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Building a “No Regrets” Fiber Network

As broadband needs continue to increase, service providers want to build a “No Regrets” fiber network capable of operating for decades and easily upgradable as user needs increase and technology evolves. Today’s users are shifting from under 200 Mbps offerings to gigabit services, while new applications are raising the bar for bandwidth in the future. 
“How do we ensure that we will have no regrets in building this next-generation network that’s going to be not just for us today, but for our children, their children, and their children?” said David Eckard, Vice President of the Broadband Partners, Nokia. “This is our electrification moment.” 
Eckard noted that gigabit networks make up 26% of all broadband subscription plans today, with double the growth over the last year, while peak bandwidth usage grew at 20% last year. In comparison, take rates on plans of 200 Mbps or less have declined by over 50% during the same period.

Building today’s access networks, such as those coming into service over the next 5 years with NTIA BEAD funding, is as much planning for tomorrow’s needs as well. As more video services go Over-The-Top (OTT), today’s network standards are showing some strain at peak usage. 

“We’re all looking at the next generation technologies, XGS as well as 25G PON,” Eckard stated. “The challenge we have is predicting the future. We just had these new [Apple] VR goggles released this past week. When we have low-latency, high-capacity networks covering the entire country, you can only imagine the types of applications and drive for bandwidth it’s going to cause. I don’t think it’s going to be a nice linear curve; it’s going to be just like it has been in the past, a nice exponential curve.” 

Fiber PON technology provides a “No Regrets” network architecture that is easily scalable for both residential and business use, with the inherit ability to support GPON, XGS-PON, and 25G PON services in parallel on the same network, with different services operated over different wavelengths of light using the same fiber. Upgrading to faster services simply means replacing the OLT on the service end and a new ONT on the customer end, with the 50G and 100G speeds supported in the same fashion in the future. 

To learn more about how to build a “No Regrets” network, listen to the latest Fiber For Breakfast podcast.