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25G PON gets closer

AT&T and other leading communications companies have this week joined the group responsible for defining the specifications for 25 Gigabit Symmetric Passive Optical Network technology. The 25GS-PON Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) Group now includes 17 network operators, equipment vendors and component suppliers and interest continues to grow.    

Sandy Motley, President of Fixed Networks explains why Nokia is involved with the MSA Group and the importance of 25G PON for the industry.


What is 25G PON?

Passive optical networks (PON) are used by communication service providers to deliver internet connectivity to their customers using fiber-optic technology. It is the quickest growing access technology worldwide because it is the fastest, greenest and most future proofed. Fiber access networks are becoming the unifying infrastructure that underpins the entire telecom industry, connecting everyone to everything including consumers, businesses, smart cities and even 5G cell sites.

To capitalize on these opportunities, PON networks will need to be faster. Today’s most widely deployed PON technology, known as GPON (for Gigabit PON) and XGS-PON (for 10G Symmetrical PON), can already operate at up to 10 Gb/s.

25G PON is the next step in the evolution, delivering 25Gb/s of both download and upload speeds. It uses the same principles as current GPON (up to 2.5Gb/s) and XGS-PON technology but with faster speeds. While all previous generations of PON were derived from long-haul technologies, 25G PON is using a different approach. It is based on optical technology massively deployed in data centers, which ensures cost-efficiency, short time to market and plenty of capacity. 

What is the 25GS-PON MSA and what is its mission?  

The 25GS-PON MSA Group was formed to develop the technical specification, strengthen the eco-system and promote market development of symmetrical 25G PON technology ahead of standards authorization by the International Telecommunications Union. The name stands for 25G Symmetrical PON.

MSAs are widely accepted in the marketplace, especially when market needs evolve faster than the standard. For example, the most widely deployed 100G Ethernet in data centers is based on an MSA.

Why did operators like AT&T and other industry players join the MSA?

There are a clear set of use cases for 25G in the near/mid-term. It will be used for 5G transport, carrying the mobile traffic from 5G cell sites deeper in the network at 50% lower cost than other transport solutions. It will provide enterprises with access to full 10Gb/s services and it will unlock the potential of fiber to connect everything over a single unified infrastructure. 25G will make converged networks a reality, where mobile and fixed combine for cost efficiency and faster time to market.  

Having the possibility to quickly and easily introduce 25G PON to boost the speeds where needed makes the network more valuable and operators’ position stronger.

As high bandwidth applications evolve in the future, requiring more bandwidth capacity, 25G will eventually find users within the residential market

When will 25G PON be available? What are the milestones?

Nokia announced the world’s first 25G PON solution in November 2020 which will work on Nokia’s existing Quillion-based PON hardware. Operators will be able to start validating the technology in 2021, and will deploy in 2022.

What’s involved in the implementation?

When we designed the Quillion chipset for next generation massive access, we incorporated 25G PON capabilities. As a consequence, all our customers who deploy Quillion-based GPON and XGS-PON today, already have 25G PON capabilities in their network.

What is Nokia’s involvement?

Nokia was one of the founding members of the 25GS-PON MSA Group. The group was formed in response to a growing operators’ need for speeds >10Gb/s, and as a leader in fiber broadband we are helping them solve this challenge. 25G PON provided the speed and symmetrical capacity that operators were seeking from their fiber networks. Because it is based on mature technologies that are supported by an existing eco-system of component and system vendors, 25G provides a cost-efficient solution that’s available this year.

What are the steps after 25G PON?  

Operators, as well as infrastructure investors, governments, cities and utilities are investing in fiber infrastructure, and it is important for them to know that they will be able to use that investment for many years to come. Luckily optical fiber has virtually unlimited capacity potential, and today we are using just a fraction of that potential. New technologies, like 25G PON, unlock more capacity on fiber. 25G PON is available today, but it is important to keep pushing innovating. We are involved in 50G standardization, and we see that 50G is a quantum leap and needs a new generation of laser technologies. It will take 8-10 years to reach the maturity and enable commercial deployments of 50G PON. In February we have announced an industry-first 100G PON demo with Vodafone, based on Bell Labs innovations. While still far away from commercial availability, 100G PON demo proves the superiority of fiber in delivering ultra-high speeds in converged networks.


Technology explained, by Nokia

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