& cplSiteName &

Optical Options for FTTH/B: Broadband Special Report Part 2

Iain Morris
11/23/2015
50%
50%

Like unwelcome guests, copper-fortifying technologies such as vectoring and G.fast have gatecrashed the fiber-to-the-home/building (FTTH/B) party, swapped the music for something more downbeat and then headed back to their ageing but still sprightly copper-line friends. (See Copper Soldiers On: Broadband Special Report Part 1.)

By giving operators the ability to squeeze more life out of those old copper lines, new and emerging standards have undoubtedly robbed their FTTH/B brethren of some momentum. Yet service providers in a number of markets, particularly China, are clearly investing in FTTH/B, or looking to do so -- either conscious that copper will eventually become redundant as a fixed broadband access medium or less constrained by regulation and economics.

The chart below, courtesy of specialist research house Point Topic Ltd. , shows that the number of broadband connections running over fiber to the home, building or premises (including those that then connect to an in-building LAN) globally has grown rapidly during the past few years and more than doubled between the second quarter of 2013 and the same period in 2015.

Source: Point Topic.  
* Includes FTTH/P/B/x+LAN/B+LAN but does not includes FTTC
Source: Point Topic.
* Includes FTTH/P/B/x+LAN/B+LAN but does not includes FTTC

The factors that need to be considered by network operators as they consider whether to invest in fiber broadband connections are legion, with competition, regulation, business case, technology and geography most often at the top of the list. (See Gigabit Broadband: What's the Business Case? and Top Tips for FTTH Operators.)

This Prime Reading report is concerned with the current FTTH/B technology options available to network operators.

As when upgrading copper, the decision about which FTTH/B technology to pursue is far from straightforward. While gigabit passive optical network (GPON) deployments have largely crowded out their older broadband passive optical network (BPON) rivals -- and Ethernet passive optical network (EPON) technology has become de facto in some Asian markets -- all players face difficult choices about what to do next. And point-to-multipoint architectures are not to everyone's taste: France's Iliad (Euronext: ILD) is a leading European example of a network operator that has preferred the flavor of Ethernet point-to-point (EP2P).

Others, too, have found that active optical network (AON) infrastructure, which includes active electronics between the central office and the customer premises, suits their needs better. Depending on the topography, an AON network might be easier to manage and more cost-effective to run.

Of course, much of the chatter about the advantages of one standard over another emanates from the vendors backing specific technologies. Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), for instance, has been one of the champions of GPON, while Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has previously talked up the attractions of AON.

Other suppliers of FTTH/B network technologies include the Chinese equipment-making giants that are Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) as well as a variety of more specialist players, including ADTRAN Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN), Allied Telesis Inc. , Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX), DASAN Networks Inc. , FiberHome Technologies Group , Iskratel d.o.o. and Zhone Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ZHNE).

So what are the main FTTH/B technologies these suppliers have to offer? We have considered the BPON, EPON and GPON standards together, pointing out their similarities and differences, before turning our attention to EP2P and active Ethernet (that's AON, basically). Then it's on to some analysis of the emerging higher-speed options out there: XG-PON1, NG-PON2 and XGS-PON.

Here's a snapshot of the technologies before we dive deeper.

Table 1: The Different Flavors of FTTH/B

Technology name Shared or dedicated capacity Downstream speed potential Upstream speed potential Details
BPON Shared (1:32) 622 Mbit/s 155 Mbit/s Based on the ATM protocol, BPON has largely been superseded by GPON technology
EPON Shared (1:32) 1.25 Gbit/s 1.25 Gbit/s As its name implies, EPON is based on the Ethernet protocol and has proven popular in a number of Asian markets
GPON Shared (1: 128) 2.48 Gbit/s 1.24 Gbit/s Now the most widely deployed PON technology, GPON works with the ATM, Ethernet and TDM protocols and supports much higher downstream rates than rival first-generation PON technologies
EP2P Dedicated Multi-gigabit Multi-gigabit A point-to-point PON variant, EP2P offers much higher-speed services than point-to-multipoint rivals but is costlier to roll out
Active Ethernet Dedicated Multi-gigabit Multi-gigabit Uses active electronics between the central office and the customer premises, giving operators more service flexibility
XG-PON1 Shared (1:256) 10 Gbit/s 2.5 Gbit/s Designed as an upgrade for GPON operators, the standard has fallen by the wayside because of upstream limitations
NG-PON2 Shared (1:256) 40 Gbit/s (4 x 10 Gbit/s wavelengths) 10 Gbit/s Has overtaken XG-PON1 as a GPON upgrade option but is unlikely to see widespread deployment until component costs fall
XGS-PON Shared (1:256) 10 Gbit/s* 10 Gbit/s* Currently being reviewed by the ITU, XGS-PON is being promoted as cheaper than NG-PON2 and speedier than XG-PON1
* According to Adtran. Source: Light Reading, vendors.

Next page: BPON/EPON/GPON

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Founder/32262
50%
50%
Founder/32262,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/14/2017 | 12:07:42 PM
Latest word on the specific technology offering as of 1st Qtr, 2017
Kindly share the latest pointer for the technolohy solution/s of interest here - thanks in anticipation - Ranbir Parmar
Ray@LR
100%
0%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
11/23/2015 | 8:15:08 AM
Critical next step beyond GPON
For the operators already taking fiber to homes and buildings using GPON, the next step is going to be a defining one.... for those that already invested in point-to-point fiber networks -- are they the ones feeling rather pleased with themselves right now?
Featured Video
From The Founder
The world of virtualization is struggling to wrench itself away from the claws of vendor lock-in, which runs counter to everything that NFV stands for.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 22, 2018, Denver, Colorado | Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 28, 2018, Kansas City Convention Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
April 9, 2018, Las Vegas Convention Center
May 14-16, 2018, Austin Convention Center
May 14, 2018, Brazos Hall, Austin, Texas
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Will China React to Latest US Huawei, ZTE Slapdown?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, 2/16/2018
21st Century Networking? Welcome to the Lock-In
Steve Saunders, Founder, Light Reading, 2/20/2018
Stakes Run High for Tivo in Comcast Suit
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/20/2018
Liberty Global: Not So Fast on D3.1
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 2/20/2018
AT&T Reveals Initial 5G Cities
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/21/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed