Unlocking Innovation in Fiber: The Future is 25G PON

From a service innovation perspective, there are several new use cases and services that can take advantage of 25G PON’s massive capacity.

Operational innovations

When operators first envisioned optical networks in the early 1990s, the killer application was not the Internet but video transport to the home. Slowly, as the creation and eventual control of services moved from the telecommunications operator to the over-the-top providers, the siloed operational models remained largely intact. During this time, much of the service providers’ networks were built in a highly cascaded fashion with numerous lower-speed endpoints that are increasingly aggregated further into the network and finally terminating in the core of the network.

As services moved to the edges of the network, service providers augmented their networks with various forms of compute to provide caching and analytics to ensure that the demand did not exceed the capabilities of the network. Going forward, as more of those endpoints are connected with fiber, the ubiquitous amount of seemingly “infinite” capacity with lower latency is fundamentally changing the way operators view and value their network.

One of the most significant operational transformations operators are exploiting is the combination of residential, commercial, enterprise and mobile services with compute resources over the existing architecture. This is nothing new as many of the operators have used the legacy twisted-pair and coaxial copper-based residential network to capture small- and medium-sized businesses. As we look toward next-generation applications such as the spatial Internet and Web 3.0 applications for both consumers and enterprise, those staid siloed architectures that have served their purpose for the past several decades to provide a fully vertical service offering are rotating 90 degrees and creating functional layers of network operations and capabilities. This operational transformation will allow operators to drive OPEX out of the network by collapsing services and organizational units. It also allows operators to easily introduce multi-technology access solutions such as Fixed Wireless Access and 5G densification transported by the existing access network and to bring software agility into the network by driving both network and customer workloads closer to where they are needed.

Service innovations

From a service innovation perspective, there are several new use cases and services that can take advantage of 25G PON’s massive capacity. Industry 4.0 requires connectivity solutions that deliver high performance and ultra-low latency to support real-time communications and automation that improve efficiency and worker safety, while also helping to reduce costs. 25G PON’s bandwidth, low latency and high reliability can support industrial communications infrastructure for utilities, transportation, mining, manufacturing and more. With its ability to deliver symmetrical data rates of 20 Gbps, 25G PON is also ideal for enterprises as it can support premium business services for multiple users at the same time. Service providers can deploy 25G over their existing PON network so that business network demands can be met on the same fiber initially deployed to support residential applications. The transition from fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) to fiber-to-everything (FTTx) allows service providers to generate new revenues while delivering a unified infrastructure that can connect consumers, enterprises, and industries. 

One of the significant advantages of 25G PON is its support for both fixed and mobile networks. A Nokia Bell Labs study quantified the cost benefits of FTTH technology for 5G transport. 25G PON meets the high-performance demands of 5G networks, and FTTH networks are already laid down in dense urban areas where 5G small cells are most likely to be deployed. The study showed that by leveraging these existing fiber networks, service providers can decrease their 5G transport costs by more than 50 percent when compared to traditional transport solutions. For 5G fronthaul networks, which require even greater capacity, 25G PON technology can meet the demand.

For fixed, mobile, and converged service providers, 25G PON delivers clear operational advantages. For fixed and converged service providers, 25G PON deployed as an “anyhaul” service can help them monetize their networks and generate new revenues by deploying new services to enterprises. For mobile-only providers


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