Optical Connections Magazine and ECOC Exhibition Show Guide

The latest industry news featuring an ECOC Exhibition supplement




25G PON The future of broadband? | p12

AGILE INVENTORY Supporting fibre growth | p6

BEST PRODUCTS OF 2020 Real game changers? | p8


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Welcome to the ECOC 2020 edition of Optical Connections. Uppermost in most people’s minds at this time of year is usually the impending end-of-year public holidays. However, 2020 has certainly been a year of massive uncertainty and change, and the fibre optic communications industry has not escaped. Trade expo’s, the industry’s chance to meet together, network and do business face to face, have either been postponed or moved online. Indeed, ECOC 2020 is no exception and will be available live online 7th – 9th December (see page 20). In this issue, we preview the virtual ECOC 2020 Conference and Expo, including the ever-popular Market Focus and the inaugural ECOC Exhibition Industry Awards, implemented to celebrate 25 years of the ECOC expo. Indeed, this issue of Optical Connections is the ideal companion as you browse the booths, virtually network with industry leaders and attend Market Focus sessions from the comfort of your own home or office. Also in this issue, Nokia’s Ana Pesovic, argues that the next step for broadband, if development is to be maintained, and operators can unlock the ultimate network convergence and deliver any service without compromise, fibre networks need to take the next step and go beyond 10Gbps and take a serious look at 25G PON. With the move towards relacing legacy copper transport networks along with FTTx, much emphasis has been placed on the component parts of such networks; the transceivers, the cables and all the other hardware involved in building and operating a fibre optic communications network. However, without a means of keeping track of the location and status of every single component, the operator would have great difficulty in managing their fibre rollouts, ensuring effective operations and agile business and service delivery. In a thought-provoking feature, director of international business development at Cross NI Peter Kern explores the reasons for the upsurge of interest in fibre, explains key challenges the industry faces in delivering fibre efficiently – and provides case studies that highlight an optimised, agile approach. We also look back at some of the more notable news and business announcements from 2020 along with some of the outstanding new products launched during the year, as well as the very latest industry and product news. ECOC has been the premiere fibre optic communications trade show for the last 25 years and it is our fervent belief that this year’s event will maintain the standard. The team at Nexus Media Events hope you enjoy virtual ECOC 2020 and wish you a safe and successful coming year and hopefully, meet in person at ECOC 2021. ECOC 2020: JUST AS GOOD ONLINE


Industry News


Peter Kern Network Inventory


2020’s Top products

10 2020’s Top News

12 Ana Pesovic 25G PON

14 Peter Dykes

ECOC Preview

16 Product Focus

18 ECOC Show guide

Peter Dykes Contributing Editor, Optical Connections

READ ONLINE/SUBSCRIBE: www.opticalconnectionsnews.com FOLLOW US @opsonsnews


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Coherent pluggables to transform optical transport market by 2024

The adoption of coherent pluggable optics will accelerate in 2021 as new technologies reach the market, according to the latest Transport Applications Report from networking component and equipment market research firm Cignal AI. It says fourth-generation coherent will extend beyond 400ZR to include higher performance solutions generally referred to as 400ZR+ and lower speed 100Gbps (100ZR) targeted at the metro edge. “Standardized pluggable coherent optics, coupled with open line systems and network control, will represent a major change in network design,” said Andrew Schmitt, directing

• Traditional 100Gbps coherent shipments declined, as Chinese vendors continue to move to 200Gbps speeds in proprietary pluggable and non- pluggable formats. • Compact Modular sales grew much faster than the overall market this quarter as disaggregation continues to gain traction in networks outside of Cloud & Colo. • Ciena’s market share of Compact Modular flattened as Infinera, Huawei, and ADVA sales ramp. • Packet-OTN sales grew outside of NA. Spending remains focused in APAC, accounting for over 60% of worldwide sales this quarter.

some standalone optical equipment, but new applications such as metro-edge connections for enterprises and 5G represent the largest near- term opportunity. Other key findings in the 2Q20 report include: • 400ZR, 400ZR+, and 100ZR should enable roughly a third of metro and long-haul connections by 2024, and significantly transform network design. • Global shipments of 400Gbps coherent doubled from last quarter and are now Ciena’s #1 product. Shipments from other vendors such as Infinera and Cisco have yet to reach large volumes.

analyst for Cignal AI. “This shift will begin in earnest in 2022.” After cloud operators initially provided a business case for 400ZR to component suppliers, those suppliers then designed and adapted products to address broader use cases such as higher performance 400Gbps and pluggable 100Gbps coherent. Incumbent, Wholesale, and Cable MSO operators still account for most of the global optical transport spending, and these operators will determine what role the new pluggable coherent optics will play in their networks. Cignal AI anticipates that pluggable coherent will cannibalize

Infinera brings XR Optics to IOWN global forum

network architectures with its solutions, including its much-vaunted XR optics technology, launched at ECOC 2019. Infinera’s XR optics, the industry’s first point-to-multipoint coherent optical subcarrier aggregation

the next-generation communications infrastructure to help create a smarter, more

Infinera has joined the Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) Global Forum, a consortium formed by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), Intel Corporation, and Sony Corporation to collaborate on innovations to enable next-generation networks in key areas such as photonics, computation, and network infrastructure. Infinera will play a pivotal role in contributing to IOWN Global Forum to help shape the future of

networks,” said Dave Welch, founder and chief innovation officer, at Infinera (pictured). “The ability to help transform optical networks is a tremendous opportunity. We look forward to introducing XR optics and other innovations to the IOWN community and collaborating on how next-generation technologies can pave the way to an advanced optical architecture for the 21st century.” IOWN Global Forum was established to define

connected world for billions of people. To achieve this vision, IOWN Global Forum will collaborate with companies like Infinera to accelerate new technologies that will improve network infrastructure with advanced capabilities of low-power consumption and ultra-wide bandwidth by leveraging photonics- based cutting-edge technologies.

technology, will be the first of Infinera’s

innovations to contribute to IOWN Global Forum’s development. “Optical technologies are at the heart of cost- effective, low-power, scalable solutions for next- generation communication





UK Broadband industry surprised by government spending review

pandemic has amplified the digital divide, with many households forced to work and study from home and struggling with substandard broadband. Levelling up in terms of broadband infrastructure is not a case of north versus south, but rather harder-to-connect communities versus major conurbations where the build economics look far more impressive. We’re making great inroads in getting the full fibre show on the road but we - and other infrastructure providers - still have more to do to be ready for the government’s ‘Gigabit for everyone’ grand opening in 2025. Without a doubt, Gigabit-capable broadband connectivity is going to be an essential building block in the UK’s educational and economic renewal.”

businesses in the UK. For those rural and remote areas of the UK where the commercial cost of connecting premises is considered to be too high, subsidies from government are to be provided. For more than a year the sector has been told that £5 billion would be allocated to ensure no homes and businesses were left behind in the gigabit digital revolution. However, the Chancellor’s Spending Review allocating just £1.2 billion in the period to 2021-25 came as a surprise to all in the industry. Evan Wienburg, CEO of challenger altnet Truespeed commented, “While the Chancellor hasn’t focused on additional full fibre

Changes to the UK government’s self-imposed target for delivering gigabit broadband to 100% of the country have taken broadband industry leaders by surprise. Confusion also reigned over whether the original commitment to provide £5 billion of public funding for hard to reach areas had been watered down to £1.2 billion. “The government has recognised that completing a full commercial build and tackling the subsidised harder to reach areas at the same time is very challenging.” INCA Chief Executive Malcolm Corbett said. “Having spoken with officials our understanding is that the £5 billion of funding committed in the National Infrastructure Strategy is ring-fenced and if more of that funding can

be brought forward into the Spending Review period, that will happen.” The ambitious target date of 2025 for 100% coverage across the UK was set by the Prime Minister, originally as full fibre coverage, but later changed to include Virgin Media’s cable network and some wireless broadband services. The National Infrastructure Strategy, published today as part of the Chancellor’s Spending Review, has changed the target. “The government is working with industry to target a minimum of 85% gigabit capable coverage by 2025 but will seek to accelerate roll-out further to get as close to 100% as possible,” the review says. The government expects the private sector to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to around 80% of homes and

infrastructure funding in today’s spending review, levelling up our nation’s digital divide remains a priority. The COVID-19

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The massive demand for fibre is hardly news but the stellar growth it has enjoyed (13% between 2018 and 2019, according to the OECD), has received new impetus recently, thanks to several key factors. However, there are challenges ahead that may limit returns and disappoint investors. In this feature article, director of international business development at Cross NI Peter Kern explores the reasons for the upsurge of interest in fibre, explains key challenges the industry faces in delivering fibre efficiently – and provides case studies that highlight an optimised, agile approach.

S o, what’s behind the new momentum? Several key reasons. First, while fibre deployment has long been an objective for service providers, national governments and regional authorities, the importance of increased fibre access has been thrown into the spotlight by the COVID-19 pandemic. The lines between home and office have blurred, leading to a more distributed workforce that needs

EFFECTIVE ROLLOUT, MANAGEMENT AND EXTENSION So, network and social evolution are driving increased fibre deployment – but there’s a big issue to solve. How do operators manage their fibre rollouts, ensure effective operations and agile business and service delivery? The simple truth is that many operators are hampered in their efforts to do so by outdated and disconnected systems. Operators depend on their Operational and Business Support Systems (OSS and BSS) to ensure that their businesses can function. The OSS and BSS underpins all aspects of their business – building

previous generations of mobile radio technology. To maintain this performance, the radio network must be connected to the core via fibre. 5G performance in the RAN cannot be limited or held back by bottlenecks in the increasingly complicated ‘x’ haul domain – front, back and mid haul – which joins together the different domains of a 5G network. Finally, operators everywhere are gearing up for a massive increase in the number of connected devices. While many of these will connect via 4G or 4G-like technologies, many more will require 5G – in turn, driving surging traffic, for which fibre is required.

more high-speed connectivity. Second, fibre is integral to the

deployment of 5G. 5G radio provides excellent performance, but within a relatively small area when compared to





is using FWA to deliver residential broadband services, but it’s also using the same network to manage a distributed footprint of smart meters. A customer may take both services (electricity and broadband) or just one. The network must take account of both retail subscriptions as well as growing numbers of wirelessly connected smart meters that provide real time reporting. In each case, there are different devices connected, often at the same property. Ensuring that the OSS is seamlessly connected to provide a single inventory data repository is essential, because there is a huge increase in the number and type of connected devices. A legacy OSS cannot cope with such diversity or provide the agility to cater for different subscriptions (does this customer have broadband, a smart meter, or both?), so it was essential to transform the OSS to the new, consolidated data model with a single inventory common to all services. Finally, such is the importance of building out fibre, some countries have established national wholesale fibre networks. The remit of many of these is to deploy national coverage but via wholesale models, enabling other service providers to lease assets and to target retail and business customers. Here, not only must the network be built and operated effectively by the national operator, each service provider must also be able to manage its own customer base via the shared network. This requires a common inventory platform, that includes all data related to the network, made accessible to the BSS of the national operator as well as those of the service providers. Such a venture simply cannot flourish without such common data accessible to all stakeholders. In conclusion, it’s clear that fibre provides essential, critical infrastructure. It is crucial for 5G and the emerging IoT, it connects different legacy domains, and provides high-speed last mile connectivity. But efficient profitable fibre networks depend on an OSS that’s fit for purpose, with a core inventory platform that can provide the common data resource to support process automation, agile service delivery and tight coupling with the BSS. Despite surging demand for fibre – across all network domains – the kind of agile performance to which operators aspire cannot be realised without OSS and inventory platforms that are optimised for complex, multi-service networks. Indeed, failure to evolve the OSS and inventory platform will compromise fibre investments and diminish the value they offer. To learn more about agile inventory management solutions, visit https://www.cross-ni.com/ for more information and insights.

retained and matched to an existing or new account in the CRM, once the order has been accepted, it must be fulfilled. In turn, this requires a number of related actions to take place. Thus, the task of “delivering a new fibre connection” can be defined as a simple series of steps. The information required to answer these questions is contained in systems in both the OSS and BSS estates. Once, they would have been answered manually, but clearly that’s not possible in a world in which operators must deliver services at scale. All of these processes must be interconnected and should, in an ideal world, also be automated, so the entire lifecycle can be managed with as little human intervention as possible. This applies to building out networks, as much as onboarding new business partners – each action has consequences. If data is scattered in silos, then automation is impossible. INVENTORY UNDERPINS SUCCESSFUL RETAIL, FWA, IOT ANDWHOLESALE FIBRE OPERATORS So, what happens if you eliminate silos, provide a consistent source of inventory data and make it accessible? Let’s consider a largely retail fibre operator: Nexera from Poland. Nexera is building out a fibre network in Poland and has deployed a state-of-the-art OSS. This includes a centralised inventory repository, CROSS, from CNI for all network data. This is interconnected with the business processes, including the order management and provisioning systems. On the BSS side, there’s an automated service fulfilment platform built on Salesforce. This is connected to the inventory system, so when a customer order comes in, the BSS can check to see if the OSS resources required are available. If they are, the order can proceed and the service activated, according to the promised timescales. It’s a fully automated, closed-loop process, which allows Nexera to function as an agile, lightweight organisation. It can focus resources where they matter, while enabling agile service delivery and management via digital channels and integrated processes. In many areas, it’s not currently economically feasible to deploy fibre to each and every premises. Instead, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) offers an alternative. LTE wireless gives DSL-like performance, while 5G FWA will match direct fibre speeds. Fibre is used, not for the last mile connection, but to link all of the base stations that support the wireless connectivity.

and extending their networks, their performance, management, service activation, customer accounting and relationships. However, in many cases, the OSS and BSS have not kept pace with other network investments. In order to meet these challenges and maintain profitability, operators need to be able to reduce costs, enhance efficiency and to adopt a more agile footing. Accelerating the pace of fibre deployments while meeting these goals requires a supporting infrastructure to support effective operational delivery. The OSS must change. Operators need an OSS that can support agile operations, new business processes and accelerated service delivery. Key to this is the elimination of different silos. All OSS assets generate data – reports, indicators, and so on – which means they need to be interrogated in order to determine key variables, such as connection type, devices, their location, status, capacity and more. In telecoms networks, this data set comprises what is known as the ‘inventory’. It’s the sum of all assets both physical, logical and virtual and – that are combined to deliver services. If you want, to activate a fibre connection to a customer, you need to know which routes are available, where they are, what their current capacity is, and so on, so that you can determine how to complete the service requirement. SUPPORTING AGILE OSS AND BSS PROCESSES The information necessary to fulfil such a process resides in different systems in the OSS, so the data you need for a specific task must be collected from each silo in turn. The lack of integration between silos means that processes cannot easily be completed, building friction and inefficiencies, limiting operational performance. A single inventory is required that combines all available information into a common resource. Worse, the OSS is often disconnected from the BSS. If the OSS supports key operational processes, then the BSS is responsible for enabling business activities – selling subscriptions, managing offers, billing customer and bilateral relationships, and so on. The two need to be aligned and to interact, seamlessly. When an order (for our notional fibre connection) is made by a customer, the clear expectation is that the relevant service will be delivered in a timely manner, with the requisite (advertised) performance characteristics. This must be handled by the BSS systems in place. While the data regarding the order will be

In the Czech Republic, FWA has really taken off – and one utility company





TOP PRODUCTS IN 2020 From lasers to cables, 2020 saw a plethora of new products and here, we list just a few. They are not listed in any particular order, but we think each product will, in its own way, have a significant impact on some aspect of the optical communications industry in the coming year and beyond.

Corning prepares for 5G with new connectivity solution

speed their deployments, and stay ahead of demands for high-speed connectivity. Corning says the terminals can be deployed in the ground, on a pole or facade, or on a strand, saving operators up to £450 per terminal location by shrinking handhole and pedestal size, reusing existing infrastructure, reducing pole-attachment fees and streamlining permitting. Operators can deploy terminals for any type

and related applications – network operators must deploy more fibre in space- constrained environments. That need will accelerate with 5G deployments. Corning engineers designed Evolv solutions to meet those needs: Pushlok hardened connectors are half the size of existing offerings, connecting to terminals that are up to four times smaller. The smaller size allows operators to lower their costs,

Corning’s range of 5G-ready terminals and connectors are miniaturised to accommodate more

of fibre-to-the-premises network with minimal visual impact, which can speed approval time by local and municipal governments. In addition, Pushlok Technology enables one-handed drop installation, with tactile and audible feedback. Lightweight Evolv terminals streamline aerial and façade routing and improve utilisation of congested conduits and handholes.

fibre connections in smaller spaces. Using

Corning’s Evolv™ Hardened Connectivity Solutions with Pushlok™ Technology are designed to simplify fibre deployment for all types of carrier networks. Corning says that as connectivity requirements continue to grow – with video streaming, remote work, e-commerce

Read the full story here.

LUMENISITY’S Hollow-Core Fibre For 10G DWDM Over 10Km

Fujitsu debuts Open ROADM network design and planning tool

Lumenisity’s® CoreSmart™ hollow-core cable is designed for DWDM operation over links in excess of 10km. It uses a unique nested anti-resonant node-less fibre (NANF™) patented technology. The cable is robustly single-moded, which provides continuous uninterrupted simultaneous single mode transmission at 1310nm, as well as over the full C and L bands and beyond. The company says the advanced NANF technology offers the promise of realising loss values at, or better than, conventional solid silica core fibres. Designed to be backward compatible with existing networks and systems equipment, Lumensity says it can be spliced directly in the field by accredited installers with commercially available

Fujitsu Network Communications’ multi- vendor network design and planning tool for Open ROADM networks is an industry first. The FUJITSU Network Virtuora® PD, an SDN- based application which optimises and simplifies planning, design, and testing of optical networks that conform to Open ROADM specifications. The company says that as service providers strive for greater accuracy, cost efficiency and scalability — particularly with regard to critical communications infrastructure that is now more important than ever — they need advanced tools that ensure interoperability and peak

performance. Virtuora PD enables closed-loop multi- vendor network design and deployment with capacity planning; and a unified view of planned and deployed networks. Virtuora PD accesses a set of common network characteristics from multiple vendors’ equipment to align with service provider business

splicers, using Lumenisity’s hollow-core to conventional fibre adapter technology. Due to the cable design and field splice technology, the product has been proven to meet carrier grade telecommunication error rate requirements with resilience, even with 10 concatenated segments. Further evaluation for much higher data rates will be done going forward.

processes. As a result, service providers can speed up the overall

process of network design and deployment; reduce errors with zero touch provisioning; and drive out operational inefficiencies with tightly integrated

Operations Support Systems (OSS) tools.

Read the full story here.

Read the full story here.





HUBER+SUHNER’s Smallest Outdoor Fibre Optic Connector

capacity to the network, reducing the cost per bit. The connector is waterproof, dust- proof and corrosion resistant and provides the maximum safety for outdoor installations. It features a robust push-pull coupling mechanism and an extension connector for cable chaining, making the solution fast and easy to install. The Q-ODC-2 Mini also overcomes the challenge of high system sensitivity and increases reliability. This opens up new areas of application for fibre optics in a number of industries, such as wind energy, railway and shipbuilding.

HUBER+SUHNER’s Q-ODC-2 Mini fibre optic connector is the smallest in the company’s portfolio. The aim is to enable more cost-effective, flexible and higher capacity deployments of new wireless infrastructure in industrial and communication applications. Featuring a compact design, this size-optimised connector reduces dimensions by 50% and weight by 40% when compared to the Q-ODC-2 outdoor connector from HUBER+SUHNER. These smaller proportions allow wireless infrastructure

physical space,” said Carsten Dieckmann, Product Manager at HUBER+SUHNER. “The product adds to our portfolio of fibre optic solutions that are suitable for complex applications with high data rates as network providers look to meet the demand for more capacity at a lower cost per bit.”

“As our smallest outdoor fibre optic connector to date, the Q-ODC-2 Mini addresses critical challenges in the planning, building and operation of new wireless infrastructure deployments by providing an affordable solution that is simple to install and takes up the minimum amount of

providers to access new locations and add more

Narrow Linewidth LIDAR Laser From Applied Optoelectronics

Optelian’s multi-service disaggregated platform

Applied Optoelectronics’ high power and narrow linewidth laser is specifically designed for Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) applications, particularly for automotive use. Combining high optical output power with narrow linewidth further increases the detection range of a LIDAR system by increasing the coherence length of the laser output compared to similar lasers with wider linewidth. The lasers are intended to be used in Frequency- Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) LIDAR systems, which have better noise rejection compared to the more common amplitude modulated LIDAR systems available today. Applied Optoelectronics says that current automotive LIDAR systems are based on near infrared lasers, however these lasers are not eye safe and therefore are limited in terms of emitted power. This power limitation, in turn, restricts the effective sensing range of the LIDAR system. AOI’s laser operates at longer wavelengths near 1550-nm where eye-safe emission limits

Optelian’s multi-service, compact and hardened (OSP-compliant) platform is designed for multi- haul transport upgrades, remote business services access and fibre deep architectures. Purpose- built for where deployment flexibility and scalability of service growth can be unpredictable, the hardened platform is capable of being deployed in harsh environments where a temperature- controlled shelter or facility does not exist, while still providing next generation multi-service capability anywhere from 1G to 1.6T. The TMS-1190 is a platform that has been designed for reliability with extended life cycles in any environment. Its compact chassis, with shallow depth and 1RU height, supports up to four

multi-applications – hardened OSP support for transponders, muxponders and open line system configurations that can be mixed and matched in a single chassis or stacked, delivering very diverse and flexible deployment configurations. Optelian’s first DA (Deploy Anywhere) Series™ member, the TMX-4400, is an ideal DWDM transport solution for anyhaul deployment of hardened 100/200/400 GbE or OTU services. It interfaces a 100G to 400G QSFP28/ DD on the client side and a CFP2-DCO on the line side with software programmable DWDM modulation supporting operation from 100G to 400G, including openZR+, CableLabs® and openROADM standards.

are much higher and therefore detection distances are longer, making them better suited for real-world automotive sensors. “AOI’s expertise in semiconductor laser design and production has enabled us to offer this innovative narrow-linewidth laser,” said Dr. Fred Chang, AOI’s senior VP and GM. “The current automotive LIDAR systems have limitations imposed by the available lasers, and AOI’s new 1550-nm eye-safe laser will enable advanced FMCW LIDAR systems with improved detection range and accuracy, which are critical to advanced autonomous vehicle technology.”

service slots providing for multi-services and

Read the full story here.

Read the full story here.





FromM&A’s to new long-distance subsea cables, a lot happened in the fibre optic communications industry in 2020. Looking forward, the future prospects look just as good, if not better. 2020: A GOOD YEAR FOR FIBRE

800G TRANSCEIVERMARKET WORTHUS$2.5BN BY 2029 According to analysts Communications Industry Researchers (CIR), the market opportunity for 800G transceivers and above will reach US$245 million in revenues by 2025 rising to US$2.5 billion by 2029. Driven initially by video, CIR expects the traffic in data centres will be further driven by 5G and IoT applications requiring data centre infrastructure to be rebuilt using 800G interfaces. CIR sees 800G being used for interbuilding connectivity but will become a necessity for data centres that make significant use of 200G servers. CIR also sees some pioneer efforts to build the first few public network 800G links using technology that is somewhat proprietary to the equipment makers. According to Lawrence Gasman, author of this new study and president of CIR, “800G represents a new era in optical networking speeds and latencies to accommodate the substantial uptick in video conferencing, streaming and digital entertainment as well new applications including virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence services.” CIR says that commercial 800Gmodules will be available in the next couple of years. This means that the 800G “revolution” is an event we can expect to happen soon. Previous generations of modules have been 10x efforts – 10G to 100 G. 800G can be implemented quite quickly because it can be achieved in effect be gluing 400G modules together. It believes that the 800G public network market will never be a large one, because transceivers will be marketed as part of larger systems packages. They will be proprietary so that the equipment companies can squeeze as many features as possible out of their boxes in order impress the large telcos, which is not an easy thing to do. In the context of public networks, the companies that matter in terms of 800G trials are Ciena, Huawei, and

Infinera, but given political realities Huawei’s market will largely limited to China and countries in China’s sphere of influence. It adds that a few other companies including Facebook and Microsoft are important as they will provide both a testbed for the most advanced transceiver technology in this area, as well as leadership for their technology development through organizations such as COBO (Consortium for On-Board Optics), and Cisco, because of its ability to shape the entire datacom market. CIR also believes that IBM, Intel, and a few other firms are important because they have extensive and growing experience of co-packaged/integrated optics which will eventually help Terabit networking to emerge.

differentiated infrastructure division assets will ensure greater focus on network investment and development of high- speed infrastructure services under the more specialised ownership of this experienced investor,” commented Ernie Ortega, GTT CRO and interim CEO. “The deal enables GTT to reinforce its capex light business model as well as its cloud networking focus and will benefit both enterprise and infrastructure clients alike.” Gautam Bhandari, managing partner at I Squared Capital stated, “Now more than ever, digital infrastructure is an essential asset class as societies across the globe rely heavily on high-speed digital bandwidth. This acquisition builds upon I Squared Capital’s overarching global digital infrastructure strategy and experience with complex carve-outs to expand the reach of our platforms across Asia, Europe and North America.” The acquisition is expected to close, subject to satisfying all required regulatory approvals and contingencies included in the agreement, during the first half of 2021.

Get the full story here.

GTT SELLS INFRASTRUCTURE DIVISION FOR US$2.15BN GTT Communications has sold off its entire infrastructure division I Squared Capital, an independent global infrastructure investment firm, for US$2.15 billion. The infrastructure division consists of GTT’s business and activities providing Pan- European, North American, sub-sea and trans-Atlantic fibre network and data centre infrastructure services to customers. The infrastructure division sale consists of selected network and data centre assets accumulated from several GTT acquisitions, including Interoute, Hibernia, and KPN International, that comprise. Included in the deal is a 103,000 route kilometre fibre network with over 400 points of presence, spanning 31 metro areas and interconnecting 103 cities across Europe and North America; three transatlantic subsea cables, including GTT Express, the lowest latency route between Europe and North America; and fourteen Tier 3 data centres and over 100 colocation facilities. “The divestment of the highly

Get the full story here.

NOKIA TO SELL OFF DOCSIS ASSETS TOVECIMA Nokia has announced plans to sell off its cable access portfolio to Canada-based Vecima for an undisclosed sum. The deal covers Nokia’s Unified Cable Access solution, which includes the Gainspeed portfolio of products, a centrally controlled Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) solution with unified support for Flexible MAC DAA nodes for Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial (HFC) networks and DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON (DPoE) nodes for FTTH/B. The portfolio also includes a DAA video engine and a chassis based EPON/DPoE solution for non-HFC network implementations. Employees who currently support the Nokia DOCSIS DAA and EPON/DPoE





portfolios are expected to transition to Vecima, however Nokia will retain its remaining cable-related products and the companies say they intend to maintain an ongoing business relationship, including resell agreements for key, enabling technologies, to address unified cable access opportunities. “Our cable access solutions have played a very important role in helping to redefine next generation cable solutions and our customers’ strategies for addressing evolving network demands using distributed architectures,” said Sandra Motley, president of Fixed Networks at Nokia. “However, the industry continues to go through significant shifts, and we believe the timing is right to transition our cable access business to Vecima Networks. Vecima has the focus, resources and complementary product portfolio needed to support these changes and help operators move toward a Distributed Access Architecture.” “Nokia’s portfolio to be acquired aligns perfectly with Vecima Networks’ strategy to provide open, independent, and future- proof cable access solutions that support a multi-vendor ecosystem,” said Sumit Kumar, President and CEO at Vecima Networks. “The addition of these products and world- class talent broadens our DAA platform and adds 10G-EPON products to our portfolio. In addition to expanding the products and services we are providing to existing customers, we look forward to partnering with service providers around the globe we don’t currently do business with.”

brands like TalkTalk and Sky. However, that is changing rapidly and our research shows that the operators are keen to work together on a wholesale platform that can bridge the gap in the market,” said INCA CEO Malcolm Corbett. Henry West, Commercial Director, Truespeed, which provides full fibre broadband in the South West of England says, “Smaller independent providers, like Truespeed, are already working full pelt to roll out full fibre infrastructure to rural and hard to reach areas of the UK, and the creation of a common wholesale platform would be a welcome reinforcement to those efforts. A dual strategy approach, employing both wholesale and direct sales to consumers, would enable infrastructure providers to cover more ground more quickly and, crucially, give consumers more choice. Whether through supplying customers directly or by leasing our infrastructure to other suppliers, our priority is ensuring consumers have access to the best value full fibre service for their needs.” INCA is supporting the development of a ‘Common Wholesale Platform’, which would enable groups of independent wholesale network providers to combine together and offer a real competitive alternative to the limited number of large players which currently dominate the market. The aim is to make it as simple as possible for service providers to deliver their services over challenger networks, thus helping to foster credible competition and consumer choice in the delivery of the UK’s new digital infrastructure.

Directors and Treasurer in 2019. Council president Eric Festraets commented, “The FTTH Council Europe is proud to announce the appointment of Vincent as the new director general, succeeding to Erzsébet Fitori whom we would like to thank again for her dedication and outstanding contribution to reshaping the FTTH Council Europe. I am confident that Vincent’s solid experience in the telecommunications sector, vast understanding of the association’s membership, focus on growth and proven ability to implement creative change in such a transforming industry like ours will allow him to work effectively in the Council members’ best interest.”

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37,000KMSUBSEA CABLE TO CONNECT 16 AFRICANCOUNTRIES China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC are to partner to build 2Africa, the most comprehensive subsea cable to serve the African continent and Middle East region. At 37,000km, 2Africa will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects and will interconnect Europe (eastward via Egypt), the Middle East (via Saudi Arabia), and 21 landings in 16 countries in Africa. The system is expected to go live in 2023/4, delivering more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables serving Africa today, with a design capacity of up to 180Tbps on key parts of the system. 2Africa will deliver much needed internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, supplement the fast-growing capacity demand in the Middle East and underpin the further growth of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband access for hundreds of millions of people. In countries where the 2Africa cable will land, service providers will obtain capacity in carrier-neutral data centres or open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis. This will support healthy internet ecosystem development by facilitating greatly improved accessibility for businesses and consumers alike. The 2Africa cable has been designed to improve resilience and maximise performance, including the option of a seamless optical crossing between East Africa and Europe. The 2Africa cable will implement a new technology, SDM1 from ASN, allowing deployment of up to 16 fibre pairs instead of the eight fibre pairs supported by older technologies, bringing much greater and more cost-effective capacity. The cable will incorporate optical switching technology to enable flexible management of bandwidth. Cable burial depth has also been increased by 50% compared to older systems, and cable routing will avoid locations of known subsea disturbance, all helping to ensure the highest levels of availability.

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UK ALTNETS BACK COMMON WHOLESALE PLATFORM Nearly nine out of ten (88.7%) of the UK’s challenger broadband network providers support the creation of a common platform through which they could provide wholesale services to third-party content providers, according to a new survey. The creation of a common wholesale platform is an important step forward in enabling independent operators to attract service providers to their networks by aggregating the large volume of customers they could potentially reach. By cross referencing against the Spring INCA / Point Topic survey, it has been estimated that there will be 11 million premises accessed via independent networks by 2025. The number of premises provided with full-fibre coverage is increasing rapidly with independent networks increasing their deployment by 50% last year to 1.2 million. However, with just over 10% of all UK premises covered with full fibre there is a long way to go, although Virgin Media’s cable network makes a significant contribution to the Government’s 2025 target of “gigabit-capable broadband” to all homes. “For some time, it has been presumed that challenger independent providers do not have the scale to attract major

RESHUFFLE AT FTTHCOUNCIL EUROPE Following the May 2020 departure of Erzsébet Fitori after three and a half years as director general of the FTTH Council Europe, the Council has named Vincent Garnier as Fitori’s replacement. Filling Garnier’s vacated position on the Board of Directors is Su Guaglianone, senior marketing director EMEA at CommScope. In addition, acting director general Aurélie Bladocha Coelho becomes the new chair of the Policy and Regulation Committee in addition to her responsibilities of director of communications and public affairs. She succeeds Karin Ahl. Vincent Garnier brings to this position 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, in Marketing and Business Development in EMEA and Asia for B2B companies. Most recently he was Marketing Director responsible for defining the marketing strategies for the broadband solutions at CommScope. Prior to joining CommScope, Garnier worked in international business development at TKH Group NV and as a Marketing Manager at Prysmian & Exide Technologies. He has been actively involved in the FTTH Council Europe activities for several years and became a member of the Board of

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Fibre access has never been as important as it is today. It plays a crucial role, not just in ensuring we can all work, learn, and play from home during lockdowns, but also to connect enterprises, smart cities and 5G cell sites. Many operators see fibre as the single most essential network infrastructure for the entire telecom sector, and this means that fibre must constantly evolve to become faster, smarter, and more efficient, writes Ana Pesovic , head of Nokia fixed networks fibre marketing.

N ext-generation PON deployments are in full swing, and XGS-PON won the latest battle as the technology of choice for Tier 1 operators, smaller competitive service providers, municipalities, and utilities around the world. It has fuelled network convergence, so consumers, businesses and mobile transport services can be delivered over a single fibre infrastructure. But to unlock the ultimate network convergence and deliver any service without compromise, fibre networks need to take the next step and go beyond 10Gbps. They need 25G PON. In October 2020, a group of communication industry operators, system vendors and component vendors announced the 25GS-PON multi-source agreement (25GS-PON MSA) with goals to develop the eco- system and accelerate the 25G PON technology. Multi-source agreements (MSAs) are rare in the world of telecoms, so this represents something of a landmark and certainly a bold statement of intent by the signatories, which include Nokia.

The 25GS-PON MSA stems from a cross-industry conviction that there is an urgency to move beyond 10 Gbps capacity in fibre broadband networks, driven by the need to address the gap between current 10Gbps technologies like XGS-PON and future technologies like 50G PON. As a leader in fibre access, we are proud to be part of the movement. NEAR-TERM NEEDS The first near-term need for 25G PON is enterprise connectivity. With increasing use of bandwidth-hungry video and cloud computing applications, the gold standard for business broadband is currently 10 Gbps. Due to various protocols overhead, 10G PONs can provide at most an 8-9 Gbps symmetric service. That means 10G can currently only be delivered by a dedicated and costly point-to-point fibre connection. The second urgent driver for 25G PON is, of course, 5G. It feels like it has been ages in coming, but 5G deployments are finally accelerating. As they do, mobile operators have realized that providing the transport for 5G small cells over existing fibre-to-the-home networks will enable them to deploy 5G much more quickly

and cost-effectively. However, in dense urban locations where 5G will be in most demand, GPON will not have the capacity to cope and, in some cases, even 10G PON may struggle with the high number of cells and the high throughput. The challenge is increased by the trend in 5G towards distributed or cloud radio access network architectures that create the need for fronthaul and midhaul transport as well as backhaul. These three traffic types, known collectively as mobile anyhaul, require significantly higher capacity and, in the case of fronthaul, much lower latency. 25G PON certainly delivers on the capacity front and, thanks to a Nokia Bell Labs breakthrough with cooperative DBA (CO- DBA), can also provide the low latency required for 5G fronthaul. The evolution of fibre towards symmetrical 25G helps to save money and make money. Routing mobile traffic over an existing PON network reduces total cost of ownership by up to 50% over five years compared to the current default of a dedicated mobile transport network. Greater capacity also creates new revenue opportunities through network sharing. Using software-defined network slicing, a 25G PON network owner can carve out virtual gigabit PON networks for wholesaling.





DESIGNED FOR EFFICIENCY Fibre is continuously adapting to achieve greater efficiency. Previous generations of PON technologies have derived their origins from long-haul optical technologies. In time, as component volumes increased and pricing began to decline, these technologies were adopted by the metro market, driving volumes and maturation further. Eventually the technology reached a price point that made its use in massive-scale PON deployments viable. In addition to the economic aspects, there optical technologies had to be adapted for the larger power budgets and burst mode operation used in PON. Though it took some time, the trickle- down process worked well, spawning BPON, EPON, GPON and 10G PON technologies. 25G PON is following a somewhat different, highly efficient path. 25G PON technology is not starting from a low volume application like long-haul optics. On the contrary, is comes from the world of data centresS and, specifically, 100G Ethernet technologies based on 25 Gbps channels that are used for intra- data centre connectivity. The increased demand for this capacity, much of it on single-mode fibre, has already driven large volumes and reduced costs on

25G components. This is the mature ecosystem that next generation 25G PON leverages. Additionally, 25G PON plays nicely with currently deployed GPON and XGS- PON, through wavelength selection that enables the co-existence of multiple technologies on a single PON. It is important to ensure that introduction of 25G PON can be done without disturbing current deployments and without any changes in the most valuable part of the network – the outside plant. This was taken into consideration in the 25G PON technology specification created by the 25GS-PON MSA Group, which includes optical specifications based on the IEEE 802.3ca 25G EPON standard, along with a Transmission Convergence layer that is an extension of XGS-PON. THE LONGER PATH The other movement beyond next- generation PON is 50G PON. We recognize its potential, and Nokia is a major contributor to 50G standard work, but we also know the tremendous amount of work still to be done to bring it to market. 50G PON is really a quantum leap. For example, the current technical challenges are so great that 50G/50G symmetrical is not even being considered at this time. 50G will also

require a new generation of lasers, optical amplifiers, and DSPs, and that technology is still in its infancy. We are at least 8-10 years away from a viable commercial 50G PON solution, and that is just too long a wait for broadband operators to step up from 10Gbps. In contrast, 25G PON is based on proven and mature technologies and we expect to see field trials of 25G PON next year. But 50G will come, as will 100G after it, so 25G PON must also ensure a smooth future upgrade path towards them. This is again likely to be facilitated by data centre technology where 50 Gbps-based Ethernet channels for 200 and 400 Gigabit Ethernet are already on their way in. NEXT STEPS PON has a long history of rising to the challenge of insatiable demand for bandwidth. From BPON to XGS-PON, each successive generation has been a catalyst for innovation and increased standards of living as more people have benefitted from better broadband. 25G PON will undoubtedly continue the trend, with additional benefits for fixed and mobile operators seeking convergence and simplification at the same time as improving services and stimulating demand. It is exciting to be involved.


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