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Residential and business broadband demand is increasing. Cisco Visual Networking Index estimates that global Internet traffic increased by 30% in graph of global Internet traffic increasing to 140 exabytes by 20162014 to 77 exabytes and is expected to exceed 100 exabytes in 2016. The largest contributor to this increasing figure is video content, which makes up more than half of the traffic being consumed on the Internet. As video consumption and total Internet traffic rises, even current fiber technologies such as GPON will not be able to keep up with the increased demand. Luckily, the Full Service Access Network (FSAN) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) are rising to the challenge by firming up their standards on NG-PON2, which promises speeds over 10x that of current PON technologies. This post reveals three exciting characteristics of this emerging access technology.

1. NG-PON2 can coexist with GPON

Gigabit Passive Optical Network equipment has been widely deployed in North America, and service providers have invested heavily in fiber to the home (FTTH) infrastructure. NG-PON2 uses different wavelengths than current GPON equipment, which allows service providers to continue to leverage their existing GPON equipment while adding a 10 gigabit-enabled NG-PON2 network on the same fiber all without upgrading the outside plant. This allows service providers to offer faster speed tiers to more subscribers and provide a compelling offering to small to medium businesses who may be located near the existing fiber plant.

 2. NG-PON2 supports dedicated wavelengths for point to point services

Another feature of the new NG-PON2 specifications is the ability to support point to point wavelengths. Service providers typically use one fiber plant to serve shared passive optical networks and another separate physical fiber network to serve business customers who desire dedicated services. The addition of point-to-point wavelengths could allow service providers to serve business customers that require dedicated services using the same physical fiber as residential customers, which would reduce the need for costly outside plant construction.

 3. NG-PON2 Uses Cutting-Edge Bandwidth Aggregation and Expansion Technology

Time and wavelength division multiplexing (TWDM-PON) technology is a core function of NG-PON2, and uses both time domain and wavelength division to multiplex data transmission on the fiber. TWDM-PON has throughput modes that can reach 10Gbps per wavelength in both the downstream and the upstream direction, and allows for the use of additional wavelengths to increase capacity. ITU G.989.1 calls for 4, 8, and 16 wavelength combinations to achieve speeds approaching 160Gbps. The ability to add more wavelengths gives multiple system operators (MSOs), telcos, and Internet service providers a future-proof fiber network that can expand as demand increases and promotes the “pay as you grow” philosophy that has dominated telecommunications for years.

To conclude, NG-PON2 provides the ability to continue to leverage prior investments in GPON technology while adding capacity to accommodate increasing bandwidth demand. Point to point wavelength functionality could be a powerful way for a service provider to offer compelling, dedicated services to businesses using the same feeder fiber thus reducing fiber construction costs. NG-PON2 allows operators to pay as they grow by facilitating the addition of wavelengths to increase capacity. The sum of these features will help service providers offer connectivity that will support increasing demand for over the top video content and cloud computing applications for businesses.