Recently, service providers everywhere have been looking at their network capacity and hoping it is keeping up with demand. So far, we hear most networks are doing fine—GPON is at about 20-30 percent capacity. So then why all the noise about 10G PON (XGS-PON, 10G EPON or NG-PON2)? Well, it's simple. If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it's that our vision is not clear. Unexpected changes can happen rapidly, and we need to be prepared.
We are seeing service providers all over the world make the transition to 10G PON. In a recent survey, we found that the pandemic has actually sped up the plans to deploy 10G PON of over 50 percent of respondents.
Why would a service provider start earlier than necessary to deploy a technology that they don’t need yet? There are many reasons, but here are a few of the ones driving them the most:
- Access networks are a 10-year investment: Deploying a new network or edging out of existing regions and they want to make the platform and technology choice that will meet the needs of the network for the length of the investment and beyond
- Back-office systems simplification: Deploying a single technology simplifies the OSP records, integration, spares inventory, service installation and turn-up. Easy for a new network, but in an existing network, this is a cap and grow strategy.
- Enable growth of the subscriber base: Returning to the existing subscriber premises to upgrade to a new technology increases cost and reduces the time available to add new subscribers. Spending a little more now to ensure they don’t return later for an upgrade enables a focus on growth.
In the end, service providers deploying 10G PON now are setting themselves up to focus on growing their business. The question that does come up is, "What do I do with the existing GPON subscribers?" The simple answer is, nothing immediately. You can wait until they ask for an upgrade or use a tool like Calix Marketing Cloud to monitor their usage watching for signs they that are needing more bandwidth. Then upgrade those subscribers opportunistically. The key is to focus the expense to upgrade the existing GPON customers to a time in the future when there is also an increased revenue opportunity.
As the title said, sometimes the future shouldn’t wait—deploy 10G PON on a platform that will simplify your operations and take you through the next decade and beyond. If you’d like to learn more about deploying 10G PON, as well as hear from some service providers already deploying 10G PON, there are some great resources here.