XGS-PON Hits the Ground, and the Fiber, Running

Carl Weinschenk

The goal of telephone companies and their ecosystems to push fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) data transmission speeds continues unabated. The latest chapter is XGS-PON. This month, there was a “plug fest” supporting the new XGS-PON specification at LAN’s Digital Application Laboratory in Tauxigny, France. It was attended by more than 30 companies.

The goal of such conclaves is to establish processes and meet challenges related to interoperation of gear from different vendors. That this stage has been reached for the spec, which is the International Telecommunication Union Telecommunication Standardization Sector’s (ITU-T) new XGS-PON, shows that it is on the point of much wider commercialization.

The plug fest was sponsored by the Broadband Forum and the Full Service Access Network forum. XGS-PON, according to the press release, is aimed at providing 10 Gigabit per second (Gbps) in both directions simultaneously (symmetrical). The specification will be interoperable with other gigabit passive optical network (GPON) specifications promulgated by the ITU.

XGS-PON is a big deal in networking circles as the heavy demands of 5G appear on the horizon. Earlier this month, Nokia said that it and Telefónica have tested the XGS-PON technology in the vendor’s labs. The press release said that the test provided four times the upstream bandwidth generated by XG-PON1. Possible uses for equipment that offers such capacity are mobile backhaul and remote access node traffic aggregation. Both of these, the release says, make it an important tool for 5G.


ADTRAN is also getting into the act. Lightwave Online says that the vendor claims to have entered XGS-PON trials with several service providers, though they are not named. The story links to another that says that the standard gained initial approval in the spring. It is an offshoot of NG-PON2.

NGS PON is positioned in the story as far from an ultimate goal. It is, rather, an important stop along the way:

The technology is seen as a transitional step between current GPON and the time- and wavelength-division multiplexing (TWDM) PON-based NG-PON2, which will require tunable optics to support its multi-wavelength, multi-PON capabilities.

The key driver of XGS-PON seems to be the demands that will be made by 5G. The key to a new wireless technology isn’t just the ability to send great amounts of data through the air. It also requires the capability to smoothly move that data once it enters the wired network. XGS-PON appears to be one of the key approaches to extending these earthbound capabilities.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.


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