LightCounting reports from Huawei’s Analyst Summit 2023
Next-generation access technologies, coded as 5.5G, was one of the main topics at Huawei’s Analyst Summit 2023 (HAS 2023). The very ambitious 5.5G initiative targets a 5x to 10x increase in the speed of broadband wireless and wireline connections. Deployments of 5G wireless systems have not delivered significant improvements in the speed of mobile services. Transitioning the wired access network to 5.5G technology is necessary to fulfill the high expectations held for deployments of 5G wireless.
The wireline portion of the 5.5G initiative (called F5.5G, for Fixed 5.5G) is based on 50G PON technology, developed by Huawei, which offers a 5x improvement in speed versus 10G PON. The latter is being deployed now and can provide 1Gbps FTTx service today and 2Gbps in the future. The goal of F5.5G is to bring 10Gbps connectivity “everywhere” via 50G PON.
A valid question is whether 10Gbps is needed everywhere, but industrial automation was brought up by several speakers as an area that can certainly benefit from higher speed connectivity. As an example, Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) for production quality control enabled by 50G PON was described. Since a single ultra-high-resolution camera requires 7Gbps connectivity, high-speed PON is needed. Support of multiple cameras, continuously streaming data, could be a challenge for burst-mode PON systems, also. This is described in more detail here.
Deployments of 10G PON started with business customers, but widespread adoption of this technology began only with upgrades of consumer connections (FTTH) in the last two years. By the end of 2022, there were 120 million 1Gbps FTTH customers, including 102 million in China. These customers are supported by more than 25 million 10G PON OLT ports deployed globally, including more than 15 million in China.
The adoption of 1Gbps FTTH by subscribers remains in its early stages, accounting for less than 10% of the 1.4 billion wireline broadband customers. Service providers in North America and Europe are just starting to broadly deploy 10G PON or NG-PON2 technologies. Yet many of them are already starting to plan for the next generation technology, using IEEE 25G/50G EPON and ITU-T 50G PON. In fact, ITU-T 25G, 50G PON has been supported by major operators in China, Europe, Middle East and elsewhere.
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