25g PON equipment rack

Hotwire Communications, a competitive broadband service provider serving parts of several states, said it has deployed 25G PON passive optical networking equipment, although the company did not detail how broadly the equipment has been deployed. According to Hotwire, the company is the first in the U.S. to deploy 25G PON equipment.

The equipment is designed to support speeds up to 25 Gbps symmetrically, although Hotwire may not be offering maximum speeds. A Hotwire press release cites 10 Gbps or higher symmetrical speeds.

The 25G PON standard also includes the option of offering 25 Gbps downstream and 10 Gbps upstream, enabling the use of lower cost 25G/10G optical network terminals (ONTs) when symmetrical service isn’t needed.

Back in 2018, Hotwire was one of the first providers to deploy XGS-PON equipment as a faster alternative to the GPON equipment that the company and many others had deployed at that time. XGS-PON supports speeds up to 10 Gbps symmetrically.

The 25G PON standard, known as 25GS-PON, is designed to be compatible with both GPON and XGS-PON, according to a white paper from Nokia, the company that is supplying Hotwire’s 25G PON equipment.

25g PON wavelength chart
25G PON Wavelength Plan (Source:Nokia)

According to Nokia, 25G PON is likely to be the fastest PON technology to be deployed over the next seven or eight years. The reason is that the following generation, expected to support 50 Gbps speeds, will require considerably more development work.

While 25G PON is designed to use optical technologies already used in data center equipment, 50G PON is “more of a quantum leap than an evolution,” Nokia states in the white paper.

Running at such high speeds has several engineering challenges that must be addressed. It will require new more costly transmitters and amplifiers, and although it will be able to use 25G optical components in receivers, it will need advanced digital signal processing to do so.

The good news is that once 50G PON equipment is developed, it will be relatively easy to develop the next generation of technology after that, which is expected to support 100 Gbps speeds.

25G PON Use Cases

According to Nokia, service providers are beginning to see demand for 25G PON to support use cases such as enterprise connectivity, wholesale bandwidth, mobile transport for 5G, and capabilities such as remote surgery, massive scale virtual reality, and real-time digital twins.

Hotwire isn’t the only service provider pursuing 25G PON. Last month, Bell Canada said it had completed a successful trial of the technology.

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