PARTNER FEATURE: Together with ZTE, network operator Greenfiber brings ultra-fast internet to rural regions.
Making fast internet available in under-served regions – that is the goal Greenfiber has set itself in cooperation with ZTE. The Northern German network operator has teamed up with the telecommunications equipment supplier ZTE to provide the rural districts of Minden-Lübbecke, Lüneburg and Fulda with fast 10-gigabit networks, also considering a future expansion to 5G. Not only private households benefit from this, but also companies and large facilities like hospitals: From now on, more users can effectively use the advantages of digitization for their customer business and for their own business model.
With ZTE, Greenfiber has selected a partner that has already proven its capabilities a first joint project in Raunheim in Hessen. As part of the cooperation in Raunheim, the infrastructure for a 10-gigabit network was set up in a pilot project and fiber optic was installed in the apartments right up to the end customer. The FTTH network (Fiber To The Home) is well received by customers due to its operational reliability and outstanding bandwidths. As a result, bookings of the new fiber optic connections are unusually high. The success of the project in Raunheim thus formed the basis for further network expansion projects by ZTE and Greenfiber in the Minden-Lübbecke, Lüneburg and Fulda districts, which are already proceeding at a rapid pace.
The first sections of the new 10 gigabit network for these counties will go into operation in summer 2020. End customers and commercial customers in the three regions with a total of 50 schools and over 1,000 companies can then use a bandwidth of ten gigabits per second. The funds for the expansion are raised through mixed financing – partly from governmental subsidies, but also through cooperation with municipalities as protection providers and through own capital.
The active components from ZTE provide a solid basis for the network: OLTs (Optical Line Terminals) and ONTs. The OLTs serve as nodes between the main network and the last mile to the customers. A real debut is the TITAN (ZXA10 C600) OLT platform from ZTE, which is being used here for the first time in Europe for a 10Gbps-XGS-PON fiber optic network. It supports all three generations of PON technology – GPON, XG-PON and XGS-PON – and in the future even 50GPON. Thanks to its non-blocking switching capacity and its future-oriented product architecture, the solution is able to provide symmetrical 10Gbit/s services with XGS-PON technology for end customers. The hardware consists of XGS-PON ONTs (Optical Network Terminals) that connect to the network form and convert the incoming optical signal into an electrical signal with 10 Gbit/s according to IEEE 802.3an. For network operation, ZTE also provides the EMS NetNumen U31 server as a uniform management system.
“We have had good experiences with ZTE because the manufacturer’s technology is easy and intuitive to use and runs very stably,” explains Uwe Krabbe, managing director of Greenfiber– Internet & Dienste GmbH. High usability is particularly important for day-to-day operations, and personal support from ZTE is exemplary.
The pandemic as a driver for network expansion
The practical challenges with the current new installations in Minden-Lübbecke, Lüneburg and Fulda include the significantly increased user data usage in view of the corona pandemic. This has led to a doubling of the bandwidth requirement within two weeks. However, the workflow of the network provider itself was not permanently impaired. Greenfiber used a pandemic-related one-month break in the construction work to specifically optimize the security strategy. While many economic sectors are suffering from the pandemic, it is proving to be a real driver for the telecommunications industry. Providers feel the increased need for telecommunication solutions in the wake of the pandemic, especially when it comes to connecting clinics.
Network infrastructure that supports data-intensive applications
A particular challenge when installing fiber equipment in private households is the question of responsibility, which is often not clearly regulated in apartment buildings or house communities. Here, the sales department often has to establish contact with the house owner or an appropriate contact person. With a market share of 90 percent, private houses form the central pillar of the network expansion and are gradually being upgraded with ZTE gigabit technology while the old technology is being replaced.
But not only for private users, but also for commercial users, the ultra-high-speed Internet leads to considerable improvements: the Neuro-Spine Center in Fulda will benefit from the speed of up to ten gigabits per second in the future with data-intensive examination methods such as tele radiology. Neurosurgeon Dr. Samir Al-Hami had to rely on several bundled DSL lines – a suboptimal procedure for big data applications in the field of diagnostic imaging, tele radiology and for live surgery. Against this background, medical application in hospitals is driving broadband expansion. Other users who benefit directly from the broadband expansion include a locally based company from the plastics technology industry as well as the Minden Academy.
Visionary approaches for the technology mix of tomorrow
“When it comes to expanding fiber optics, Greenfiber is playing a pioneering role in Europe,” says Uwe Krabbe. “Because most other European countries are not yet ready to expand to the end customer.” He has high hopes for the lifespan of ZTE’s 10-gigabit technology, which is characterized by stable operation without failures right from the start. “Until we expect the next generation of technology in around six to eight years, we will also keep a close eye on ZTE’s future strategy. With the bandwidths we are now reaching, we have made a very sustainable investment.”
Particular attention is paid to the future topic of 5G: Greenfiber is also active here and relies on the extensive expertise that ZTE brings with it in this area. “We consider fiber optics to be the backbone of 5G technology and so we are looking at both areas at the same time,” comments Sun Jie, Managing Director of ZTE Deutschland GmbH. “Our goal is to support the German federal states and municipalities in implementing the gigabit strategy together with strong partners such as Greenfiber and thus also to achieve the goals set by the Federal Government for network expansion. For this we bring our worldwide leading technology to Germany. ”
Cooperations between partners like Greenfiber and ZTE have proven its worth, especially in rural areas in Germany. The telecommunications supplier has a wealth of experience with regional network operators because it can connect with them directly and support them – for example through technical training. Conversely, many network operators feel that they are in good hands and can use ZTE to master this particular challenge of expanding in rural areas. Further joint projects are already planned, a corresponding framework agreement has been signed. The expansion of fiber optic networks in other districts, including Bavaria, is already on the way.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back