The Eutelsat and OneWeb merger brings two operators’ satellite constellations together, promising to combine strengths of 36 Eutelsat GEO satellites with OneWeb’s 648-strong LEO constellation.
Orchestrating services by utilizing both constellations will represent a significant network management challenge and an industry first.
The announced Eutelsat-OneWeb merger claims to be the world’s first combination of geostationary orbit (GEO) and low Earth orbit (LEO) constellations, creating an opportunity to utilize the advantages of both to address the growing market for satellite connectivity. The announcement mentions intentions of creating a single GEO/LEO services platform over time, which will provide services to customers using hybrid terminals. The intention of the merger makes sense conceptually: GEO platforms will provide superior per-unit capacity and compelling economics, while LEO satellites will provide ubiquitous coverage and low latency.
US FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel proposed raising the national standard for broadband speeds to 100 Mbps/20 Mbps and resetting the long-term goal to 1 Gbps/500 Mbps (upload/download).
The speeds proposed would mean the end of a practical lifetime for legacy technologies like xDSL and earlier generations of cable, while opening a way for FWA and satellite broadband, especially in rural areas of the US.
Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s proposal still needs to be accepted by the bipartisan FCC. Once accepted, the national standard would likely be tied with access to federal funding for broadband development, which was boosted recently as a part of wider US government infrastructure investment program. As such, it would become a de facto standard in parts of the US, benefiting predominantly rural and sparsely populated areas where internet speeds slower than the proposed 100 Mbps/20 Mbps are still the norm.
The latest US government broadband subsidy program could potentially transform the broadband market in rural and underserved areas, but funding will need to pass through state governments, which comes with strings attached.
Fiber buildouts get priority treatment in the latest round of funding, potentially changing technology preferences in the US broadband market.
On May 13, 2022, the US government announced funding for three broadband subsidization programs, totaling $45 billion, aimed to bring internet to all American households and bridge the digital divide. The program will be administered through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), part of the US Department of Commerce, and distributed through state governments. The biggest chunk of the provided funding goes into the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. BEAD funding focuses on broadband projects in unserved and underserved areas, as well as on planning and capacity-building for program administration in state offices. Program implementation will be led by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broadband coverage maps for identifying unserved and underserved areas (i.e., those with no access to 25 Mbps downlink/3 Mbps uplink and 100 Mbps downlink/20 Mbps uplink services, respectively).
At the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Starlink – with ample financial support from the US and its allies – supplied terminals and active service in the country.
Starlink’s service has proven unparalleled resilience, giving a new set of arguments for further development of low earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations.
Since the beginning of the all-out Russian invasion of Ukraine, Starlink has consistently proven its worth as a critical communications medium. The service has been proven resilient, both in its design and operations. The service requires no ground-based infrastructure aside from a user terminal, allowing users to set up internet access quickly. It circumvents terrestrial infrastructure, which has not only been damaged by the ongoing warfare, but has also crumbled under targeted Russian cyber and physical attacks and sabotage. This part of its performance was expected.
• Despite growing fiber and FWA momentum in their home market, US cable MSOs are still mostly sticking with cable as their current and future network technology.
• This insistence on staying the course is natural, given cable’s “value for money” ratio, but the technological superiority of fiber and flexibility of FWA may increasingly endanger the very core of the MSO’s business.
Recent announcements coming from major US telcos indicate new enthusiasm for fiber and FWA investment. AT&T is forging on with its plan to add 30 million new locations to its fiber network, and has introduced XGS-PON into its network, enabling 2Gbps and 5Gbps services. Verizon has (finally) started offering 2Gbps service on its NG-PON2 network in New York City. Smaller operators like Frontier, Ziply, Vexus Fiber, and Hotwire have mostly jumped on the XGS-PON bandwagon and offer multi-gig services as well.
• NEC and Netcracker wrap their respective professional services and domain orchestration solution around Juniper’s IP networking and ADVA’s open line system for a multi-layer, multi-vendor, and automated 5G Xhaul.
• The cooperation has great potential to increase each of the vendors’ credibility in 5G transport, but must show tangible advantages in functionality and cost savings to uproot entrenched competitors.
The 5G transport market continues to heat up, as operators are gradually waking up to the fact that transport renovation and automation will be one of the key ingredients of their future end-to-end 5G architecture. In that context, accelerated activity by NEC and Netcracker in 5G Xhaul illustrates well the importance of transport for 5G, and the size of the market opportunity awaiting. NEC, Netcracker, Juniper, and ADVA contributed their leading capabilities to their joint solution introduced in September.
The next generation of digital optical pluggable interfaces will have deep implications on traditional optical transport platforms.
The attraction of pluggable form factors, and further standardization, will shape the optical transport market going forward.
When networking giant Cisco acquired optical solutions specialist Acacia Communications in 2019, one of the proclaimed goals of this high-profile move was powering the next stage of IP-optical integration. Mating Cisco’s routers with miniaturized coherent pluggable optical interfaces allows clients to simplify their transport networks and, in some scenarios, eliminates the need for some optical transport network elements in the architecture. This approach works best in metro aggregation scenarios, where span lengths match the capacity sweet spot of the currently available crop of pluggables, like 400G-capable 400ZR. Continue reading “Optical Pluggables Evolution: Higher Performance Brings Extended Usability”→
25G PON is market ready and likely to become the technology of choice for operators seeking faster-than-10 Gbps FTTP now and in the near future.
The future of 25G PON directly depends on the magnitude of early operator demand and adoption of advanced use cases requiring 25G-specific capabilities.
The Nokia/Proximus announcement of world’s first 25G PON deployment at the end of May was a significant milestone for the global broadband industry. It primarily showed that the 25G PON technology is market ready and significantly outperforming XGS-PON, which is only now becoming mainstream. It also symbolized the increased importance of Europe as a competitive battleground for fixed broadband, which will only continue heating up with increased broadband investment fueled by national broadband plans and post-COVID recovery funds. Finally, the launch served to validate unique capabilities of Nokia’s Quillion chipset, currently the only vendor solution capable of delivering 25G PON. Continue reading “25G PON Goes Live, Needs More Deployments to Break into Mainstream”→
TIP MUST intends to accelerate SDN adoption in the WAN by defining requirements for WAN SDN based on real-life operator use cases.
The resulting architecture is open and will likely help fill the gap most vendors are unwilling or unable to address: the hierarchical controller space.
From the onset of attempts to implement SDN into telco WAN infrastructure, operators have faced two obstacles that severely limited its usefulness: lack of multi-vendor support and inability to control legacy environments. Telco equipment vendors have not been able to come up with a technical consensus that would solve these issues, for various reasons. Instead, most WAN SDN implementations have so far been restricted to one vendor’s equipment or have entailed costly integration of multiple vendors’ equipment under one domain controller. The results of these developments have so far been underwhelming; the market landscape remains fragmented, SDN adoption is slow, and the costs are high due to custom integration and operational support overhead. Continue reading “TIP Spells Out What WAN SDN Controllers MUST Do”→
Fixed access deployments will continue in the accelerated tempo brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 10G and symmetrical connectivity will become the new gold standard, but not the norm.
The rift between the Chinese and Western vendors around future PON technologies will continue to drive leading broadband access markets on diversifying paths.
10G Adoption Accelerates, Benefiting Vendors with Mature and Market-Ready Solutions
Fixed broadband access has for a long time been a relatively stagnant market, due primarily to two factors: increased consumption of mobile connectivity and poor adoption of services that were to ‘fill up the pipes’ of residential broadband and generate bottom-up demand for faster internet. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have practically obliterated these two limiting factors, driving consumption of streaming video, two-way video communications, and general capacity demand stemming from online gaming and large file downloads. With multiple home-bound users using one home broadband for work, education, and entertainment at the same time, home broadband technologies stemming from designs deployed since the 1990s are quickly showing their weak spots. This has generated increased demand for 10G-capable fiber technologies like XGS-PON. This, in turn, accelerated finalization of the DOCSIS 4.0 standard, which is designed to enable cable operators to provide 10G services as well. Continue reading “2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in Fixed Access This Year”→