Calix is the latest fixed access network equipment vendor to unveil its next-generation, high-capacity fiber broadband technology based on the NG-PON2 standard.
NG-PON2 delivers 40 Gbit/s of shared capacity over each fiber, compared with the 2.5 Gbit/s offered by GPON, enabling a great deal more bandwidth on each broadband connection to support next-generation applications such as real-time virtual reality and 4k/8k video. The technology used for NG-PON2 is TWDM-PON (TDM/WDM-PON), a hybrid system that stacks four 10 GPONs onto a single fiber to deliver 40 Gbit/s capacity downstream.
While market demand for NG-PON2 systems is not likely to take off in a meaningful way for a few years -- there's plenty of life left in GPON, active Ethernet and maybe even WDM-PON -- the vendors are lining themselves up to capture the attention of network operators preparing for future upgrades and rollouts. (See BT, Allied Telesis Foresee Broadband Future.)
So Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX), which has had a great deal of success with its GPON systems, has developed new NG-PON2 line cards (with tunable and fixed wavelengths) for its E-Series broadband access platform. It will be displaying the new technology at various industry events in the coming months, with commercial availability expected in the first half of 2016. (See Calix Powers Russellville's Gigabit Service and Armenia's Ucom Builds Out FTTH With Calix .)
"Next generation PON provides fertile ground for a new wave of innovations, and Calix is again leading the way with significant contributions to development of the NG-PON2 standard, including key submissions that will reduce deployment costs and technical complexity and assure 2.4 GPON coexistence," stated Michel Langlois, Calix senior VP of systems products, in the vendor's official announcement.
Keeping deployment costs down will be crucial for any vendor hoping to build a meaningful NG-PON2 business and getting costs down has clearly been a key focus for the other companies -- Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN), Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. -- targeting this emerging broadband technology niche. Alcatel-Lucent referred to the pricing challenges that are always faced early on in such a market, when component costs do not carry economies of scale, when it discussed the potential for NG-PON2 last fall. (See Alcatel-Lucent Fires NG-PON2 Starting Gun.)
Calix declined to provide any guidance on price ratios between its new product and existing GPON line cards, noting in an emailed response to Light Reading questions that prices would probably not be determined until later this year.
Adtran, meanwhile, is boasting that it has found a way to significantly reduce NG-PON2 costs (though it won't share details of exactly how it has achieved such gains) while Alcatel-Lucent has been promoting its capabilities aggressively already this year and claimed during its first-quarter earnings call in May to be involved in 15 trials of its NG-PON2 system. (See Adtran Claims Advance in NG-PON2 Economics and Alcatel-Lucent Outperforms Rivals in Q1.)
For more on this topic, see:
- 10G PON Technologies: Where Do They Make Sense?
- Next-Gen PON Pushes Fiber Closer to the Edge, Heavy Reading Reports
- NG-PON2 Tech: A Done Deal?
- Huawei Lands NG-PON2 Role
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading