By ADTRAN CTO Ronan Kelly

Broadband demand in Australia is increasing at a rapid clip. Over 50 percent of the NBN customer base has 100 Mbps or a faster service, with the take-up rate for higher speeds on the rise all the time.

On the consumer side, younger generations are leveraging faster connections for new apps, entertainment and socializing online – nobody wants to inhibit their team advancing in Fortnite because of their slower broadband.

Enterprises need high-speed symmetrical gigabit speeds for “cloudification” of IT, where dedicated hardware and software taking up power and real estate in the enterprise premises, or in dedicated leased data center equipment racks, is rapidly being replaced by Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivered by networks connecting everything from vanilla voice and call center to Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce.

SaaS enables enterprises to drastically reduce capital expenditures and shift IT to more of a pay-as-you-use operational expense model, hosted by firms whose core competence is running high availability IT infrastructure, permitting the enterprises to focus on what they do best. However, for SaaS to work, low latency and bandwidth capacity must be available from the user right through to the cloud.

Speed is essential for building the PON networks of today, with the requirement to provision more bandwidth to support tomorrow’s consumer and enterprise needs. Traditional GPON has served the industry well for 15 years, but it is ill-suited to support anticipated Gigabit Society speeds to the end customer. It is important to recognize that Gigabit data rates are the starting position, and not the end game for Gigabit societies.

Operators building networks today must consider 10 Gig PON as the baseline for new network builds, since the trend is always towards more broadband growth, with new applications and lower latency always creating new opportunities in consumer and enterprise.

We’ve yet to see anyone anywhere in the world say, “I need slower broadband.” Just like our kettle does not take longer to boil if we have the TV switched on, today’s digital natives – the future customers of the broadband operators – expect their broadband connectivity to be ubiquitous and of sufficiently high capacity so that, like electricity, it transparently meets their needs without impeding their activities.

The entry point for next-generation gigabit services is XGS-PON, providing 10 Gbps symmetrical speeds on each optical distribution network. XGS-PON is robust enough to provision gigabit services for consumers and satisfy enterprise requirements for moving data in and out of the cloud and to customers. XGS-PON, with eight times more upstream performance than GPON, delivers room to accommodate the multimedia applications of today and tomorrow. With 4K video prevalent and a migration to 8K looming in the years to come, the more bandwidth available, the better.

XGS-PON also provides an entry point for more bandwidth on the same optical distribution network. XGSPON leveraging the GPON wavelength and NG-PON2 can be deployed side-by-side with the original XGS-PON wavelength, permitting up to 10 wavelengths at 10 Gbps per wavelength, and delivering a scalable path of up to 100 Gbps per optical distribution network.

Service providers can use XGS-PON and NG-PON2 to mix and match capabilities, offering flexibility in provisioning services capable of supporting consumer, business and backhaul needs on the same fiber.


Ronan Kelly has been CTO of the EMEA and APAC regions at ADTRAN since 2014. He focuses on international growth and technology thought leadership as ADTRAN continues to expand the breadth and depth of its strategic partnerships with Tier-1 service providers on a global basis. To learn more about ADTRAN’s perspective on industry trends, visit Adtran’s CTO Insights.