Industry Insight Series

Most fiber-based gigabit access networks use GPON technology. GPON has a downstream capacity of 2.5 Gbps, but with bandwidth needs continuously increasing, GPON is running out of steam! It is quickly giving way to the next generation – XGS-PON – which delivers four times the bandwidth. XGS-PON is an outstanding solution for premium residential service, small and medium enterprises, and even mobile transport. However, ever-growing bandwidth demand is a certainty. Fortunately, the next next-generation PON technology is here: 25GS-PON.

25GS-PON was developed by a group of vendors and operators that formed the 25GS-PON Multi-Source Agreement (MSA). The MSA started with only 10 members. In less than a year, membership has more than quadrupled, proving the market interest.

Source: 25GS-PON MSA

You’re probably just beginning to hear about 25GS-PON, so here are the top five things you need to know.

  1. The right amount of bandwidth. The Ethernet industry found that, when evolving from one generation to the next, a capacity boost of 2 to 2.5 times is the best for commercial success. 25GS-PON delivers exactly 2.5 times the bandwidth of XGS-PON, ample to satisfy projected demands for the foreseeable future.
  2. Clear use cases. There are already definitive applications for 25GS-PON. One is large-scale enterprises. 25GS-PON can deliver true 10 gig service, which XGS-PON cannot due to protocol overhead. This makes it superior for very high-bandwidth, low-latency applications. Another key use case is mobile transport. XGS-PON works well for 3G/4G backhaul and midhaul. However, 25GS-PON is better suited to anyhaul mobile transport with the more densely packed cells and greater data throughput of 5G networks.
  3. Very cost-effective. 25GS-PON uses mature and massively deployed data center technologies, which means the component costs already benefit from economies of scale. The technology is simple: it does not require a digital signal processor, amplifiers or tunable lasers, all costly complexities that will be necessary beyond 25G.
  4. Easy addition to existing networks. 25GS-PON will not eliminate the need for GPON or XGS-PON. There are use cases where each technology best applies. 25GS-PON was developed with coexistence in mind: GPON, XGS-PON, and 25GS-PON can simultaneously operate on the same platform, the same line card, and even the same piece of fiber. This enables operators to run a single network for residential, enterprise, and 5G transport rather than multiple parallel networks, vastly reducing expenses.
  5. Available today. All components and technologies for 25GS-PON are readily available today. In fact, there have already been multiple demonstrations and operator trials. Proximus, a leading Belgian operator, has even deployed 25GS-PON in a live network. Industry analysts project deployments to ramp up in 2022 and beyond.

The industry is already working on 50G PON and beyond, but cost-effective implementations are at least eight years away. For now, 25GS-PON is the best next step for broadband. And now you know the top five things about it.

Want to learn more about 25GS-PON? Visit the 25GS-PON MSA website at www.25gspon-msa.org. Want to help drive the technology forward? Click “Interested in Joining.”

This series features insight into important broadband industry issues from industry leaders.

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