PRESS RELEASE: The Fiberization Process Accelerates, and the Proportion of FTTx in FBB Continues to Increase

The global “fiber-in and copper-out” and fiberization process is accelerating, and the proportion of FTTx in the FBB continues to increase. More than 90% of fixed network operators have chosen FTTx to construct broadband networks.

GPON is still in a large-scale deployment stage in the world. 10G PON has been deployed on a large scale in China, and 10G PON deployment has been started in a number of countries including Japan, South Korea, Spain, and the United States. The large-scale deployment of 10G PON drives the further maturity of the entire industry chain and continuous decline of costs, thus promoting the large-scale 10G PON deployment to move into a positive cycle. The next 2-3 years are expected to be the golden window of opportunity for global 10G PON deployment.

With Leading Technologies, 10G PON Enters the Time Window of Large-Scale Deployment. 10G PON Deployment Is Right on Time.

Since the release of the XGS-PON standard in 2016, 10G PON, especially XGS-PON, has been widely recognized by the industry due to its basic feature of four times the bandwidth of GPON. The 10G PON deployment is driven by the following four factors:

First, better service experience. The high-bandwidth services represented by video are booming in recent years. Internet celebrity livestreaming, game livestreaming, 4K/8K/Cloud VR, UHD video conferences, and metaverse require higher bandwidth. New services such as online gaming, remote/cloud office, distance education, and smart city/campus/community are developing rapidly, which stimulates continuous improvement of network bandwidth and promotes digital transformation.

Second, fierce market competition. Having competitive broadband networks can help operators get ahead of the market competition. For new-entrant operators, differentiated network technologies and services are the key to gaining a competitive edge.

Third, the support of national policies: The World Bank estimates that a 10 percent increase in fixed broadband penetration would increase GDP growth by 1.38%, and doubling the broadband speed would boost GDP by 0.3%. More and more countries have launched national strategies or plans to promote network construction, including China’s “Dual Gigabit” plan, EU’s “2025 Gigabit Society” plan, and Germany’s “2025 Gigabit Germany” plan.

Fourth, network upgrade and reconstruction. As the “fiber-in and copper-out” process continues, traditional narrowband PSTN/TDM and broadband DSL/DOCSIS networks need to use more advanced technologies to meet the network deployment requirements in the new era. At the same time, some old GPON/EPON networks need equipment upgrade and replacement due to the long service time.

In terms of 10G PON construction, there are two main solutions to meet operators’ requirements for smooth evolution, cost control, and on-demand upgrade.

Figure 1 Construction Modes of Combo PON and Any-PON

Solution 1: Combo PON solution. The Combo PON solution integrates the GPON optical module, 10G PON optical module, and WDM1r multiplexer functions into one Combo PON optical module to implement smooth evolution from GPON to 10G PON. The Combo PON solution is applicable to the scenarios where 10G PON construction is planned in a short term (for example, 0-3 years). It supports on-step deployment of CO-end PON OLTs and on-demand deployment of GPON or 10G PON in accordance with the service and network development requirements, without the need of changing the existing OLTs and ODNs and without affecting the existing GPON services and data. In the early stage, the construction cost of Combo PON is slightly high, but OpEx is low. ZTE is the first vendor in the industry to propose the Combo PON concept. By the end of 2022, ZTE had deployed more than 5.9 million Combo PON ports worldwide.

Solution 2: Any-PON solution. The Any-PON solution supports GPON, XG-PON, XGS-PON, XG-PON Combo, and XGS-PON Combo on the same card. It is applicable to the scenarios where GPON is built first in a short term, but the upgrade to 10G PON and building 10G PON ready FTTx networks are under planning in a long term (for example, in 3-5 years). In the early stage, low-cost GPON can be constructed. When conditions are mature, GPON can be upgraded to 10G PON by replacing optical modules and upgrading licenses, and ONUs can be deployed as per demand. In the early stage, the construction cost of Any-PON is low, but OpEx may increase due to secondary or multiple times of site visit to replace optical modules. ZTE Any-PON has been deployed by more than 40 operators.

Industrial Collaboration Facilitates the Improvement of the 50G PON Standard and the Industry Chain

With the acceleration of 10G PON construction, the industry begins to focus on the selection of next-generation technologies after 10G PON. In fact, after the 10G PON standard is determined, ITU-T started to carry out research on the follow-up technology evolution and determined 50G PON as the next-generation technology direction after 10G PON in 2018. ITU-T released the first version of the 50G PON standard G. 9804.x in September 2021, and all 50G PON standards were consented in September 2022. It can be predicated that the 50G PON industry chain will gradually mature in the next 2-3 years, and will be ready for commercial use in 2025.

Figure 2 ITU-T 50G PON Standard Progress

As the follow-up evolution of PON, 50G PON provides five times higher bandwidth than 10G PON, and provides ultra-high bandwidth, low latency and low jitter to meet the requirements for ultra-high bandwidth access, deterministic network construction in enterprise campuses, and mobile xHaul, and the requirements for improving bandwidth quality, service quality, and experience.

There are two main evolution modes in the evolution from 10G PON to 50G PON. One is to follow the Combo PON concept to implement smooth upgrade based on the same PON port, and the other is to implement the evolution by using external CEx multiplexers. From the perspective of reducing network upgrade costs and time, ZTE recommends Combo PON to evolve from 10G PON to 50G PON.

Figure 3 Evolving to 50G PON by Using Combo PON

As a technical leader in the fixed network field and a member of ITU, ZTE is committed to working with the industry to improve the 50G PON standard and the maturity of the industry chain, and making contributions. So far, ZTE has submitted more than sixty 50G PON standard proposals to standards organizations, among which the proposals for physical layer parameters, low latency, and FEC have been adopted.

With the goal of win-win cooperation, ZTE is committed to growing together with customers and continuously creating value for them. ZTE is willing to carry out in-depth cooperation with the industry, contribute to the development of global access networks, jointly promote smooth network evolution, and create higher value.