Openreach and Nokia test 25G PON technology

Openreach and Nokia have conducted the UK’s first tests of 25G passive optical network (PON) technology. This new full fibre technology has been developed by Nokia and can deliver download speeds of 25 gigabits per second over a single optical fibre. Crucially, it can run on the same underlying infrastructure that Openreach is already building across the UK.

The test was carried out at Openreach’s Adastral Park lab, in Ipswich, and the two companies now plan to launch a field trial by the end of 2021. The trial will use a range of bandwidth-hungry applications to test the capabilities of the technology.

These further field trials will test compatibility with existing technologies, including GPON (2.5G) and XGS-PON (10G) services, with the possibility of developing a wider range of services and speeds for communications providers. This could help providers upgrade customers more quickly, more smoothly and without disruption.

Emir Halilovic, principal analyst at Global Data, explained, “25G PON is market ready and is becoming the technology of choice with operators that need faster than 10 Gbps broadband speeds along with the flexibility to grow capacity in the future. Being a symmetrical technology, 25G PON provides operators with technology capable of supporting SME or enterprise connectivity, as well as 5G transport.”

Peter Bell, director for network technology at Openreach said, “It’s crucial that we continue to plan, innovate and evolve our network, to make sure we have the capacity and capabilities that the UK needs in the future.

“These trials prove that we can keep upgrading the speeds and services our customers experience over that network for decades to come.”

Nokia expects 25G speeds to be used by operators to extend their full fibre networks beyond residential use into enterprises. The technology can also be used by operators for 5G backhaul which becomes important as 5G networks become pervasive and require small cells to be deployed in areas of dense traffic.

Sandy Motley, president, fixed networks, Nokia, added, “The key to unlock the virtually unlimited capacity that fibre offers is to develop new generations of fibre technology – and faster chips. Nokia’s Quillion chip allows us to have a solution that supports three generations of PON technology from a single platform that is already in the Openreach network. Having GPON, XGS-PON and 25GS-PON all on the same fibre means Openreach can efficiently evolve the network capabilities, address new opportunities and connect more consumers, businesses and 5G cell sites.”