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10G PON empowers operators with a wider range of applications and customers

2020.02.17 By Julie Kunstler, Principal Analyst, OVUM

The time for 10G PON deployment is now. 10G PON is enabling CSPs to generate new revenue streams from both residential and non-residential customers. 10G PON provides a competitive advantage to CSPs competing with OTT players.

10G PON empowers
operators

More and more CSPs are offering 1G and 10G residential services. More than 200 CSPs offer 1G FTTH services today, compared to just 100 CSPs in mid-2017. 

Currently, 16 CSPs support symmetrical 10G FTTH services, with seven of them offering this service for less than US$100 per month. 

Residential broadband subscribers are migrating to higher-tier bandwidth offerings. The migration is due to the availability of fiber-based higher-speed options, increased bandwidth needs, the use of the cloud for storage and services, and competition. Ovum forecasts that more than 50 percent of consumer broadband subscribers will be on connections of 100 Mbps or higher in 2023.

Campus-wide networks, such as universities and hospitals, along with enterprises, have moved to cloud-based services, requiring bandwidth upgrades. CSPs are supporting these trends, adding cloud connect services along with bandwidth on-demand capabilities.

Key drivers for 10G PON

Home entertainment

Higher-bandwidth networks are enabling CSPs to support revenue-generating cloud-based VR services to residential customers, enabling a variety of experiences, such as in-home IMAX-like theater viewing and immersive live concerts, sporting events, and travel experiences. Cloud-based VR gaming lowers in-home storage and processing requirements, thereby lowering costs for residential customers. By lowering these costs, residential customers are more likely to subscribe to cloud-based VR services. In addition, gamers using cloud-based VR services from a CSP have a wider variety of games and applications at their disposal, which increases their loyalty to the CSP. More customers and improved loyalty lead to faster network monetization for CSPs. 

Cloud VR for the home

One strong application scenario is cloud VR live broadcasts for sporting events, such as playoff games, whether it be football, basketball, the World Cup, or the Olympics. Another example is enabling fans to virtually meet their idols. Subscribers are willing to pay significant fees for these experiences; after all, the fee, whether subscription or one time, is significantly lower than ticket and travel costs. However, the QoE must be superb to provide the subscriber with a real-life experience, whether sitting on the sidelines during a game or interacting in real time with the idol.

High-quality, cloud-based VR experiences require at least 200 Mbps bandwidth to the home and are a strong driver for 10G PON network upgrades. 

Higher education

On the higher education market, students and educators are seeking technologies that improve learning outcomes through cloud-based applications. Consequently, applications based on VR are gaining importance, providing students with experience and hands-on training that are otherwise difficult and costly to obtain. These new educational approaches require advanced communications networks throughout the university campus. 

Dedicated VR devices require massive streams of high-quality content. Imagine the amount of bandwidth required to stream 20 or 30 high-quality, interactive VR experiences into a classroom. 10G PON-based networks easily support the hundreds of Mbps required by high-quality VR headsets and applications. Consequently, universities are adopting PON-based LANs, providing the campus with easy-to-upgrade, high-capacity fiber communications networks that connect classrooms, labs, administrative and security offices, dorms, and auditoriums. These campus-wide opportunities represent new revenue sources for CSPs – across a wide range of market segments, including universities, hotels and resorts, hospitals, manufacturing facilities, and retailers.

The enterprise private line

10G PON is enabling CSPs to offer specialized networks and generate new revenue streams through dedicated private lines that meet specialized SLA (Service Level Agreement) requirements for various vertical industries such as financial services and government institutions. CSPs are supporting end-to-end networks and cloud-based services on 10G PON networks. These private networks and their associated services are large and are growing revenue opportunities for CSPs.

The 10G PON ecosystem is ready

The 10G PON ecosystem is robust with the availability of optical subcomponents and modules, networking equipment, and CPE devices. 

CSPs are concerned about the ease of upgrading from existing PON to 10G PON along with the costs. CSPs are looking to preserve their large investments in central office equipment, customer equipment, and the ODN (optical distribution network). Leading vendors have developed PON Combo optical modules, combining the optics of PON and 10G PON into a single module with a WDM1r filter. This module provides an easy upgrade path for CSPs; they can upgrade to 10G PON without changing OLT platforms or blades. Basically, 10G PON network bandwidth can be provided on existing equipment without requiring more chassis, a huge benefit in crowded central offices. In addition, no changes to the underlying ODN, whether splitters or fiber cabling, are needed.

From the CPE side, existing ONTs/ONUs don't have to be upgraded when OLTs are upgraded to 10G. CSPs can choose when to upgrade existing ONTs/ONUs to 10G devices based on customer requirements, service offerings, and competition. 

Another key requirement is end-to-end intelligent networking, including the ODN, the cloud, the customer, and the customer’s devices. End-to-end intelligence enables CSPs to build and manage smarter networks, supporting faster service deployments along with improved QoE for a wider range of customers and applications. CSPs are seeking intelligent 10G PON solutions to support faster network monetization through higher revenue generating customers and lower churn rates. 

Service providers are ramping up deployment

10G PON network deployments are underway by CSPs around the globe. Shanghai Telecom, a major operating unit of China Telecom, and So-net (Sony Networks) in Japan have announced their upgrades. More than 20 provinces in China have begun deployments, but most deployments have not been announced. 

Based on confidential discussions with CSPs and vendors, Ovum expects strong growth in 10G PON OLT port shipments compared to the previous generation. Over time, 10G XGS-PON will become the dominant OLT technology, providing 4X downstream bandwidth and 8X upstream bandwidth compared to traditional GPON.

On the customer premise side, CSPs are providing 10G ONTs/ONUs when needed, such as for business services. As cloud-based VR and low-latency gaming applications continue to develop, 10G-to-the-home will be needed for higher-end users. Consequently, Ovum is forecasting strong growth in 10G PON ONT/ONU ports, as shown in Figure 1. 

10G PON empowers
operators

The time for 10G PON deployment is now. 10G PON is enabling CSPs to generate new revenue streams from both residential and non-residential customers. 10G PON provides a competitive advantage to CSPs competing with OTT players. In parallel, 10G PON provides a platform for CSPs choosing to cooperate with OTT on selected services and applications. The movement to 10G enables CSPs to capture these new revenue streams now, while future-proofing their networks for customer-side upgrades.

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