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Fiber for everything

Fiber for everything

If you’ve been in the broadband business long enough (10 years or more), you will have witnessed how attitudes to fiber broadband have changed over time. In the beginning people were asking: Why fiber? Who needs fiber? Once the need for fiber became well established, the questions became: How can I transition to fiber? How should I deploy it? When fiber deployments reached planet-wide availability, operators realized they had this fantastic infrastructure that is getting faster and smarter every day. So, the latest questions have turned to: How can I generate more revenues from it? What additional services can I offer? 

So what changed? 

Well, firstly, investment in fiber access networks has been growing to the point that fiber is now pretty much everywhere. It passes every street, every corner, every building, so why not use it for more than just residential services? There would be no need to trench streets to add additional fiber for business services or mobile transport or smart city connectivity. It would be quick, easy, and cheap to connect new end points. 

The second recent change are some significant breakthroughs in the performance of PON. 

The first is capacity. Since the beginning of fiber broadband, 15 years ago, we are now capable of delivering 100x faster speeds. With the commercial availability of 25G PON, and with 50G and 100G PON on the horizon, there is no question that fiber PON now easily has enough bandwidth to support residential and business broadband, mobile backhaul, smart city and Industry 4.0 traffic on a single infrastructure that is already deployed. 

The next is latency. Although for residential broadband fiber is the king of low latency, new applications like 5G fronthaul and many Industry 4.0 applications require even lower latency that PON used to struggle to deliver. Not anymore. PON now uses innovative ranging processes, multiple bursts per frame per ONT, and the O-RAN defined Cooperative Transport interface to deliver sub-1ms latency. 

The third change is programmability in the cloud. To run a single network that encompasses different services, traffic types, customers, solutions, and generations of fiber technology, you need simple operations. SDN is providing that simplicity, by moving some functionality from the network to the cloud, and then running the algorithms and analytics in the cloud, resulting in automated operations. And there is more. SDN enables network slicing where you can dedicate a slice for each service on your converged fiber network, for example, Industry 4.0, wholesale, mobile transport, smart city, etc. With slicing, a network can be shared more efficiently, because each slice can have its own quality of service and can be operated independently. 

The wide availability of fiber and the advances in its performance have triggered a new paradigm. It is no longer just fiber-to-the-home; it is Fiber for Everything. A single fiber infrastructure that underpins the entire telecom industry.

The new paradigm has already prompted operators to: 

  • Generate more revenues on their fiber broadband networks by adding more use cases and services. This is pure margin, because there is very little, almost zero, additional investment needed on the existing fiber plant to be able to extend the use cases for fiber.

  • Introduce 5G small cells more quickly. Mobile transport is one of the biggest concerns in 5G, especially as the network starts to densify. Leveraging the existing fiber network, already deployed for consumers and businesses, is 50% more cost efficient than a dedicated transport network.

  • Decrease power consumption, because PON is the greenest technology, so the more customers you add on a PON, the better for the carbon footprint. For example, moving business customers from a point-to-point to a converged PON networks enables 40% power savings.

  • Cable operators can benefit from 40% lower TCO by pre-aggregating remote DOCSIS nodes on a PON and extending their service offering to enterprises.

  • And lastly, operators benefit from a single high-density network that is cheaper to deploy, maintain, and operate than multiple parallel networks.

Let’s conclude as we began with one final question: has fiber ever been more appealing? 

Welcome to the era of Fiber for Everything. Learn more here

Ana Pesovic

About Ana Pesovic

Ana heads the Fixed Networks Fiber marketing activities in Nokia. She built up extensive international telecom experience, with positions in sales, pre-sales and R&D in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and India. Ana has a Masters Degree in Informatics and Computer Science from the University of Belgrade. As member of the Board of Directors of the FTTH Council Europe, she’s a strong advocate of Fiber.

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