“Whatever will we do with all that broadband speed?” you ask. Some (including an AT&T executive) once scoffed at homes ever needing 1 Mbps and now many are clamoring for 100 Mbps. Broadband speed has been a “build it and they will come” phenomena.
Recent conversations with various industry executives during and after the cablecos INTX trade show held earlier this month about their broadband plans seem to indicate:
1. Telcos are investing time and money to increase the broadband speeds they can offer in competition against the cabelcos’ faster DOCSIS broadband. To do that, they have accelerated their plans to deploy, as soon as it is available, the copper-wire based G.fast, currently said to be capable of 500 Mbps — and especially to MDUs where installing new wires (ie fiber) is often near-impossible and certainly very expensive. G.fast backers say it’s ultimately capable of 1 Gbps over short distances of copper wire. So far only Swisscom and BT have publicly committed to G.fast but another 30 or so telcos are said to be in various stages of testing and planning to deploy G.fast. Vectoring deployments are continuing and some telcos such AT&T are also building all-fiber networks in parts of their footprint where there is competition with fiber-like speeds.
2. Cablecos, who are still in the process of deploying DOCSIS 3.1 broadband, are accelerating their plans to deploy gigabit FTTH (PON) networks as shown by Cox’s public commitment to install fiber into every subscriber’s home in its footprint. It is increasingly obvious that there will not be a successor to DOCSIS 3.1 and that all-fiber networks are the cablecos’ next generation of broadband. All-fiber deployments will be costly because cablecos will need to install fiber from the neighborhood node, replacing coax, all the way into the home and also replace all the equipment from headend to the customers’ modem/router/gateway. The justification is the increasing profits that cablecos are making from their broadband businesses.
Broadband deployment makes for costly investment
The next question is what is coming after gigabit FTTH. Suppliers of broadband gear to cablecos are developing FTTH equipment specifically for cablecos that have speeds up to 10 Gbps, speeds that few can think of reasons for why it’s needed, but which most concede is inevitable in an Internet-connected world.
In addition to residential broadband, cablecos are also competing against telcos for the business market, which typically needs much higher speeds than consumers.
The FTTH gear that cablecos install has one specific requirement that telcos don’t need in their FTTH gear. It must be compatible with cablecos’ existing DOCSIS networks because the evolution to all-fiber networks will take years, perhaps a decade or more for some.
Alcatel-Lucent and ADTRAN have developed products that meet the industry standard 10 gigabit fiber-optic services that will bring much, much higher broadband speeds to homes.
AlcaLu Expands Its Line of 10 Gbps Fiber Gear with DOCSIS-compatible/EPON
Alcatel-Lucent says its new FX-12 product for cablecos extends its 10 gigabit FTTH “to more businesses and households and highlights its focus on driving ultra-broadband, IP and the cablecos’ evolution to the cloud.” It said the FX-12 platform, which joins its 7360 ISAM FX product family, shows AlcaLu’s “leadership and investment in fiber-based ultra-broadband access solutions” for cablecos and expands its prior introduction of an EPON platform designed specifically for cablecos’ networks.
The other 7360 FX products are the FX-8 and FX-4.
Alcatel-Lucent’s FX-12 for cablecos
AlcaLu said FX-12 can be optimized for the deployment of EPON, both 10G and 1G, in cablecos’ networks. It supports an important feature for cablecos —“DOCSIS provisioning of EPON (DPoE),” which enables cablecos to support EPON broadband technology while still using their existing DOCSIS-based back office systems and processes.
AlcaLu says DPoE is “the bridge between regular EPON and DOCSIS systems. DPoE 1.0 defines a virtual cable modem structure so that DOCSIS OSSs ‘think’ they are communicating with a cable modem on a CMTS system.”
All 7630 FX products are designed to provide 10G EPON with DPoE for outdoor, ruggedized deployment scenarios as well as hub office locations.
AlcaLu’s fixed networks product manager Els Baert says the forces that are driving the increasing demand by cablecos’ subscribers for residential bandwidth are:
– The proliferation of connected devices, including TVs, smart phones and tablets.
– Competitors building out gigabit networks over fiber.
– The dramatic expansion of over-the-top applications.
She said, “Adding to the urgency for cable MSOs is the evolution to higher quality video, such as 4K resolution. This is driving the need for more and more residential IP access bandwidth.”
Federico Guillén, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s fixed access business line said: “Alcatel-Lucent sees a growing opportunity to address the needs of cable MSOs as they move to embrace fiber-based ultra-broadband access, IP and cloud networking technologies.”
Further details (from Alcatel-Lucent’s ‘Techzine’ site) here.
ADTRAN Gear Allows 1 Gbps & 10 Gbps Networks to Coexist
Businesses and other organizations typically need higher broadband speeds before the residential market does. Until now, that has caused telcos to deploy and support two different fiber (PON) technologies — 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps – that could not previously coexist with each other.
ADTRAN says its newest fiber products will accelerate the deployment of the next-generation 10 Gbps-capable NG-PON2 services “by transforming the economic paradigm that typically relegates new technologies to niche or premium services delivery for several years because of higher cost points.”
The new products use the latest 10 Gbps wavelength symmetric ITU/FSAN standards-based technology. They enable service providers for the first time to support both existing residential FTTH at speeds of up to 1 Gbps and business adopters of next-generation 10 Gbps networks on a single, common-access architecture.
That extends the life of the FTTH network. ADTRAN said its traffic engineering studies show that NG-PON2 can double the life of a FTTH network used for converged 1 Gbps residential and business services while providing an architecture that supports cost-effective 10G business and backhaul services delivery.
“ADTRAN’s NG-PON2 implementation has the potential to advance the adoption of 10G FTTP for residential markets by three to five years, while its increased capacity will double the life of the network,” said Jeff Heynen, research director for broadband access and pay TV at IHS’s Infonetics Research. “NG-PON2’s initial rollout was thought to primarily benefit premium business and backhaul services because of its much higher cost over GPON FTTP solutions.”
Service providers face several challenges as they look for ways to scale their existing PON networks to meet the growing bandwidth demand from residential and business customers, ADTRAN said. The high cost of 10G optical components today is a limiting factor in making this a reality for the highly competitive, mass market of residential services delivery.
ADTRAN’s technology allows the two systems to interoperate.
The new architecture is available for demonstration and will…
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