Why 25G PON matters
Last month, we were part of a joint announcement for the 25GS-PON multi-source agreement. We’ve come together with other leading system vendors, component vendors and operators to put our collective weight behind the acceleration of 25G PON. Why? Because we all believe there is an urgent need to move beyond the 10 Gb/s limitations of XGS-PON.
This urgency is driven by two things. First is 5G. Mobile operators are increasingly turning to fiber broadband for efficient mobile transport that will support 5G densification and new cloud network architectures. While XGS-PON can support many 5G requirements, even 10 Gb/s will struggle where there’s a high density of 5G small cells, high throughput per cell, or where a premium SLA needs to be maintained. 25G PON excels in these conditions. It not only provides the bandwidth to backhaul the huge number of small cells, but also the ultra-low latency needed for fronthaul. Using an existing FTTH network for mobile transport means mobile operators can more quickly connect 5G small cell locations, eliminate the need for a dedicated transport network, and cut the total cost of ownership in half. You can learn more about these technicalities in this blog post by my colleague, Ana Pesovic.
The second factor driving the need for 25G PON is the increasing reliance on high-bandwidth connectivity by large-scale enterprises. Consulting and research firm Analysys Mason forecasts a 30% growth in fiber-connected enterprises in the next four years and, for large enterprises, the gold standard they’re after is 10Gb/s connectivity. Currently, that can only be delivered with a costly, dedicated point-to-point connection. 25G PON is a highly cost-effective alternative, meeting the rising demand from businesses while simultaneously supporting residential and 5G transport services, and creating opportunities for more efficiencies and revenues for operators.
While 25G is the best next step, we are already looking beyond that. Nokia is actively involved in the 50G PON standards effort, but 50G will require a number of new technologies, and the industry is at least 10 years away from 50G PON maturity. That is just too long a wait for broadband operators. 25G PON, on the other hand, leverages the mature ecosystem of data center optical technology already in high volume production, so it will be relatively quick and cost-effective to bring to market.
The 25GS-PON multi-source agreement (the ‘S’ stands for symmetrical) serves as a de facto standards organization to drive momentum, define how 25G PON should be implemented, and ensure basic functionality and interoperability between different vendors. These kinds of agreement are common with cloud hyperscalers because their markets and technologies move faster than the standards, and we’re now seeing this trend in telecom. We’ve already written and agreed to version 1.0 of the specification, and all MSA members are committed to promoting the technology and catalyzing the market.
We’d love to know your thoughts on 25G PON and the 25GS-PON MSA Group, which is actively inviting other industry leaders to join us in advancing this technology and market. Let’s make it happen!