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Optical/IP

Watch out for more 10G PON in 2021 – report

Thanks largely to lockdown measures as governments try to combat COVID-19, the overall broadband access equipment market will continue on an upward trajectory in 2021.

Working from home and e-learning, not surprisingly, will be key drivers as quarantines are re-imposed and vaccines take time to roll out.

Next-gen PON, in the shape of 10G PON, will also gain momentum while 25G PON – to support 5G wireless mid-haul and backhaul – looks set to grab more mindshare.

The big freeze: The broadband access market looks set to continue replacing Chinese kit makers. (Source: Unsplash)
The big freeze: The broadband access market looks set to continue replacing Chinese kit makers.
(Source: Unsplash)

These were some of the key findings in a report by Omdia titled "2021 Trends to Watch: Broadband Access Equipment Market."

"In 2021, COVID-19 and geopolitical situations will continue to propel the broadband access equipment market," said Julie Kunstler, senior principal analyst at Omdia and specialist in service provider networks. Kunstler envisaged greater opportunity for non-Chinese vendors to make inroads in the supply of PON-based FTTH architectures.

Following what seems a fairly successful campaign by the US in getting allies to sign up to "clean network" policies, which put the squeeze on Huawei and ZTE, an increasing number of operators – particularly in North America and Western Europe – are replacing Chinese network equipment.

The trend of smaller vendors picking up contracts previously won by Chinese vendors, which started this year, will also continue into 2021 says the report.

Show me some numbers

According to Omdia's calculations, next-gen PON OLT port shipments approached 830,000 in Q2 2020, which was up 70% year-on-year. The pandemic accelerated adoption and Omdia expects continued growth next year, alongside a growing shift from GPON functionality (2.5G) to 10G PON. By 2025, said the analyst firm, the majority of GPON ONTs/ONUs will be 10G-capable.

At that time, added Omdia, revenues from next-gen PON equipment – driven by demand for both 10G and 25/50G solutions – are forecast to approach $8.9 billion.

Revenue from next-gen cable broadband access equipment will ramp up in 2021 and approach $1.2 billion by 2025, as cable operators virtualize headends and adopt distributed access architecture.

Infrastructure reuse and FMC

Helping the 10G PON business case, aside from greater capacity demand, is the ability to reuse GPON infrastructure for different use cases, such as SMEs, smart cities, and 5G small cell transport.


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"Network reuse supports faster ROI for CSPs, whether integrated, fixed-only or wholesale-only," asserted Omdia. According to the report, fixed mobile network convergence will shortly become a "reality" as operators adopt 10G wireline and 5G wireless service strategies. 10G PON for non-residential revenue streams, noted Omdia, is also gaining mindshare.

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— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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