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”→
Subsea cable deployments have represented a small but significant share of revenue for many vendors. However, that is changing as demand for broadband capacity continues to increase.
These vendors are also finding that subsea deployments serve not only as a source of growth, but as an ideal venue to showcase their latest product capabilities as well, particularly in 800G coherent optics.
• Despite the impact of COVID-19, capital spending by US network operators was down relatively modestly in 2020, falling by around 4%.
• 2021 guidance from these operators shows a return to roughly similar levels as 2019. Continued demand for additional network capacity along with new 5G imperatives clearly remain.
An analysis of US operator financial results based on Q4 2020 earnings releases shows that while COVID-19 did slow capital investment, it could have been worse. Thanks to a flurry of activity toward the end of the year, the nine publicly-reported carriers, all of which spent in excess of $1 billion in capex, accounted for just over $67 billion in spending. That was down by approximately $3 billion, or 4.2%, compared to 2019. GlobalData estimates that the big three that account for nearly 70% of total capex – AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile USA – spent roughly $46 billion, down 6.1% from 2019. However, the bulk of the decline was attributable to AT&T. Continue reading “US Operators Signal Higher Capex in 2021 After a COVID-Dampened 2020”→
• GSMA is moving forward with plans for an-in person MWC Barcelona event, though roughly half its normal size and with numerous COVID-19-related precautions.
• Despite moving the date back four months to June 2021, there are still many obstacles to overcome before an actual event will even be feasible.
After the GSM Association (GSMA) made the difficult decision to cancel Mobile World Congress (MWC2020), the largest mobile event in the world, last February, it spent months working with exhibitors on a revised package of discounts to future events. For most exhibitors, the compromise package meant agreeing to forego any cash refund. Instead, these companies agreed to a series of rebates on future events, including a 65% credit on MWC2021, a 35% credit on MWC2022, and a 25% credit on MWC2023.
The event, held annually in Barcelona, was originally scheduled for this week. However, last September the GSMA agreed to postpone the event by four months to hedge its bets, just as Europe was heading into its second wave of COVID-19 infections. The question now is whether even the additional four months will be enough time to carry off a physical event. Continue reading “MWC2021 Organizers Insist the Show Must Go On”→
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”→
Orchestration of IP infrastructure resources will become mainstream, replacing fragmented element and network management solutions to reduce complexity and operational cost.
5G private network initiatives will go global as operators position to capture lucrative new 5G network opportunities and address the needs of multiple vertical markets.
Resource Orchestration Matures
5G services and applications are driving more routed IP traffic into the network, with the traditional role of switched Layer 2 Ethernet traffic being sidelined and replaced by more dynamic routed IP flows. This is prevalent in the mobile transport and business Ethernet services domains, which were the last frontier that could claim a cost and simplicity advantage by remaining at Layer 2. The maturation of SDN, which supports a centralized control plane and distributed data plane, has been augmented with simplified routing protocols such as segment routing and Ethernet VPN (EVPN), which minimize the need for complex node-based management and control intelligence. It is painfully clear that the telco infrastructure must be fully automated in order to avoid being crushed by its own weight. Continue reading “2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in the CSP Transport & Routing Sector This Year”→
CableLabs and SCTE/ISBE signed a letter of intent to combine, with the process likely to be finalized in December with the expected endorsement by thousands of SCTE/ISBE members.
The move marks yet another sign of cable industry consolidation, itself a product of impending cable MSO technological transformation.
The two largest R&D engineering houses focused on innovations for cable operators announced plans in November to join forces. CableLabs, whose membership comprises only cable system operators in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and Australia, announced it will align with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers/International Society of Broadband Experts (SCTE/ISBE), which represents both operators and vendors. In point of fact, the two bodies have complemented each other’s work for a long time. The merger is supposed to bring the two constituencies closer together and accelerate the pace of commercialization of new standards – primarily the impending introduction of symmetrical 10 Gbps services (or 10G for short). After the combination, SCTE/ISBE will become a subsidiary of CableLabs on January 1, 2021. The activities of the two organizations will continue virtually unchanged though, and SCTE/ISBE will continue to offer memberships to potential members not affiliated with CableLabs. The combination signifies that the already insular cable industry is coming even closer together. However, as the technology landscape outside of the cable ecosystem changes rapidly, further focusing of the cable sector might not be the most important change the industry needs. A number of technical and non-technical challenges will continue to loom: Continue reading “CableLabs and SCTE/ISBE to Merge as Insular Cable Industry Consolidates”→
The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) has launched a ‘Software-Defined Radio Access Network’ project aimed at developing open-source RAN solutions using an ‘app store’ model for network optimization features.
This effort will be helped by the open RAN (ORAN) and virtual RAN (vRAN) movements now gaining steam, but it will also confront some of the same hurdles facing open RAN – including opposition from incumbent major vendors.
• Dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) can improve the coverage and capacity of 4G/5G networks by allowing both technologies to efficiently share the same finite, licensed spectrum.
• Spectrum-sharing goes beyond 4G/5G, including 2G and 3G and potentially Internet of Things technologies, increasing its value and diversity.
As the 5G era dawns, a technology known as DSS has become a hot topic. DSS allows operators to use the same spectrum bands simultaneously for different radio access technologies. Specifically, the industry’s 3GPP standards enable using 4G and 5G in the same spectrum. It’s “dynamic” in that the network is continually re-evaluating user activity and reallocating spectrum to 4G and 5G traffic as needed – sometimes as often as every millisecond. Continue reading “Dynamic Spectrum Sharing: It’s Not Just for 4G and 5G”→