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Why 50G PON should be your next PON upgrade

As fiber broadband providers weigh their next steps after deploying 10G PON, they should look at upgrading all the way to 50G PON rather than just moving up to 25G PON.

With customer demand for broadband bandwidth now growing at the astounding rate of 25% a year and doubling every three or four years, service providers should look at how best to future-proof their fiber (FTTH) networks for many years to come.

This means that providers should take a close look at upgrading their fiber networks from 10G PON to 50G PON over the next couple of years. Instead of taking the more cautious, incremental step of upgrading to 25G PON, providers should consider the bolder, more future-facing move of bypassing 25G PON altogether and going straight to 50G PON as soon as they can.

There are many key reasons why upgrading all the way to 50G PON makes more sense today than just moving up from 10G PON to 25G PON. For one thing, 50G PON obviously offers twice as much bandwidth as 25G PON, as well as significantly lower network latency levels. As a result, service providers can leverage that extra bandwidth and lower latency to bring higher speeds and new and improved services and applications to both their residential and commercial customers.

Second, by upgrading to 50G PON sooner rather than later, operators can realize these bandwidth and latency benefits without spending any more money than upgrading to 25G PON. That’s because the two PON variants share similar optics and many of the same components. The only notable difference in components is that 50G PON makes use of digital signal processing (DSP) while 25G PON does not.

Further, since more PON upgrades will be inevitable in the future as customer demand for more bandwidth keeps increasing, operators can save themselves the time, trouble and costs of upgrading to 25G PON now and then upgrading to 50G just a few years later. By moving up to 50G PON now, operators can bypass one costly step in the network upgrade process.

Fourth, 50G PON is already well on its way to becoming the next major ITU PON standard while 25G PON is not standards-based. Specifically, the ITU-T (the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector) approved the G.hsp.50pmd specification for 50G last September. In contrast, 25G PON is being pushed by vendors outside the ITU framework.

In addition, by upgrading to 50G PON, service providers can more easily keep up with the rapidly growing pace of industry requirements for broadband connectivity, especially in the highly demanding commercial market. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, campus-wide connectivity and the metaverse head up the list of next-gen broadband services and apps that the commercial market may require from providers in the near future.

Sixth, there is clearly growing operator support for 50G PON. China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Telefonica, Swisscom, Sri Lanka Telecom and Orange, among other major operators, have all thrown their support behind the latest PON standard, indicating that they plan to upgrade to 50G PON as soon as possible.

Finally, 50G PON is just about ready for prime time. With the technology now in lab trials and new prototypes due out soon, 50G PON is expected to be available for commercial deployments starting sometime next year.

So, for all these reasons, fiber providers should weigh the option of upgrading to 50G PON carefully when planning their network upgrade strategies. In the highly competitive broadband market, taking the wrong step now could easily doom their prospects for the future.


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