Broadband service providers (BSPs) need to prepare now for a multi-gigabit future. Over the next decade, households will consume more and more 4K and 8K video. As and when the metaverse takes shape, BSPs will also be delivering 360-degree live streams in high definition and at very high frame rates.
To offer 10 Gbps connectivity to subscribers, forward-looking BSPs are integrating the latest passive optical network (PON) technologies into their infrastructure. But before you follow suit, you need to check that your physical fiber network plant is up to the task. Impurities in the fiber, manufacturing flaws, bends in the cables, splicing and transitions from larger core to smaller core fiber cables can all cause attenuation—a loss in the signal. These losses tend to be greater at the shorter wavelengths used for next generation PON (NG-PON) systems. As a result, your NG-PON may not live up to expectations.
You can identify and address the most important performance and measurement issues for outside plant cable assemblies by taking these three key steps:
Step 1: Physically Measure Loss by Simulating 10 Gbps PON Systems
You tested your existing PON system at 1310/1490-nm or 1310/1550-nm wavelengths during the fiber construction phase. Now you need to verify how well it works at the shorter downstream wavelengths required for NG-PON by performing the following simulations in the field:
- Connect a specialized NG-PON optical light source at the co-existence filter in the central office or data center. Deploy an optical power meter at the optical network terminal location calibrated at the specific PON wavelengths to verify the total insertion loss.
- Use a CWDM optical time-domain reflectometer to detect and locate bends in an optical fiber.
Step 2: Isolate and Identify Locations of Microbends and Macrobends Causing High Attenuation
The results of the tests in Step 1 will point you to the specific splice cases, terminals, and splitters that are major sources of attenuation. You can then increase the bend radius of fibers or alleviate strain on the fibers themselves to improve the actual loss budget (our new eBook outlines best practice for this).
Step 3: Plan Out Your Network Expansions and Subscriber Additions
As you add additional subscribers to your network or expand your coverage to new areas, make sure you’re thinking long-term. Network traffic is set to rise inexorably for the foreseeable future. To meet this rising demand cost-effectively, you need to get the balance right between squeezing the best performance from your existing fibers and deploying new fibers optimized for next-generation broadband.
Once you have completed these three steps, you should have a clear understanding of what you need to do to ensure your fiber infrastructure is future proof and your business remains competitive in a multi-gigabit future.
To learn more about how you can prepare for the 10 Gbps future, schedule a network design consult with Calix Network Consulting Services and download our eBook "Does Your Fiber Plant Have What It Takes To Support 10 Gbps PON?"