Network Convergence Opportunity Continues to Drive 10G PON Deployments

Broadbandtrends recently conducted a global service provider survey of  leading broadband operators regarding their plans to deploy 10G PON technology within their network. 10G PON offers operators the opportunity to offer both higher bandwidth and symmetrical services, while simultaneously addressing the bandwidth, latency and the densification requirements of the emerging 5G network.

Key findings of the survey include the following:

  • XGS-PON is the 10G PON technology of choice to serve both residential and business segments
  • Coexistence & migration from existing network to new network, was the overwhelming concern for operators followed by costs to deploy 10G PON
  • The ability to have a converged architecture supporting multiple applications and support for multi-gigabit residential broadband are the key drivers for implementation of 10G technologies.
  • Business services will be the primary initial applications for 10G PON deployments, followed by residential triple-play, with mobile network support in the future
  • Deployment of 10G PON for residential applications is not expected until 2020 for the majority of operators
  • Although 10G PON can offer very high bandwidth – the majority of operators only plan to offer 2-5Gbps to the residential market segment
  • The majority of operators are expected to move from GPON–>XGS PON for their evolution to 10G PON
  • Migration to NG-PON2 is not expected to occur for the majority of operators until 2022 or later
  • The ability to bond multiple 10G wavelengths together ranked very important for the majority of survey participants, however, it was not rated by any operators as a key driver
  • The need for even higher bandwidth PONs (greater than 10G PON) is not expected until 2024 or later
  • Relationship with the trusted vendor account team has the greatest influence in vendor selection for 10G PON

GPON remains the most prevalent FTTH technology.  However, its current bandwidth capabilities and its asymmetric characteristics do not provide enough capacity to support the expected growth in bandwidth demand.  Therefore, operators are looking at the latest iterations of the PON standard – 10G PON – for their future network requirements.  At present, there are a variety of 10G options available to operators – including 10G EPON, XG-PON1, XGS-PON and NG-PON2.

NG-PON2 is considered the ‘ultimate” future proof technology – offering multiple wavelengths supporting up to 40Gbps and capable of serving multiple/different segments on each individual wavelength. Additionally, the ability to bond wavelengths together to offer even higher bandwidth options, positions this technology well for future bandwidth growth.

Key characteristics that are attracting operators to these next-generation PON solutions include the ability to offer a converged network for both residential and business services, support for multi-gigabit residential broadband along with the ability to re-use many portion of their existing optical distribution network (ODN).  However, there is great concern regarding the coexistence and migration from the existing network to the new network.

However, unlike previous PON networks – which primarily served residential customers; the variety of applications that can be supported with 10G PON has opened up new market segments could help ease cost concerns for operators.  As such, many operators are initially targeting the high-value business/enterprise segments for their early deployments to achieve a faster ROI.

To position their networks for future growth, many operators plan to take a step-wise approach to their 10G PON migration with a large majority focusing on XGS-PON for the first phase of their roll-outs.  Although operators have expressed a strong interest in NG-PON 2 – the timing for this migration remains well into the future for a large majority.

10GPON_Drivers_2019

Broadbandtrends’ Global Service Provider 10G PON Deployment Strategies survey analyzes the results from interviews with 45 incumbent and competitive operators in all major regions, about their plans and deployment strategies for 10G PON.  The report provides a global overview of the results as well as commentary on any notable regional differences found in the results.

Key Questions Answered in this study includes the following:

  • What are operator timelines for the deployment of 10G PON?
  • Which 10G PON technology will be deployed and which market segments will it serve?
  • What are the key drivers for deployment of 10G PON technology?
  • What are the top challenges/concerns related to the deployment of10G PON technology?
  • Which services will be deployed via 10G PON?
  • What is the timeframe for residential 10G PON deployment?
  • What multi-gigabit speeds will operators offer in the residential market?
  • Which 10G PON migration path will operators take?
  • What is their timeframe to migrate to NG-PON2?
  • How important is Nx10G Wavelengths for NG-PON2
  • When do operators expect to need greater than 10G PON solutions?
  • What is the top factor influencing 10G PON vendor selection?

This Report is 25-pages in length with (18) Figures and (1) Table is available with special limited time pricing of $1295(USD) through November 30, 2019.  To order this report, please contact us at 540.725.9774 or via email at mailto:sales@broadbandtrends.com. Additionally this report may be purchased online at www.broadbandtrends.com/reports

Has Gfast Reached Its Peak? All Signs Point to Yes.

Gfast we hardly got to know you…but its looking like your time may be over before you ever really got started.

8 ball - signs point to yes

This past week – the operator with the largest commitment to Gfast technology – BT’s Openreach,  informed ISPs that they will not be providing any further guidance on future build plans for their G.fast (ultrafast broadband 100Mbps+) technology.  This means that under the existing roll-out they will only cover 2.73 million UK premises by March 2020 versus previous plans to offer the 330Mbps-capable G.fast product to  5.5 million (down from the original 10 million) premises by the end of 2020.  .

According to multiple press reports, the company confirmed it is reassessing capital injection plans across all broadband technology platforms, including G.fast, while it drafts the next phase of fiber-to-the-premises deployment.

In July 2018, the government of the United Kingdom released its Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR) which sets its strategy and goals for both FTTH and 5G.   In an effort to increase its competitiveness; boost productivity and meet the future demands of its consumers and businesses – the UK set targets of 15 million full-fiber (FTTH) premises by 2025 and nationwide coverage by 2033.  In order to provide nation-wide coverage of FTTH to all 27 million premises, an investment of £30 billion would be required.

A copper-to-fiber switchover happening sooner than planned?

The UK government believes (and rightly so) that a FTTH network would improve quality of service; be more reliable and offer operators lower maintenance costs than copper.  As such, it believes it to be prudent, and to encourage consumers to migrate to FTTH that a copper to fiber switchover strategy be in place to stimulate demand and could be in place across the majority of the country by 2030, with a possibility that is could occur as early as 2027.

BT has already raised its FTTP connection target from 3 million to 4 million as it faces increased competition from other FTTP providers such as CityFiber, HyperOptic, and Vodafone.

Current State of the Gfast market

Due to its super short loop lengths (50m for 1Gbps) – Gfast was always viewed (IMHO) as a highly tactical deployment to offer faster speeds in highly competitive environments where time to market was critical.   In fact, the top use case cited by 70% of operators (from our 5th Global Operator Survey on Gfast Deployment strategies) was Fiber-to-the-Building (FTTB), with the DPU placed in the basement of the MDU.  There has been virtually no interest by any operators (outside of BT’s Openreach) to deploy Gfast to single family homes.

Although Gfast has the capability to offer speeds up to 2Gbps – the majority of Gfast deployments were targeting speeds in the 250-500Mbps (BT’s Openreach was targeting 330Mbps) – far below the speeds that can be offered with FTTP.

Furthermore, cost remained a top concern for operators that are currently deploying or plan to deploy Gfast.  Factors contributing to cost concerns include the need to deploy fiber further into the network, as Gfast requires significantly shorter loops than VDSL2 Vectoring; the potential need for external power depending on DPU location, as well as new CPE.  In addition, since the distribution point will likely serve a smaller number of customers than ADSL or even VDSL2 Vectoring, the cost per subscriber is likely to be higher.

Beyond cost concerns, the quality of the copper plant – particularly within the MDU has proven to be challenge for those operators that are actively deploying Gfast.  Issues such as the type of cable – anything from CAT6 cabling down to pieces of flat cable patched together – as well as lack of documentation related to cable lengths have made deployment in some MDUs particularly challenging.

All of these challenges combined with a rapid increase in streaming services as well as the need for more fiber in support of 5G networks offers no surprises that we are seeing a change in strategy with respect to Gfast.

The actual volume of deployment is likely to remain relatively small – as operators continue to use this as a tactical tool to address very specific use cases for broadband service deployment.

Globally, to date, approximately 3.85 million Gfast ports have been shipped to operators – with the majority shipped primarily to two operators:  BT’s Openreach and Swisscom.   Although Australia’s NBN, Deutsche Telekom have also been vocal proponents of Gfast – these operators (with the exception of nbn) have also shifted their focus towards FTTP.

GlobalGfast

GfastShipments

As shown, Gfast shipments actually peaked in 4Q2018 and have steadily declined since this time period.  Huawei has been the market leader for Gfast as it is the primary supplier to the both Openreach and Swisscom.  And while they are the most likely to be impacted – its impact is minimal as they are also the provider of FTTP equipment within these (and many other) accounts.

Gfast will continue to offer a option to fill in the gap for speed when time to market is critical.  But its role as a long-term options for ultra broadband services has likely already seen its best days.

Has Gfast reached its peak?  All signs point to YES.

Fixed broadband hits major milestone

We recently authored this blog post over at Adva Optical’s Technically Speaking blog:

By the end of 2018, fixed broadband is expected to reach a major milestone – one billion served – supporting nearly 50 percent of total households around the globe. While this number pales in comparison to mobile broadband at nearly six billion subscribers (per Ericsson Mobility Report – November 2018) its significance cannot be overlooked.

This number represents a billion opportunities for service providers and application developers to extract additional revenue streams while offering consumers more value, more speed and more services (read more….).

Network Convergence Opportunity Driving 10G PON Deployments Confirms Global Survey

Broadbandtrends recently conducted a global service provider survey of  broadband operators regarding their plans to deploy 10G PON technology within their network. 10G PON offers operators the opportunity to offer both higher bandwidth and symmetrical services, while simultaneously addressing the bandwidth, latency and the densification requirements of the emerging 5G network.

Key findings of the survey include the following:

  • XGS-PON is the 10G PON technology of choice to serve both residential and business segments
  • Cost remains the greatest concern facing operators planning to deploy 10G PON
  • The ability to have a converged architecture supporting multiple applications as well as reusing the existing passive ODN are the key drivers for implementation of 10G technologies.
  • Business services will be the primary initial applications for 10G PON deployments, followed by residential triple-play, with mobile network support in the future
  • Deployment of 10G PON for residential applications is not expected until 2020 for the majority of operators
  • Although 10G PON can offer very high bandwidth – the majority of operators only plan to offer 2-5Gbps to the residential market segment
  • The majority of operators are expected to take a step-wise migration path in their 10G PON evolution, with NG-PON2 adoption not expected until 2020 or later for most operators
  • The need for even higher bandwidth PONs (25G) is not expected until 2024 or later
  • ADTRAN was the perceived 10G PON leader across all categories followed by Nokia and Huawei

GPON remains the most prevalent FTTH technology.  However, its current bandwidth capabilities and its asymmetric characteristics do not provide enough capacity to support the expected growth in bandwidth demand.  Therefore, operators are looking at the latest iterations of the PON standard – 10G PON – for their future network requirements.  At present, there are a variety of 10G options available to operators – including 10G EPON, XG-PON, XGS-PON and NG-PON2.

NG-PON2 is considered the ‘ultimate” future proof technology – offering multiple wavelengths supporting up to 40Gbps (and even higher in the future!) and capable of serving multiple/different segments on each individual wavelength. Additionally, the ability to bond wavelengths together to offer even higher bandwidth options, positions this technology well for future bandwidth growth.

Key characteristics that are attracting operators to these next-generation PON solutions include the ability to offer a converged network for both residential and business services, along with the ability to re-use many portion of their existing optical distribution network (ODN).  However, the cost associated with 10G and the ROI timeframes remain key concerns.

Unlike previous PON networks – which primarily served residential customers; the variety of applications that can be supported with 10G PON along with new market segments could help ease cost concerns for operators.  As such, many operators are initially targeting the high-value business/enterprise segments for their early deployments to achieve a faster ROI.  Finally, a number of vendors are offering flexible optics that allows a 10G PON OLT to utilize multiple types of optical transceivers to achieve best cost alignment and ease cost concerns.  Finally, vendors are also introducing innovative solutions to over-come the “interoperability” concern, helping to accelerate time to market for new product introduction.

10GPON_Objectives

Broadbandtrends’ Global Service Provider 10G PON Deployment Strategies survey analyzes the results from interviews with 36 incumbent and competitive operators in all major regions, about their plans and deployment strategies for 10G PON.  The report provides a global overview of the results as well as commentary on any notable regional differences found in the results.

Key Questions Answered in this study includes the following:

  • What are operator timelines for the deployment of 10G PON?
  • Which 10G PON technology will be deployed and which market segments will it serve?
  • What are the key drivers for deployment of 10G PON technology?
  • What are the top challenges/concerns related to the deployment of10G PON technology?
  • Which services will be deployed via 10G PON?
  • What is the timeframe for residential 10G PON deployment?
  • What multi-gigabit speeds will operators offer in the residential market?
  • Which 10G PON migration path will operators take?
  • What is their timeframe to migrate to NG-PON2?
  • How important is Nx10G Wavelengths for NG-PON2
  • When do operators expect to need 25G PON solutions?
  • Which vendors are operators most familiar with for 10G PON Solutions?
  • Which vendors are perceived as leaders for 10G PON Product Performance, 10G PON Deployment Experience, 10G PON Product Roadmap, 10G PON Pricing, and 10G PON Service & Support?

Vendors evaluated included:  ADTRAN, Calix, DASAN/Zhone Technologies, Fiberhome, Huawei, Iskratel, KEYMILE, Nokia, ZTE, and ZyXEL.

This Report is 25-pages in length with (19) Figures and (1) Tables is available for purchase for $2495(USD).  To order this report, please contact us at 540.725.9774 or via email at mailto:sales@broadbandtrends.com. Additionally this report may be purchased online at www.broadbandtrends.com/reports

10G PON Deployment Strategies

Increasing demand for faster broadband speeds; the need for a cost-effective converged network; as well as support for future 5G networks and services is driving increased interest in 10G PON technology.

But which flavor will win?  Is it XG-PON? or XGS-PON, or NG-PON2 or 10G-EPON.  What is the transition and upgrade path that operators plan to implement?

What are the key drivers or perhaps more importantly – what are the key challenges as operators look to implement these technologies within their network?

What are the services they plan to deploy over these networks and what is the timeframe for residential deployments?

The multi-wavelength capabilities of NG-PON2 are highly attractive for a number of applications – however, to date this technology has been cost prohibitive.  Why and when will operators make this technology shift?

These are all questions (and a few more) that we hope to answer with our latest global operator survey:  10G-PON Deployment strategies.

If you are an operator that is currently deploying or plan to deploy these technologies – we want your input into a confidential survey.  To thank you for your time – we will provide the complete report upon publication.

To take the survey, please click on the following link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/10GPON

Thank you in advance.  The survey closes on Friday October 12, 2018

Huawei UBBF 2018 Focuses on the Intent-Driven Network

Huawei held its 5th annual Ultra Broadband Forum (UBBF) 2018 September 10-11, 2018 with the theme of the Intent-Driven Network:  Maximize Your Business Value.  The Intent-Driven Network (IDN) is based on its ability to monitor, identify, and respond to changing network conditions in real time.

The event showcased a number of customers (operators) that were implementing solutions from Huawei as they migrate their networks towards IDN.  Speakers from Swisscom, Telefonica, TDC, Telia, HKT, Openreach, Orange and Vodafone were featured along with key Huawei executives who highlighted current activity in this area. In addition, the event featured a large demonstration exhibition along with a site visit to Swisscom’s ultra broadband deployments of G.fast.

The goals of IDN are to leverage technologies such as cloud, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide more intelligence in the network.  This will enable a premium user experience while also bringing more adaptiveness and automation into the network for more efficient network operation.

In today’s networks, operations & maintenance (O&M) remain antiquated – providing limited awareness of the entire network.  As such, resolution of network faults cannot be handled quickly, resulting in a unsatisfactory user experience.  This becomes a business problem, when an operator cannot meet the SLA requirements for enterprises and governments.  Additionally, as more and more users migrate towards mobile services and applications – this becomes an even greater challenge as the number of network connections will rapidly increase, leading to traffic distribution uncertainties while expanding the scale of the network .

By building more intelligence into the network – combined with AI which can analyze large sums of data quickly – operators can shift from a passive O&M environment (equipment-centric)  towards an active O&M environment that can sense user requirements in real time and dynamically configure network resources based on service operations.

Huawei provided some data on real-life examples that should excite operators:

  • 20 percent reduction in customer churn
  • 30 percent reduction in home visits
  • 50 percent reduction in trouble shooting time

In short,  IDN is driven by customers’ business intent and service policies, putting the  user experience front and center based on the following features: intelligence, simplicity, ultra-broadband capabilities, security, and openness.

From a personal perspective – it was a nice change to go beyond the standard discussion regarding implementation of SDN/NFV towards the next step – where users and services are the focal point.  While there was some discussion of ultra broadband technologies – the bulk of this was left to the operator presenters to discuss how they are leveraging these technologies for their own networks.

My only disappointment was the invite-only CTO Roundtable – which featured a more interactive discussion from leading operators.  This should have been part of the general conference agenda.

Overall, a worthwhile event and I thank Huawei for the invitation.

The SHAPE of things to Come…

This past weekend, I had the honor to attend AT&T’s SHAPE event that explores the convergence of technology and entertainment.  Held at Warner Bros. Studios – on a sound stage, no less – the event brought together a wide variety of exhibits and speakers to discuss and demonstrate how new technologies like mixed reality, interactive storytelling, emerging tech in networking,  and blockchain (yes, blockchain) are transforming digital media, film, television, and gaming.   This event is the evolution of the AT&T Developer’s Conference which had previously been held prior to CES.

The event – attended by 14,000 attendees – and open to the public, was a mix of panel sessions and presentations, interactive demos of new devices and entertainment experiences (think AI and Augmented/Mixed/Virtual Reality) as well as the AT&T Film awards and Entertainment App Challenge.

On a side note – the short film “Are We Good Parents?”  may have been one of the funniest 8 minutes I have ever seen. (Here’s the link to the trailer)

A key take away from this event was that it was not primarily focused on AT&T.  In fact, its products and technology were truly ancillary to the event.  In light of its pending merger with Time Warner, the event was more of a showcase to illustrate the continued blending of entertainment and technology and how AT&T was pivoting its own position as a provider of Telecommunications products and services towards a global media, entertainment and technology company.

Intel and AT&T did share a session on Immersive Media & 5G – which provided examples of how technology would allow developers to think differently about data – opening up an endless opportunity to create “experiences” for the end-user.  Leveraging the quantum leaps in speed and reduced latency,  combined with AI, data analytics and edge computing – the 5G network will offer a platform for a variety of new and unimaginable services such as  volumetric video to offer consumers an experience beyond their expectations.

For AT&T, the SHAPE event was an opportunity to showcase its activity beyond just the connectivity, but as a provider of the tools and technology that will enable the next wave of entertainment experiences.

There was an extensive demo/exhibit aspect to the SHAPE event which allowed users to fully explore how technology is revolutionizing entertainment, with much of it interactive.

While the 5G demo focused on AR/VR and showcased the benefits of low latency, other demos included a visual effects studio, full body and facial motion capture (people were having A LOT of fun with this one) and well as new filming technology such as cinematic robotics and 360 degree cameras.

In addition, a first look at the RED Hydrogen One smart phone was offered.  RED is known for its high-end cameras used by filmmakers.  Now it is offering a consumer facing product (well, maybe not your average consumer with its $1300+ price), that features a  holographic display with the ability to switch between 2D and 3D without the need of glasses. And lets not forget its A3D surround sound.

The event also brought together a number of entertainment innovators – Issa Rae and Sean Combs (yes Diddy, himself) who both talked about using technology and social media to grow and expand their careers – in Sean Combs case way beyond just entertainment.  I personally, had no idea the extent of his business holdings.  But he left the audience with some pretty sage advice:

  • Know your craft and Master it
  • Be fearless with your ideas. Especially the crazy ones
  • Understand the power of controlling your narrative

I would say that AT&T is following his advice on all three points and making it quite clear that they are no longer just your Father’s telephone company.  With their carefully curated acquisitions and investments in technology, AT&T is leading the industry in innovation that blends technology and entertainment to create new experiences for the end-user and defining the SHAPE of things to come.