Winter 2018 Optical Connections Magazine


Next Generation FTTx PON in China

E PON & GPON shipments have been running around 100 million per annum over a similar time period which makes FTTx PON by far the largest market for optical transceivers and components. However, the FTTx PON market only started to gain significant momentum during the 2000’s when service providers globally began transitioning from older APON (155Mbps) and BPON (622Mbps) technologies to EPON (1.25Gbps) and GPON (2.5Gbps). EPON was standardised by the IEEE and based on the popular Ethernet standards protocol used in computer networking whilst GPON was standardised by the ITU, built on the success of BPON and aimed at Telecom service providers. EPON was first to volume and adopted as the leading FTTx technology in Japan. It also leveraged Ethernet Datacom optical component economies of scale to get an early market advantage but was eventually succeeded by GPON as this proved to be a more robust and flexible solution for major global telecoms operators and service providers. GPON was given a massive boost by the rapid adoption and deployment of FTTx PON in China, to the point where some Telecoms vendors switched over from EPON to GPON or deployed both technologies. By 2017 China accounted for 81% of global ONU/ONT port shipments and annually deployed well over 80 million units (Fig 1). China has dominated the FTTx PON market since the beginning of this decade for multiple and complimentary reasons. Firstly, the Chinese government encouraged the deployment of FTTx technologies via financial sponsorship and significant infrastructure planning to connect its vast population and fast- growing cities to broadband internet. Secondly, China had become the world’s factory for optoelectronics systems and components ensuring it had the supply chain in place to drive FTTx WHEN WILL CHINA TAKE THE LEAD IN 10G-PON?

Although the datacom market has been a major growth driver for optical transceivers over the last decade the largest market for optical transceivers by volume, is the FTTx market and specifically China’s domestic FTTx market, writes Christian Rookes , vice president, marketing at UK-based HiLight Semiconductor.

comparative cost of 10G-PON versus EPON/GPON and a lack of significant market demand. The IEEE and ITU have competing Asymmetric and Symmetric 10G standards that build on EPON and GPON respectively. The IEEE has 10G-EPON whilst the ITU released XG(S)- PON, in addition, the ITU also published a next generation NG-PON2 standard that aims to bring tuneable optical wavelength technology to PON. Right now, it looks like the ITU’s XG(S)-PON will again be the dominant standardised PON deployed in volume as it provides the most efficient upgrade path from GPON. Whilst some service providers in the US have committed to NG-PON2, it is yet to be seen if tuneable optical components can be manufactured cheaply and reliably enough to enable this technology to be deployed at scale. MARKET DRIVERS Whilst EPON/GPON services have been able to provide sufficient bandwidth for residential subscribers to date, the battle to

costs down and manufacture the large volumes required. Thirdly, China’s system equipment vendors became the dominant global providers of PON technologies and equipment with Huawei and ZTE continuously driving equipment and component costs down whilst innovating key component technologies. Examples of such innovations are the development of BOSA-on-Board ONUs (Optical Network Units) where the optical transceiver module is replaced by discrete BOSA (Bi- directional Optical Sub-Assembly) optics and PMD (Physical Medium Dependent) chips directly mounted onto the ONU main circuit board and replacing expensive avalanche photodiode receivers with lower cost and easier to manufacture Super TIA (Transimpedance Amplifier) receivers. TRANSITION TO NG-PON 10Gbps PON technologies were developed and standardised in the early part of this decade but so far have not been deployed in significant volume mainly due to the


| ISSUE 15 | Q4 2018

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