remember definition for growth: 10 times in 10 years. So around the time the European commission is reviewing its progress toward the Gigabit Society 2025 goal, the average household peak usage will grow from around 5Mbps to 50Mbps per connection. So how will today’s 1 Gig PON connection fare?

Those network operators who chose to incur a higher cost per home passed or connected by reducing the typical 64 homes shared per feeder fiber (I.E. 64 splits per PON) to 16 homes could make out fine if they need to support 50 to 100Mbps per home, but barely. Just one bandwidth-hungry business PON customer would impact the quality of experience for all of those same 50-100Mbps residential customers. Many FTTH service providers rely on lucrative business customers, especially in a world where a residential gigabit broadband service tops out at $100 per month. To support the need for bandwidth, additional FTTH innovation is required, not just further cost reduction.

FTTH operators need to be able to garner more customers, deliver higher-value services across their fiber optical distribution networks (ODN), otherwise, they will be relegated to reduced returns on their fiber ODN investment as they reduce the revenue potential per PON from 64 customers to 16 to support the 10 times growth (or more) that is forecast to choke their networks over the course of the next 10 years.

How does the technology work? What are the fundamentals of the Technology?

PON implements a point-to-multipoint architecture for delivering fiber to the home services. PON is a more scalable and cost effective fiber access architecture compared to point-to-point fiber architecture, this is because PON is point to multi-point. PON customers, typically 64 but can be as high as 256, share a single ‘feeder’ from the ISPs hub site and then by using a non-powered, aka passive, optical splitter the individual fibers are deployed to each home or business. The traditional PON technology is GPON or gigabit PON and has been deployed by FTTH service providers for over 15 years. It offers the service provider 2.5Gbps of downstream and 1.25Mbps of upstream capacity.

10G PON family of FTTH standards offer 10Gbps of downstream and 10Mbps of upstream capacity. They are ITU-T XGS-PON, IEEE 10G-EPON and ITU NG-PON2. The latter offering up to 4 wavelengths that can be bundled together to offer 40Gbps service delivery.

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