June 23, 2021

A European Summer: How P4AR™ Can Strengthen the EU’s New FTTH Rollouts

In this blog, we take a higher-level look at P4AR and its impacts on FTTH rollouts.

Summer is here, and for many, there is a certain excitement in the air. For starters, the European Union recently recommended its member countries reopen their borders to American holiday seekers.

But while a resurgence in tourism may be the future for some destination hot spots in the EU, it is arguably the European telecommunications sector that is driving a widespread and impactful digital future for all. 

In many ways, digital transformation has become the heartbeat of the entire region as EU countries look to innovate their way to economic recoveries in an emerging post-pandemic world. In fact, network operators are increasing investments and rolling out greenfield FTTH networks that will meet the speed and capacity requirements of end users for years to come. As with all projects, however, one overarching concern exists: How do you reduce the total cost of ownership while implementing network architectures and technologies that will potentially boost revenue? Here’s what we are seeing.

GPON to XGS-PON: Impact on the Access Network

For years, GPON has been the industry standard for use in FTTH networks as many network operators were wary of the costliness of investing in higher performance technology. As we noted in an earlier blog, GPON is an ITU-T published standard that uses GEM encoding and an IP-based protocol to enable asymmetrical downstream and upstream rates of 2.5Gb/s and 1 Gb/s respectively. Times have changed, however. As end user bandwidth demands surge, network operators are turning to XGS-PON (not a new technology itself) as the optimal solution for enabling more powerful FTTH capabilities.

Here is a key statistic. The European Telecommunications Network Operator’s Association (ETNO) recently reported that households covered by FTTH networks will grow from 43% in 2020 to 50% by 2022. With new buildouts coming down the pipeline, European network operators are turning to XGS-PON and its symmetrical downstream/upstream rates of 10Gb/s to ensure they can effectively serve customers now and into the future. This move, however, generates residual impacts on other parts of their networks.

To put it simply, the shift to leverage XGS-PON in greenfield FTTH deployments is leading to augmented demand for 100G links to connect the points of presence (POPs) in the upstream part of the network. With conventional GPON, it was possible to leverage 10G links, but with XGS-PON, 100G links are now effectively a requirement. As a result, EU operators investing in new FTTH networks are in a complicated spot: they enjoy flexibility around design and implementation, but they also face a pressing need to implement the more powerful XGS-PON technology in the most cost-effective manner possible.  

Reducing Costs in FTTH Rollouts using XGS-PON: P4AR™ and 100G DWDM

When it comes to cost-effectiveness, our breakthrough PAM4 Access Reach (P4AR™) technology stands out. As we announced late last year, we’ve created the only commercial 100G DWDM, QSFP28 switch pluggable transceiver that does not require DCM and other special transport equipment, amplifiers or filters for distances of up to 40km. With this alone, P4AR™ can help reduce latency and the total cost of owning and operating an FTTH network by alleviating operators of the burden of investing in additional, costly equipment to achieve the performance they require. 

Regarding XGS-PON and those 100G links, the key advantage of P4AR™ is that it reduces the number of fibers required to connect to a network operator’s PoPs. Think about it like this. Coherent solutions use one fiber for transmission and another for reception. On the other hand, P4AR™ allows network operators to leverage up to 2Tbps of traffic in a 40-channel filter system on just one fiber. Because of its ability to use existing switches with QSFP28 ports to achieve 4Tbps of bandwidth on a fiber pair, P4AR™ can help network operators in the EU achieve significant cost savings compared to other solutions currently on the market. 

For EU network operators rolling out greenfield FTTH deployments, being able to procure 100G DWDM capabilities cost effectively and at the 40km distance “sweet spot” is a critical consideration. In short, P4AR™ offers that perfect one-two punch of incredible performance and cost savings. From our perspective, this technology will go a long way toward strengthening EU network operators as they look to maximize revenues by investing in modern, high performance network architectures. 

If you’d like to find out more about what P4AR™ can do for you around FTTH buildouts, contact us and one of our engineers would be happy to answer your questions.

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