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PON Technology, Part 2: The Future

PON Technology, Part 2: The Future

In our previous post, we discussed the fiber-to-the-premises (FTTx) PON technologies that are currently deployed, including GPON, EPON, XGS-PON, G.FAST, and more. Many of these solutions have significant limitations when it comes to supporting future bandwidth demands. In this article, we will look at the latest trends and projections in the FTTx world, as well as the next-generation PON technology and its benefits.

A Growing Market… Eventually

According to a recent Lightcounting report, the global market for all FTTx optical transceivers is expected to grow 23% to $1.6 billion over the next five years. The North American market alone is expected to double over this time horizon, although it will still only account for about 10% of the global market. These increases are driven by an anticipated increase in 10G PON deployments, which are expected to triple globally to $1.2 billion over the next five years. A Broadbandtrends report surveying network operators listed the top objectives driving deployment are the convergence of multiple services over one optical distribution network (ODN) and delivery of multiple-gigabit service to residential customers.

However, this timeline may be overly optimistic. The Broadbandtrends report indicates that many network operators are pushing their residential 10G PON deployments until at least 2020, citing cost concerns. Once deployed, 10G PON is expected to satisfy demand well into the 2020s; 25G PON is not expected to develop until 2024 at the very earliest. The developing threat of 5G wireless as a viable alternative to wired FTTx service may further adversely impact these projections.

NG-PON2: The Next Generation

NG-PON2 technology enables 40G aggregate downstream throughput of 40G via 4 lanes of 10G and an upstream rate of 10G transmission. This increased data rate will lower latency to support services from virtual reality to telemedicine. The splitting ratio is also up to 1:128, which one large service provider expects to reduce the cost per bit by 45%. Tunable PON transceivers for ONU applications will enable network operators to assign different subscriber types to different wavelengths.

Another logistical advantage to NG-PON2 is its backwards compatibility. This technology can coexist with other legacy PON technologies (as shown in the graph below), allowing for incremental deployment.

NG-PON2 and Open Networking

One of the most exciting things about 10G PON deployment is its potential incorporation of open networking technologies. One large service provider is considering countering the high capital expenditures of deployment by deploying white-box OLTs at their central office. Multiple service providers will also seek to minimize operational expenditures through using open-source software for software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) to provision new services and manage service delivery. For example, dynamic load balancing can shift high-consumption data users to a different wavelength that will not adversely affect other customers.

Despite deployment challenges, next-generation PON technology is expected to grow dramatically over the next decade to support customers’ continual demand for more bandwidth. You can learn about the components and technologies currently available here.




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