Omdia: Cable network operators deploy PONs

In addition to the traditional hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) topology, several cable network operators (MSOs) are also deploying Passive Optical Network (PON) technologies for targeted fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) buildouts in rural areas and other greenfield environments.  Others, like Altice USA and Virgin Media O2, are moving aggressively with PON overlays of their legacy HFC networks.

A recent Omdia (an Informa company) survey reveals that PON activity is rising among cable operators.  Omdia found that about 35% of cable operators surveyed have already deployed PON in their networks, with another 47% expected to do so within the next year. Just 8% said they have no plans to deploy PON at this time.  Collectively, about 80% of operators, as surveyed by Omdia, will be deploying PON in some form or fashion by next spring.

CableLabs recently launched a pair of fiber-oriented working groups focused on optical operations and maintenance and on specifying a DOCSIS framework for the provisioning of ITU-T based PON technology, including 10-Gig-capable XGS-PON.  10G-PON technology, first standardized in 2009 and first deployed in 2012, 10G-PON allows for 10 G symmetric capacity. The emerging 25G-PON and 50G-PON technology will allow cable operators to deploy cost-effective all-fiber solutions over the same optical distribution network far into the future to meet high-speed data trends.

While today’s PON deployments are largely focused on 10-Gig technologies, there’s already some action focused on next-gen 25-Gig technologies.

  • Google Fiber (not a MSO) is starting to head in that direction with Nokia’s 25G PON technology (see pic below), as per this IEEE Techblog post.
  • EPB (a municipal network operator in Chattanooga, Tennessee) has already introduced symmetrical 25 Gbit/s services across a footprint that passes about 180,000 homes and businesses.  Katie Espeseth, VP of new products at EPB, notes that 25G PON lowers costs while also delivering the kind of bandwidth required by hospitals, universities and other local institutions. “It [25G PON] has opened a whole new world for us,” she said.

“The real issue here probably isn’t the speed,” but how operators manage these new networks and make the required upgrades to their back-office systems, Richard Loveland, director of product line management, PON for FTTP products, Vecima Networks told Light Reading. Cable operators, he said, will have to decide to focus on DOCSIS-style technologies or consider changing over to new systems and platforms.   Loveland said merchant silicon is not available to support widespread PON deployment, and likewise isn’t convinced if the next big play will be for 25G or 50G PON.


Google Fiber planning 20 Gig symmetrical service via Nokia’s 25G-PON system

Omdia Surveys: PON will be a key part of network operator energy reduction strategies

Ooredoo Qatar is first operator in the world to deploy 50G PON

Dell’Oro: XGS, 25G, and Early 50G PON Rollouts to Fuel Broadband Spending

AT&T to deploy FTTP network based on XGS-PON in Amarillo, TX

Telefonica España to activate XGS-PON network in 2022; DELTA Fiber to follow in Netherlands

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