PON evolution and future FTTH market prediction

Prediction and Conclusions

Contributors: José Salgado, Rong Zhao, Nuno Monteiro, and Pauline Rigby

Beyond NG-PON2

  Bandwidth is expected to continue to grow exponentially and the capacity of optical access systems must keep pace. The theoretical capacity limit of optical fibre is extremely high; the limitations mainly arise from the combination of lasers, amplifiers and other equipment used to send and receive the optical signal. Commercial long-haul optical transmission systems with up to 8 Tbps of total capacity are available today. However, the economics of long-haul networks do not translate into the more cost-sensitive access network.
  Looking beyond NG-PON2, the bandwidth delivered to end users is dependent on:

  • The overall capacity of the optical access equipment.
  • The split ratio – how many users share bandwidth in the feeder portion of the PON.
  • The reach of the optical system may also be a factor due to the signal to noise ratio.

  Although there are uncertainties in technological developments, the roadmap for the long-term evolution of PON networks indicates that the technology can be expected to address 100 Gbps data rates over distances in excess of 100 km by 2025:

Beyond NG-PON2 - as envisioned by Analysys Mason, 2009

Beyond NG-PON2 – as envisioned by Analysys Mason, 2009

Conclusions and Recommendations

  Passive optical networks, especially GPON, will provide cost-efficient bandwidth to residential consumers in the short and medium term.
  However, future high-bandwidth applications for residential users in combination with new bandwidth requirements from mobile backhaul and business services will exceed the capacity available from the current generation of PON equipment.
  New technology has to be introduced without disruption to existing services and revenues. The upgrade must also be attractive from the business point of view, in order to combine the need for the bandwidth growth with the need for revenues.
  Network operators and governments have made huge investments deploying optical fibre in the access network. They are extremely unlikely to accept new technologies that do not reuse their existing infrastructure.

  In terms of bit rates, XG-PON technology is the natural successor to GPON, but the need for higher bandwidth will lead some operators to upgrade their networks directly to NG-PON2.
  Time and wavelength division multiplexed PON (TWDM-PON) has been chosen as the primary technical solution for NG-PON2 because it reuses the investment in the outside plant.


  • Operators need to ensure that the evolution process has minimal impact on end user services and on current operation, administration and maintenance systems.
  • The agreement of next-generation standards needs to speed up, especially NG-PON2.
  • Fibre unbundling or wavelength unbundling must be enabled to support the regulatory requirements for competition.
  • Emphasis needs to be put on R&D to enhance the cost and performance of optical components, especially the tunable transmitters and tunable receivers at the ONT.


ITU-T Recommendations

G.983: Broadband Passive Optical Networks (PON)
G.984: Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks (G-PON)
G.987: 10-Gigabit-capable passive optical network (XG-PON) systems
G.989: 40-Gigabit-capable passive optical networks (NG-PON2)
G.694: Spectral grids for WDM applications:
G.multi (in progress): Generic multi-wavelength control in PON access systems

IEEE Standards

IEEE Ethernet in the First Mile 802.3ah-2004, included in 802.3-2005

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