Industry Insight Series

In a previous Telecompetitor article, I introduced the latest generation of PON technology — 25G PON — highlighting some important things to know: its cost-effectiveness, the ease of adding it to existing networks, its immediate availability, and its near-term use cases. This article takes a more detailed look at some of these use cases, all of which represent opportunities for service providers to increase revenues and profitability.

Large-scale enterprises increasingly rely on bandwidth-demanding applications such as high-definition video and cloud-native applications. Due to overhead, XGS-PON falls around 15% short of delivering the true 10 Gbps performance enterprises seek. However, 25G PON delivers actual data throughput of 20 Gbps. An operator can provide guaranteed 10 Gbps premium business services far more cost-effectively than with a dedicated point-to-point connection and still have lots of capacity remaining for other services. The demand is there; research firm Analysys Mason forecasts a 30% growth in fiber-connected enterprises in the next four years.

Industry 4.0 leverages technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics, bringing together digital and physical worlds to automate processes and improve productivity in industrial practices. Applications, such as smart sensors, predictive maintenance, and 3D printing rely on very large amounts of data, often transmitted to the cloud. Industry 4.0 will test the limits of XGS-PON, providing operators with 25G PON upsell opportunities.

Source: 25GS-PON MSA

5G mobile transport is another use case where 25G PON will be of great value. 5G will require a far greater number of cells than either 3G or 4G, and hence a great many more fiber connections. These fiber connections are needed to support 5G backhaul, midhaul, and fronthaul mobile transport. 25G PON’s capacity will be especially valuable in high-density urban areas. Because fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) networks are already in place where 5G cells are most needed, service providers can either sell capacity to mobile operators or use it to speed deployments and reduce costs of their own 5G services.

The final use case, convergence, serves to minimize an operator’s expenses associated with supporting these new services. Building and maintaining multiple parallel networks is expensive and inefficient. However, because GPON, XGS-PON, and 25G PON operate on different wavelengths, they can co-exist on the same fiber. OPEX for a single converged network is obviously a lot lower, and separate services, such as for residential and enterprise, can easily be implemented with network slicing.

There are times when a new technology comes to market without a clear need for it. That is surely not the case with 25G PON where the bandwidth requirements of large-scale enterprises, Industry 4.0, and 5G transport already demand this new technology’s capacity and low latency. Though the market is young, analysts are forecasting deployments from 2022 and growing steadily.

To learn more, visit the 25GS-PON MSA website. I also recommend this very interesting discussion about 25G PON between Julie Kunstler (Omdia), Ed Barker (AT&T), and Patrick Delcoigne (Proximus).

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

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