Optical Connections Magazine - Spring 2021

JOHN WILLIAMSON XGS-PON

PASSIVE MARKETS GET AGGRESSIVE AS XGS-PON SURGES

Officially adopted by the ITU-T as the G.9807 standard, Next Generation Symmetric-Passive Optical Network (XGS-PON) is rapidly becoming the optical broadband technology du jour for different operators around the world. It’s currently being deployed in roles as diverse as FTTH/FTTP, high-speed residential and business services, mobile anyhaul, triple play, video streaming and HDTV, smart cities and the IoT, and rural telecommunications provision. According to an analysis by Jeff Heynen, VP of the Dell’Oro Group, total XGS-PON OLT and ONU revenue could grow from just over $121 million in 2019 to $2.7 billion in 2024. Veteran telecoms journalist John Williamson takes a closer look.

PONDER THIS… A key driver of symmetrical 10 Gbps XGS-PON market is an increasing and pervasive background demand for higher bandwidth. “Our estimate shows that minimum bandwidth needed for digital life is now 50 Mbps,” reports Ana Pesovic, head of Nokia’s Fixed Networks fibre marketing activities. “And for advanced users, it goes above 100 Mbps or even 120 Mbps. With 32 users on a PON and 1 Gbps headroom reserved for peak usage, the need to upgrade GPON to XGS-PON has accelerated by 3 to 4 years.” The PON landscape is populated by several different technologies, with GPON being the most widely deployed so far. XGS-PON has a number of superior features. As described by Pesovic, it has four times the speed of GPON and is a cost-efficient technology compared to 10 Gbps NG- PON2, which requires costly tuneable lasers. She says the symmetrical bitrate property of XGS-PON is important for enterprise services and mobile anyhaul. If anything, the significance of symmetrical capability has been boosted by the coronavirus pandemic

solution for mass deployment of remote cell sites. “By design XGS-PON is based on TDM, which brings accurate timing for the delivery of packets in the radio networks, and for other delay sensitive applications – for example, online gaming,” says Clarkson. He also observes that XGS-PON’s higher split ratios introduce more flexibility in service provision, which allows for users that don’t require continuous high bandwidth to share ODNs efficiently at a lower cost. ROUTE CAUSES While the overall market is rapidly heating up, different operators and service providers have different agendas and ambitions for XGS-PON. Golja differentiates between FTTH/ FTTP markets that have already seen substantial investment in fibre and PONs, and those that were copper- centric for a longer period. He believes the former are likely to embrace XGS- PON more cautiously than the latter who may be prompted to play fibre and PON catch-up. “If an operator has an already built network, with GPON

imposing the necessity for many to work from home or use remote education applications. “There’s much more uploading today,” observes Mitja Golja, business development director of Business Unit Broadband at Iskratel. “Symmetrical access is much more important than before.” XGS-PON’s versatile service support repertoire, as outlined above, is another main attraction. “All of these applications have different requirements – not just for speed but also for latency, QoS and so on, and these requirements may differ in the upstream and downstream directions,” points out Anthony Clarkson, technical director EMEA and India for Precision Optical Transceivers Inc. “XGS-PON allows for a multitude of different services to be provisioned on the same PON to leverage the ability to reach all of the different access network segments and applications by using different configurable QoS mechanisms for each service provisioned.” Moreover, with the predicted importance of 5G in the future PON market mix, XGS-PON is a good

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