fiber broadband
Industry Insight Series

In a previous article, I made a case for why operators should consider deploying XGS-PON to gain the favor of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund’s (RDOF) prioritized support for services with faster speeds and lower latency.

Making the switch to an XGS-PON network enables operators to benefit from the network capacity required to expand their existing network footprint, to increase service take rate, and to offer lucrative multi-gigabit services directed at premium residential and enterprise customers using a single common ODN. With a GPON network, an average peak rate of 4 Mbps upstream and 25 Mbps downstream will greatly elevate the number of failed gigabit speed tests and the quantity of costly customer care calls.

But for many operators, the difference in the cost for a GPON-based Optical Networking Unit (ONU) and an XGS-PON based ONU can be large enough to tilt them to favor deploying their access network with GPON, especially when scaled to 100,000 subscribers or more.

What if you could benefit from the economies of GPON today and migrate to XGS-PON with minimal investment tomorrow? Since the two technologies operate on different wavelengths, both GPON and XGS-PON can coexist on a single ODN. By deploying with a coexistence module, you can benefit from the economies of scale and the breadth of choice offered by GPON and delay the added cost of XGS-PON.

Another option to consider is deploying both GPON and XGS-PON today with or without a coexistence module, using both a GPON OLT and an XGS-PON OLT. This solution gives you a clear separation between subscribers. Because of the separation, each PON port can be used to serve up to 128 subscribers. However, there is the extra investment to fund and maintain the architecture and the difficulty associated with moving GPON customers to the XGS-PON network in the future, if needed.

Perhaps the best alternative is a combination OLT that integrates the coexistence of GPON and XGS-PON into a single entity. The advantage of deploying a Combo PON OLT is that you can serve GPON customers today and add XGS-PON customers later without adding any new equipment. Since most of the cost differential between GPON and XGS-PON deployment is on the ONU side, a Combo PON OLT is the perfect low-cost, upfront investment in GPON and the least disruptive and most economical migration to XGS-PON.

Adtran GPON Network
Source: Adtran

Not only does Combo PON provide all of the first-generation XGS-PON capacity and operational benefits, but it offers the opportunity to leverage the full value of mass-market GPON technology while further simplifying fiber network modernization processes, making Combo PON the next next-generation FTTH solution. Learn more at

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

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