The same is true in the field of fixed network communication. With the continuous popularization of gigabit broadband, 10G PON technology has entered the stage of large-scale deployment. At the same time, the industry is also planning to deploy the next-generation PON technology to prepare for the arrival of 10 Gigabit broadband. In the process, there was another technical route battle, which is similar to many times in the past.
10G PON and Gigabit Broadband Accelerate Popularization
As we all know, mobile communication technology is divided between generations, from 1G, 2G, 3G to 4G, 5G.
In fact, fixed-line broadband technology has also undergone intergenerational evolution, and has experienced the narrowband era represented by PSTN/ISDN technology (6Chekabps), the broadband era represented by ADSL technology (10Mbps), the ultra-broadband era represented by VDSL technology (30~200Mbps), the super 100M era represented by GPON/EPON technology (100~500Mbps) and the current The gigabit ultra-broadband era represented by 10G PON technology.
In China, based on the 10G PON technology, Shanghai Telecom completed the “Gigabit Optical Network” construction plan in October 2018, achieving Gigabit capability covering the whole city, and promoting Shanghai to become the “Gigabit First City”. The wave of large-scale commercial use and popularization of gigabit broadband in my country has begun.
Especially since 2021, gigabit broadband has shown an accelerated development trend in my country, and the number of users and the number of 10G PON ports has grown much faster than expected.
In March 2021, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced the “Dual Gigabit Network Coordinated Development Action Plan (2021-2023)” (referred to as the “Action Plan”), in which the first phase of the target is: by the end of 2021, 10G PON The number of ports and above exceeded 5 million, and the number of gigabit broadband users exceeded 10 million. Unexpectedly, one month after the “Action Plan” was released, in April 2021, the scale of my country’s gigabit broadband users exceeded 10 million, reaching 10.94 million, which is called “superfast”. At the end of July 2021, the goal of “more than 5 million ports of 10G PON and above” was also completed ahead of schedule.
The “rapid speed” continues. The second-stage goal proposed in the “Action Plan” is: “By the end of 2023, the number of 10G-PON and above ports will exceed 10 million, and the number of gigabit broadband users will exceed 30 million.” This goal, In the first half of 2022, it has also been ahead of schedule and over-completed.By the end of June 2022, the number of gigabit broadband users in my country reached 61.11 million, accounting for 10.9% of the total number of users; the number of 10G PON ports reached 11.03 million, a net increase of 3.18 million over the end of the previous year.
10 Gigabit Broadband “Relay”
The accelerated popularization of gigabit broadband is also forcing the industry to accelerate the selection of “successors” for 10G PON technology and gigabit broadband.
At the “2022 China Optical Network Symposium” held in early August, Mao Qian, chairman of the China FTTH Forum, believed that after the popularization of gigabit fiber broadband, 10 Gigabit broadband is about to come out, “If there is 10Gbps bandwidth, a 1GB movie can be downloaded in one second. “Introduced by Mao Qian,10 Gigabit broadband will be mainly deployed in campuses/enterprises/Internet cafes/large customers and other scenarios at the initial stage, and will later develop to home broadband。
People’s demand for bandwidth is endless. Even if people think that gigabit broadband can meet the demand now, over time, gigabit broadband will eventually fall behind. According to ITU, global bandwidth demand has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 50% in recent years, with no sign of slowing growth in any part of the world.
Especially with the development of new technologies such as WiFi 7 and millimeter-wave independent 5G, higher speeds will be brought to a wide range of people, and this requires the upgrade of optical fiber broadband technology to provide better support. Taking WiFi as an example, the current protocol standard is WiFi6, which was launched at the end of 2019, but the iteration process of WiFi is faster than people think. At present, some manufacturers have developed products that support the WiFi 7 standard, and the maximum speed can reach 40Gbps. The current 10G PON technology will become a bottleneck in the face of this. The same is true for millimeter-wave standalone 5G, which requires larger bandwidth for backhaul, which cannot be fully satisfied by current technology. Digital economy think tank IDATE DigiWorld believes that,To achieve large-scale access of 5-10Gbps, not only EPON\GPON, but also 10G EPON\xG-PON is not enough, and higher-speed PON technology is required。
The game between the two camps
Who has the higher speed PON technology?
At present, there are many “candidates”, including 25G PON, 50G PON, 100G PON, etc.At present, the two technical routes of 25G PON and 50G PON are mainly in the game. “100G PON is relatively advanced at present, and the maturity of the industry chain is very low. For example, there are still many gaps in components.”Zhang Jun, a senior expert in the industry, said.
Around the next generation of PON technology, the industry has been divided into two camps.With three telecom operators,HuaweiChina’s industrial power represented by , ZTE and many other European telecom operators have made it clear that they have chosen 50G PON as the next-generation PON technology. The other camp is mainly represented by Nokia, as well as some operators in the United States, and chose the 25G PON route.
50G PON prototype source: ZTE
In March last year, China Telecom successfully completed the industry’s first 50G PON prototype technology test under the ODN simulation environment of the live network. Mega Optical Network, actively testing and exploring the introduction of 50G PON technology.” In November last year,China MobileIn the “14th Five-Year Network Evolution Technology White Paper” released by it, it clearly stated: “In the future, China Mobile will actively introduce new technologies such as 50G PON and 400GOTN.”
In addition, European telecom giants such as France’s Orange, Swisscom, Telefonica, and Turkey’s Turkcell have all made clear their stance on taking the 50G PON technology route. The head of Orange’s fixed access network said in March this year that 50G PON has become the industry’s consensus choice for the next-generation PON. The relevant person in charge of Turkey Turkcell said that it plans to deploy 50G PON in 2024. Swisscom has carried out 50G PON technology laboratory and live network tests in 2020 and 2022, and said that it will launch this new technology to customers in 2025 at the latest.
At present, 50G PON has an obvious advantage.
“70% of the world’s FTTH users are in China, and the development of China’s optical network industry is in the lead in the world, so China has a dominant position in the global industrial ecology.” Zhang Jun said.
Under the joint proposal of China’s PON industry, ITU-T (International Telecommunication Union Telecommunications Standards Branch) launched the 50G PON series of standards in 2018. In April 2021, the 50G PON international standard was officially approved.
Under such circumstances, Nokia, which insisted on taking the 25G PON technology route, established its own technology club, the “25GS-PON MSA (Multi-Source Agreement) Organization”, the American operator AT&T, the New Zealand fiber broadband service provider Chorus and Some industrial chain companies are involved.
50G PON has the upper hand
In this “battle” between 25G PON and 50G PON, who will win in the end?
LightCounting, a well-known market research organization in the field of optical communication, has estimated the future shipments of 25G PON and 50G PON ONU (optical network unit equipment), and believes that the shipment of 50G PON ONU will significantly exceed that of 25G PON, and with the passage of time , the advantages of 50G PON are more obvious.
The advantage of 25G PON is that the technology is relatively mature, and the deployment at this stage has a cost advantage. However, its shortcomings are also very obvious, and the intergenerational gap with the current 10G PON technology is not obvious, which cannot meet the long-term needs of operators. In other words, soon after the deployment of 25G PON technology, operators are very likely to carry out new upgrades.
“Each generation of PON technology upgrades, the bandwidth increase is not less than 4-5 times. Compared with the current 10G PON, 25G PON does not show much advantage, so we do not track 25G PON, only focus on 50G PON”, A provincial operator said.
Zhang Jun also believes that from 10G PON to 25G PON, if it is a single wave, the intergenerational difference is too small. “If you want to achieve 50G or 100G speed, you need to engage in multiple waves, such as 2*25G or 4*25G, but in this case, it is impossible for the network to evolve smoothly, and the splitter and other equipment have to be replaced, and the cost is too high. “
After 50G PON and the existing 10G PON technology are coupled, smooth evolution can be achieved, which is naturally more attractive to operators.
And as time goes on, driven by the industry chain, the price of 50G PON equipment will steadily decline. Market research firm IDATE DigiWorld predicts that,The cost of 50G PON equipment will at least be reduced to the same price as 10G PON.
In 2022, major manufacturers will basically launch 50G PON prototypes,”From a technical point of view, pilots can be carried out next year, and the construction of 10 Gigabit OLTs can be gradually started in the year after, and operators who want to achieve a leading position should introduce 50G PON equipment at the central office by 2025 at the latest.Zhang Jun said.