GPON or XGS-PON: Options for Fiber Deployments

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GPON or XGS-PON: Options for Fiber Deployments

Offering ultra-high-speed broadband via fiber has become a key differentiator for service
providers in this era of rising bandwidth demands.

Providers just venturing into fiber are trying to decide on which technology to use. Should they
select GPON technology—which for most of the past decade has enabled BSPs to offer 2.5 Gbps
downstream and 1.25 Gbps upstream or should they begin with the next generation XGS-PON?

Established service providers already deploying fiber are debating whether to stick with GPON
or move up from single gigabit to 10G services.

Where do I start?

The two most widely deployed standards today are GPON and XGS-PON.

GPON is trusted for competitive single-digit Gigabit broadband and has been the most widely
deployed technology over the last five to seven years. And for most of the past decade, GPON
has let providers offer the basic service for a low cost.

XGS-PON is a major shift. Developed as a successor to GPON, XGS-PON (X=10, G=Gigabit,
S=symmetrical) is very similar to GPON technology, except that it can deliver up to 10 Gbps of
symmetrical bandwidth.

While GPON is still being bought and deployed by operators, XGS-PON is overtaking GPON
out of necessity. As the demand for bandwidth continues to rise, the ability to deliver 10 Gbps
speeds to both businesses and households will be critical for fiber-based service providers.

How Do I Choose?

The simple answer is you don’t have to. Both technologies can exist on the same piece of fiber.
XGS-PON uses wavelengths outside of the spectrum allocated to GPON, so the technologies can co-exist on the same fiber without sharing bandwidth. Also, XGS-PON systems are backward compatible, meaning they can operate at the same wavelengths as an existing GPON system.

All this would suggest every new fiber network should start with XGS-PON. Not necessarily.
New ways have been developed to make fiber deployments more cost-effective while allowing
operators to choose. One new technology is a universal fiber solution where every port can work either as GPON, XGS-PON, or Multi-PON mode: GPON and XGS-PON at the same time. This is an enormous advantage for new deployments, giving operators the flexibility they want.

The question that arises is, “If I’m deploying XGS-PON what do I do with my existing GPON
subscribers?” The simple answer is nothing immediately. Because you are running both systems
jointly, you can wait until your subscribers ask for an upgrade or you can monitor their usage,
watching for signs of needing more bandwidth. Then upgrade those subscribers.

In the end, deploy your fiber on a platform that will simplify your operations and take you
through the next decade. Access networks are a 10-year investment. Operators need to make the platform choice that meets the needs of their network now and for the length of the investment and beyond.

Download this brief for more insight into choosing the right system for your network needs.

To learn more about deploying 10G PON, watch this video from one of our live Tech Tuesdays
broadcasts, which explains in more detail the GPON vs XGS-PON decision.

About the Author: Marsha Hemmerich

Marsha brings thirteen years of experience in the broadband industry as a Marketing Specialist and Technical Writer.

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