Nokia and Open Fiber to accelerate Italian FTTH ultra-broadband adoption

September 09, 2020

Nokia announced it has been awarded a contract with Open Fiber, Italy’s wholesale infrastructure operator, to supply cutting edge optical transport technology for the expansion of the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) Ultra-BroadBand (UBB) network nationwide.

Nokia is supporting Open Fiber’s commitment to build a fully fibre optical UBB network to connect more than 6,000 municipalities in all the Italian regions. With the network enabling client speeds of up to 1Gb/s, the mission supports the objectives set by the Italian Gigabit Society 2025 strategy.

Nokia and SIAE Microelettronica, a Nokia technology and services partner, joined forces in a consortium to deliver the 1830 Optical Network Extender (ONE) and Network Functions Manager-Transport (NFM-T) solutions for the aggregation layer of Open Fiber’s Access Network.

The consortium will deliver services including installation and commissioning. The UBB network service will then be leased to local FTTH and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) operators around the country.

Part of the Nokia WaveFabric optical network solution, Nokia’s 1830 ONE suite of wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) optical transport network (OTN) metro access products is designed to have a minimal footprint while offering state-of-the-art ROADM, transport bandwidth and service grooming functionalities permitting Capex/Opex optimisation.

It has the modularity and density to enable more capacity for a greater number of connections and capabilities and is ideal for Access deployment in most topographies, including less accessible areas. Nokia already supports Open Fiber with optical line terminals (OLT) and optical network terminals (ONT) and services in rural areas of Italy.

Elisabetta Ripa, CEO of Open Fiber, says, “FTTH ultra-broadband infrastructure has proven to be a key factor for accelerating the digital transformation of our country, unlocking new opportunities for the Italian digital economy, boosting production and driving competiveness. We believe that also selecting Nokia’s optical network products and solutions will further accelerate our FTTH infrastructure plan, bringing reliability, openess and innovation to the market.”

Giuseppina Di Foggia, country senior officer of Nokia Italy, says, “We are happy that Open Fiber has confidence in Nokia’s optical solutions to expand their ultra-broadband network for the Gigabit Society new era. This agreement is an important one for Nokia Italia and our Optics Research and Development centre in Vimercate, where we meet innovation challenges with great passion, competence and professionalism. Being recognized by a partner such as Open Fiber motivates us further.”

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Broadband Forum reports QoE progress

May 20, 2020

Open standards development organisation Broadband Forum is making key progress on delivering a vastly-improved broadband user experience with two new specifications nearing completion. Covering Quality Attenuation and IP Capacity Metrics and Measurements, the specifications will enable operators to achieve enhanced network performance by moving away from the conventional metric of capacity or ‘speed’, in favour of real time monitoring of network performance and operation.

Ahead of the new technical specifications – Quality Attenuation Architecture and Requirements (WT-452.1) and Maximum IP-Layer Capacity Metric, Related Metrics, and Measurements (WT-471) – Broadband Forum’s Access and Transport Architecture (ATA) Work Area has released two new white papers from its Performance, Experience and Application Testing (PEAT) Project Stream.

The work builds on Broadband Forum’s Quality Experience Delivered (QED) initiative which looks beyond conventional measurements to improve the overall broadband experience and improve management of network latency, consistency, predictability and reliability. These new approaches for network measurement and monitoring drive input into service provider operations systems and will increasingly provide the data used for machine learning, analytics, and AI to provide nearly real time feedback into the network operations. This will support operators in gauging application performance, for example, a video call, and ensure networks adapt to changing application traffic loads to always deliver the best performance to the subscriber.

“While capacity or speed is necessary, what customers actually want is for all their applications to just work consistently well; such as video streams without glitches or buffering, video calls, remote working, or uninterrupted gaming,” notes Gavin Young, Head of Fixed Access Centre of Excellence – Vodafone. “As emphasis is increasingly placed on the quality of broadband, operators can no longer differentiate on capacity alone, and instead must look to also measure and manage the reliability, network responsiveness, consistency and predictability of the services offered.”

The first white paper, Motivation for Quality Verified Broadband Services (Broadband QED) (MR-452.1), describes the motivation for Broadband Forum’s work on quality-based broadband delivery with a specific focus on a measurement and analysis framework known as Quality Attenuation. This will enable a high fidelity analysis to allow operators to gain greater understanding of network performance which, in turn, can help them focus their resources in the design and operation of their networks to improve overall customer experience.

The Maximum IP-Layer Capacity Metric and Measurement (MR-471.1) white paper looks at Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) in measuring connectivity capacity and the issues it introduces, in particular measuring connectivity at 1 gigabit/sec and above. Up until recently, TCP was the basis for capacity testing and is used in a number of commercially available ‘speed tests’. The white paper describes the motivation behind using User Datagram Protocol (UDP)-based IP Capacity metrics and measurement methods. According to the white paper, the new Maximum IP-Layer Capacity Metric and Method(s) of Measurement based on UDP closes the gap between actual service rates and TCP’s underestimations, removing the issues noted.

“The new metrics and measurement method can measure the new Gigabit services and beyond without the artefacts of TCP performance, such as its throughput sensitivity to packet loss, round-trip time and its flow control details,” advises Al Morton, Lead Member of Technical Staff at AT&T. “In addition, it measures other important performance metrics beyond speed.”

The work is continuing for both projects, including data models, open source development and additional market updates

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Spanish fiber marches into more than 80% of homes

May 2020

Spain continues to have Europe’s most extensive Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) network, with more than 8 in 10 (80.4%) of premises covered at the end of June 2019, according to the latest fixed broadband update from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation.
Earlier this year, the ministry announced plans to significantly expand the number of areas eligible for broadband subsidies with a view of bringing fiber connections to an additional 1.5 million people in the country. Under its existing program, the aim is to increase superfast broadband coverage to 91.24% of the Spanish population and 75.29% of rural areas by the end of 2021.

Study: 172m Euro FTTH homes

April 23, 2020

The FTTH Council Europe has revealed the 2020 Market Panorama and the latest figures outlining fibre deployment trends in Europe prepared by research institute IDATE.

Market Panorama & key findings:

The total number of homes passed with Fibre to the Home (FTTH) and Fibre to the Building (FTTB) in the EU39 reached nearly 172 million homes compared to 160 million in 2018 with now 19 countries counting more than 2 million homes passed. The main movers in terms of homes passed in absolute numbers are France (+3,5 M), Italy (+1,9 M) and Spain (+1,5 M). The top 5 of the annual growth rates in terms of homes passed is headed by Belgium (+307 per cent), Ireland (+70.4 per cent), Switzerland (+69.1 per cent), United Kingdom (+50.8 per cent) and Germany (33.5 per cent).

The coverage of both FTTH and FTTB networks in September 2019 was almost 50 per cent. By September 2019, EU39 reached a 49.9 per cent coverage of FTTH/B networks while EU28 39.4 per cent, compared to respectively 46.4 per cent and 36.4 per cent in 2018. This shows a clear upward trend from the September 2015 figures when the coverage was at 39.8 per cent in EU39 and 27.2 per cent in EU28.

The number of FTTH and FTTB subscribers in Europe increased by 15.0 per cent in EU39 since September 2018 with 70.4 million FTTH/B subscribers in September 2019. Russia still plays a major role in this increase, however, it is interesting to note that the EU28 experienced a 20.9 per cent increase on its own.

This year, the country adding the most subscribers is located in Western Europe. France added 1.923.000 new FTTH/B subscriptions and Spain came second adding 1.650.820 new FTTH/B subscribers. Other countries also experienced an outstanding increase in their number of subscribers such as Greece (+285 per cent), Ireland (+185 per cent), Switzerland (+176 per cent), Belgium (+111 per cent) and Italy (+45.3 per cent).

By September 2019, the EU39 FTTH/B take-up rate elevated to 40.9 per cent in comparison to the 37.4 per cent rate registered by September 2018. For the second consecutive year, the take-up rate for EU28 surpasses the EU39’s one by reaching 43.3 per cent (as opposed to 38.2 per cent in September 2018).

According to the Council, it is interesting to note that fibre technologies have been continuously evolving during the last few years with a predominance of FTTH architecture over FTTB (60 per cent vs 40 per cent). Alternative Internet Service Providers are still constituting the largest part of FTTH/B players, with a contribution of around 56 per cent of the total fibre expansion. 41 per cent of homes are passed by former incumbent operators. This number will also evolve as some of the latter have modified their strategy deploying more FTTH solutions, migrating from existing copper based and cable-based networks towards fibre and are even intensifying copper switch-off. The role of governments and local authorities is also increasing, either directly by signing agreements with telecom players, or via public funds.

“Ubiquitous and reliable digital infrastructure has never played such a crucial role as today connecting families, enabling business activities and working from home,” stated Erzsébet Fitori, Director General of the FTTH Council Europe. “Very high capacity connectivity is not only mission critical in times of crisis but will also be fundamental for economic recovery and the transition towards a sustainable, green EU economy. Competitive investments in very high capacity networks should, therefore, remain a high political priority and we look forward to working with the EU institutions, national governments and NRAs towards removing bureaucratic and other barriers from the way of network deployment. Access to very high capacity networks faster and more cost efficiently benefits everyone!”

In terms of European FTTH/B Ranking, Iceland dethrones Latvia and tops European FTTH penetration ranking with a 65,9 per cent penetration rate. Latvia lands fifth (53,9 per cent).

Iceland becomes a leader in FTTH/B, championing the ranking followed by Belarus (62,8 per cent). Sweden (56.8 per cent) reclaims the third position from Spain (54.3 per cent) and assumes the last spot on the podium of fibre leaders.

It is worth mentioning that Belgium has significantly stepped up its efforts to deploy fibre with an increase of 307 per cent in FTTH/B homes passed and of 111 per cent in new subscribers. However, in 2020, for the first time in years, no new country has managed to enter the FTTH/B European ranking.

In the German broadband market, FTTH/B currently represents 7 per cent of total broadband connections. The fixed broadband market remains largely dominated by copper-based technologies (52 per cent) and cable-based services. However, the BMVI (Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure) launched a national programme that aims to build a ‘Gigabit Society’ in Germany by 2025.

By September 2019, Germany reached more than 4.1 million homes passed with FTTH/B and nearly 1.35 million FTTH/B subscribers. Though Germany remains quite low in the European ranking with a penetration rate of 3.3 per cent, the number of fibre subscriptions grew by 42 per cent (compared to 18 per cent in September 2018) and the number of homes passed with FTTH/B by 34 per cent (compared to 15 per cent last year).

“The data of this new edition of our Market Panorama confirm the trend that fibre roll-outs are taking place at an increasingly faster pace in Europe.” commented Kees de Waard, President of the FTTH Council Europe. “The implementation of the new European Electronic Communications Code and in particular of its Very-High Capacity Networks provision will be essential to meet the ambitions of a Gigabit connected Society in Europe, of which FTTH/B networks, which are the only future-proof infrastructure, are the foundations.”

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How operators are meeting demand – and more – during COVID 19

By Robin Mersh, CEO of Broadband Forum 

April 15, 2020

Since COVID-19 wreaked devastation on the world, a number of countries have been in lockdown to help reduce the spread of the virus, leading to a record number of people working from home and staying indoors. The impact this has had on broadband networks has been nothing short of remarkable, with double-digit growth reported across the board in quarantined countries.

According to NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, based on data it aggregated from Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, GCI and Midco, downstream peak usage is up 20.1% since March 1. This is likely to be driven by the use of OTT services and gaming downloads, while the increased use of video conferencing apps has seen peak upstream usage surge by 27.7%.

Operators’ response to managing this extra traffic has been quite phenomenal – a testament to the ongoing programs to add capacity and upgrade networks. So exactly how are operators across the globe coping with this spike in demand?

Be prepared

Comcast is among operators to put out individual figures relating to its network usages during the COVID-19 crisis. According to the company’s President of Technology, product and Xperience Tony Werner, peak traffic rose by 32%, with this going as high as 60% in cities such as Seattle and San Francisco. The operator is reviewing network usage every five minutes and runs around 700,000 speeds tests per day across the network.

Despite the huge peak in demand, Werner said this has all been within the capacity of the network, putting this down to Comcast constantly adding bandwidth to facilitate future needs. The operator does this between 12 and 18 months ahead of predicted usage trends which typically show increases of about 40% per year, allowing the operator to stay a step ahead of what has been seen in recent weeks.

Novel network management

Vodafone is another operator which has seen a huge change in behavior for its voice and data traffics, with a 30% increase in internet usage. To overcome these challenges, the operator has changed the way its managing voice and data traffic across its complex network of fiber optic cables, copper wires, base stations, exchanges, masts and antennae. This includes redirecting traffic during busy periods so traffic is spread across the network as opposed to creating bottlenecks.

The operator’s Chief Technology Office Scott Petty explained that of the reasons behind the change is due to where people are accessing the internet. As most people work in cities, the usual traffic surge during the day in these locations particularly near train stations, offices and restaurants. This means less capacity is required in more residential areas. However, COVID-19 has turned this pattern completely on its head, with this trend mostly affecting mobile traffic as less people use work desk phones. To ensure its network can cope with this, Vodafone has added additional big boxes to its core network.

According to Petty, bigger challenges are being presented by Vodafone’s fixed broadband network. The usual peak period for broadband usage is between 8pm and 9pm but as more people are increasingly working from home, have online lessons and watch more streaming sites such as Netflix, the busy period is being extended throughout the day. To combat this, Vodafone is current looking at increasing capacity in its central core network and aggregation zones, as well as at BT exchanges where engineers are increasing the number of links that can be handled.

We’re in this together

Comcast and Vodafone provide just two examples of how operators are copying with the current unprecedented demand and according to the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (etno), operators across the board are working around the clock to ensure networks and the services they run continue . The changes in the patterns of telecoms and internet traffic being seen are all being dealt with seamlessly, thanks to sophisticated and upgraded network architectures.

It is a credit to operators that throughout the COVID-19 crisis, despite the strong increases and changing patterns in data traffic, there has been no significant disruption to broadband across the world.

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Studies Show that Fiber Positively Impacts GDP and Is an Economic Boom

February 18, 2020

We understand that there is a correlation between access to high-speed fiber broadband networks and economic prosperity. And this makes sense: people living in communities with fast Internet access can take advantage of all of the economic and educational opportunities available online — and that’s not to mention the social, political, and healthcare opportunities afforded them, too. Recently updated research by the Analysis Group confirms this relationship between fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband network availability and gross domestic product (GDP).

This study confirms the findings of similar research conducted five years ago, which found a positive correlation between the availability of high-speed broadband and positive GDP.  Today, that correlation holds in areas of significant FTTH availability. In the new study, researchers found that in communities in which more than 50 percent of the population have access to FTTH broadband with speeds of at least 1,000 Mbps, per capita GDP is between 0.9 and 2.0 percent higher than areas without fiber broadband. These differences are statistically significant.

These findings are not surprising to us, particularly since we already know that high-speed broadband can significantly reduce unemployment rates. In a 2019 study of 95 Tennessee counties by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Oklahoma State University, researchers confirmed this relationship: counties with access to high-speed broadband have an approximately 0.26 percentage point lower rate of unemployment compared to low-speed counties. They also concluded that early adoption of high-speed broadband could reduce unemployment rates by an average of 0.16 percentage points annually and found that counties without high-speed broadband have smaller populations and population density, lower household income, and a smaller proportion of people with at least a high school diploma.

Access to high-speed broadband, which is propelled by fiber deployment, is a great equalizer for many communities. It is the first step to bridging the digital divide and bringing equal economic opportunities to all, regardless of where they live. At the Fiber Broadband Association, we are proud to advocate on behalf of our members to connect the unconnected and to spur economic growth.

These two studies were funded in part by the Fiber Broadband Association.

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Gamers Need Fiber to Solve One Big Problem

September 04, 2019

What do video games have to do with fiber broadband? As we learned from the opening keynote at Fiber Connect 2019 — quite a bit. In June, Matthew Gunnin, the CEO and Founder of Esports One, introduced the audience in Orlando to the rapidly growing world of professional video gaming and called on the fiber industry to meet the growing connectivity needs of gamers.

Over the past four decades, a small but passionate group of video game enthusiasts launched and grew the sport from humble beginnings in 1972 at the Intergalactic Olympic Spacewars in Stanford to the 1990 Nintendo World Championships. Today, esports has entered the mainstream. A shocking 400 million fans worldwide view esports either online, on TV or in person. In fact, more than 200 million tuned into last year’s League of Legends World Championships alone.

Professional esports leagues and franchises abound. Fans pack huge arenas like the Barclays Center to watch their favorite games and players, and millions more tune in from their armchairs at home. Top universities like Michigan State, UCLA, Duke, and UNC, as well as high schools nationwide, also have competitive esports teams. Esports is big business, generating more than $59 million in ticket sales each year. Gunnin pegged investment in the industry at a cool $2.3 million to date and predicted that this would continue to grow.

But one key challenge facing the esports is latency in Internet connectivity. Most video games require Internet speeds of at least 10 Mbps to 25 Mbps; slower speeds cause lagging that kills games for at-home players. Anger and frustration can ensue when a slow connection causes a player’s untimely death in an intense game. See this prank video by a Danish Internet provider to see how six young gamers reacted to a buffering game.

But in the professional world of esports, this challenge is particularly pronounced because the stakes are much higher. Gunnin explained that, in order to create an even playing field and avoid technical difficulties, franchises will fly all gamers out to the same location to play under the same roof. Professional esports teams simply cannot play remotely because of network latency problems, greatly limiting the number of competitions. Fiber offers low latency, so this presents a huge opportunity to bring blazing fast and reliable all-fiber networks to fuel the growing esports industry.

Both at home on the couch and in the largest stadiums and arenas worldwide, gamers need the best connection available — and that’s fiber. Fiber broadband has a role to play in the growing esports industry. Now is the time to capitalize.

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Broadband Access Added Up to $2.9B Market in Q1 – Dell’Oro

Worldwide revenue for broadband access equipment dropped 2% to $2.9 billion in the first three months of the year, according to a new report by Dell’Oro Group.

Sales of XG-PON, XGS-PON, NG-PON2 OLT ports, DOCSIS 3.1 and customer premises equipment (CPE) somewhat offset converged cable access platform (CCAP) spending, which declined for the second quarter in a row, the research firm found. In fact, total cable access concentrator revenue shrank 38% when compared with the prior period a year ago, driven by the CCAP spending slowdown in both North America and Europe, Dell’Oro said.

On the other hand, 10Gbit/s FTTH deployments continued to gain steam, said Jeff Heynen, research director for Broadband Access and Home Networking at Dell’Oro.

“The next-gen fiber increases nearly offset the weakness in cable CCAP spending, as cable operators push off new capacity purchases while they determine how to move forward with distributed access architectures,” he said in a statement.

Total SOHO WLAN units grew 13% in this period. The SOHO market eagerly adopted mesh routers, designed to leverage high-speed broadband and deliver reliable, low latency and fast WiFi coverage throughout a home or small office. This particular segment increased 125% within 12 months, Dell’Oro said, while broadband CPE rose 19% in that timeframe.

Breaking out various pieces of the access market, the 1Q 2019 Broadband Access Quarterly Report determined total DSL port shipments decreased 21% year-over-year. Unsurprisingly, ADSL ports dropped dramatically, tumbling 71% in 12 months; VDSL ports decreased too, about one-fifth or 20%, Dell’Oro said.

This marks a continuation of slowing sales of copper-based technologies although gigabit-capable Gfast is a brighter spot for both vendors and providers. Usually positioned as a cost-effective, revenue-generating transition into fiber that allows operators to use existing copper until a building owner is ready for full-fiber, Gfast typically is deemed most appropriate for multi-dwelling units (MDUs) where it’s most challenging to deploy fiber to each living space. Consumers and government conflated fiber and high-speed, causing several operators like BT to deploy fiber instead of previously planned Gfast.

“VDSL Profile 35b and Gfast will offset some — not all — of the revenue loss from declining ADSL port shipments,” according to an earlier Dell’Oro Broadband Access 5-Year Forecast. “Some major Gfast deployments are already seeing signs of shrinking as governments lobby operators to increase their investments in fiber.”

Year-over-year shipments of all PON optical line terminals (OLTs) grew 7%, with XGS-PON experiencing a 337% surge in sales. While first-quarter 2018 sales of XGS-PON were relatively miniscule, most operators cited it as the 10G PON technology of choice and plan to deploy it by 2020, a November 2018 study found.

By 2022, XGS-PON will amass $1.034 billion in sales, compared with 2017 sales of $16 million, according to Dell’Oro. By comparison, NG-PON2 will deliver sales of only $204 million in 2022 versus $5.9 million in 2017, the researcher said.

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Case Study: Andorra Telecom Adopts GPON to Optimize Triple-Play Services

Published at LIGHTWAVE (February 18, 2019)

By Maria Alejandro, GPONDoctor

Andorra is a lovely and tiny independent principality in the Pyrenees, sandwiched between Spain and France. With a surface of 468 km2, it is one of the smallest microstates in Europe, with a year-round population of just 75,000 inhabitants. But while small in size, in 2016 Andorra received more than 8 million visitors drawn by winter sports, summer climate, duty-free shopping, and a wealthy international commercial and banking sector. While many visitors come for leisure, a growing number come for business.

One of the key backbones to Andorra’s successful competitive business environment is its high-performance telecommunications infrastructure: 98% of homes and businesses have access to broadband Internet and 100% get these services through optical fiber networks. But with both visitors and residents demanding more bandwidth, Andorra Telecom faced an important question: How do they stay ahead?

If You Build It, They Will Come

Andorra Telecom realized quickly at the beginning of the 21st century that digital video was a reality. Streaming video through the Internet would require moving from existing infrastructures to newer ones that could handle higher than average rates per subscriber.

At that time, Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON) and Gigabit-Capable Passive Optical Network (GPON) were being standardized, and both were valid options to solve bandwidth requirements in the access network. Because EPON arrived earlier into the market, Andorra Telecom used it as a competitive advantage, to become one of the first countries in Europe to reach 100% coverage with FTTH technology back in May 2010. Andorra Telecom then deactivated its DSL network, making it the first country in the world to claim an all-fiber broadband footprint.

And they did not stop there. In 2017, Andorra Telecom decided to evolve its fiber network infrastructure from EPON to GPON to meet the growing demand for higher-speed Internet access. (GPONDoctor provided training courses and support at the initial stage of this technology migration.)


The main difference between EPON and GPON is from a standards perspective. The IEEE defined EPON, while the ITU-T defined GPON. Both are built to be exploited for a long period of time and assure high availability of services at any time. However, EPON was defined from the perspective of a corporate IT manager, while GPON was defined from the perspective of a telecom operator. The two perspectives are quite different.

GPON standards from a telecom operator perspective were built on the premise that the network must meet customer demands for service availability 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The initial EPON specifications didn’t contain a common management protocol for this level of performance, which led to proprietary implementations (a shortcoming the IEEE did address later through the development of a common platform).

The telecom operator perspective is why in the field GPON registers a lower number of incidents and allows co-existence with such next-generation PON technologies as XGS-PON and NG-PON2. These characteristics are key for a new telecom network deployment to be profitable, making GPON management better at addressing telecom operators’ requirements.

Along these lines, Andorra Telecom decided to migrate from EPON to GPON because of the way optical network units (ONUs – the EPON units at the customer premises) were managed. GPON offered more reliability for continuous service; opex is lower than in EPON networks as well. The explanation for this discrepancy is that in Andorra Telecom’s EPON network, the devices at the customers’ homes stored the configuration in internal memory. In GPON, the optical line terminal (OLT) in the central office reconfigures (if necessary) the customer premises optical network terminal (ONT, the GPON version of the ONU) every time it is started.

In Andorra Telecom’s EPON implementation, if there was an update in the configuration and the device at home was turned off, that update was not applied and incidences began to occur. In GPON, it does not matter if the device is turned off or on periodically; when the device is turned on, the OLT checks how it is configured and updates it in case it is necessary.

Benefits of GPON for Triple Play

Another concern for Andorra Telecom was the ability to provide all services using the same telecommunications network. This is possible in GPON, which was designed to optimize triple play: voice, video (digital and analog), and data services for homes and businesses.

Some key benefits include the reliability of the point-to-multipoint architecture common to PONs, so that information sent from one point reaches all end-points. And GPON offers a smoother channel surfing experience. As Andorra Telecom discovered, a GPON architecture uses time-division multiplexing, where media access in the downstream is based on service ports that can be shared among users. This means that when several users in the same neighborhood are watching the same TV channel, the overall bandwidth consumed is not a factor of the bandwidth consumed by a single viewer.

In traditional telecom infrastructures, the same video stream being sent by multiple viewers watching the same channel consumes more bandwidth. But in a GPON network, a common multicast channel carries the traffic being consumed at one specific moment by all the users in the same network, and each multicast flow is sent only once.

Why is this important? Because at one edge of the access network, the OLT only forwards towards the end-users the TV channels being consumed and, at the other edge, the ONT located at the customer premises, is the device that controls sending the channel that is being consumed by the TV viewer and blocking the ones being consumed by other users. Thus channel surfing or otherwise switching channels quickly does not impact the bandwidth consumed in the network if that channel is already being watched by another TV viewer. The new multicast flow is already being transmitted in the common multicast channel and the ONT just has to block the previous channel and forward the new one. (Figure 1) The result is a more efficient use of bandwidth and ultimately a better viewing experience, especially for those of us who tend to change the channel a lot.

Figure 1. Bandwidth savings when several viewers watch the same channel.

Figure 1. Bandwidth savings when several viewers watch the same channel.

Dynamic on-demand network performance

GPON offers a more efficient and dynamic way of providing bandwidth governed from the OLT, the device at the operator’s site.

In unicast services, such as Netflix (Internet), GPON provides the mechanisms for the OLT to dynamically learn how much bandwidth each service requires. This way, if there is bandwidth assigned to a user that is not using it, the OLT is able to react and make this bandwidth available to other users that may require it. All this dynamic bandwidth management is done from the OLT according to the service-level agreement contracted by the customer, ensuring maximum network performance.

In multicast services, like broadcast TV, Internet Group Multicast Protocol (IGMP) filtering is used as the mechanism to serve or block IPTV channels on demand, allowing the network to distribute data to multiple recipients. Using multicast, Andorra Telecom can send a single copy of data to a single multicast address, which is then distributed to an entire group of recipients.

How is this done? Which video streams are sent through the network from a multicast source depend on upstream IGMP Join/Leave messages. When a TV viewer, using the remote control, zaps from one channel to another, this action results in an IGMP Leave of the previous channel, and an IGMP Join to the new one being sent in the upstream direction. The routers, on the way to the multicast source, receive these messages and filter or allow the multicast flows to be served through their ports. This way multicast streams do not flood the network unnecessarily, which enables more efficient bandwidth management.

In December 2017, Andorra Telecom announced that they successfully completed the overhaul of their fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network, replacing all 35,000 end-user ONUs with ONTs in just 229 days. As a result, all customers are now able to access downlink transmission speeds of up to 300 Mbps. As they continue to work on optimizing the network, the early results are promising.

In early lab tests, they have been able to separate the IPTV traffic (IGMP basically) from the rest of the services in the uplink. The functionality of their ONTs has the potential to continue to improve network productivity as they roll out services and infrastructure further.

Andorra Telecom is a prime example of keeping telecom infrastructure up to date with demand. GPON architectures improve efficiencies in broadcasting and high-bandwidth triple-play networks, offering valuable lessons for fiber deployments of any size.

Special Thanks to Salvador Drets (FTTH Networks Architect ) from Andorra Telecom for his collaboration to build this article.

Maria Alejandro is a co-founder and global lab manager at GPONDoctor. With 20 years in the telecom industry in research, design. and development, she is an expert when it comes to optimizing last-mile quality assurance and OMCI, GPON’s ONU management protocol. She works closely with customers, including the world’s leading telecom providers, to deliver a better user experience for FTTH networks.


What 5,000 devices testing Broadband QoE can tell us

The way people experience the network is the main driver of customer satisfaction and loyalty

by Julio Lema, VP Customer Success at MedUX

In the telco world and more so in the domain of network quality and customer experience, we hear a lot about network KPIs and Customer Experience. There is a genuine concern for improving Quality of Service – the market for test and measurement solutions in telco is expected to exceed USD 6 Bn, CAGR over 9% –  so we may infer that better service should translate into an excellent customer experience.

But, how are we doing in terms of customer satisfaction as an industry? Do our efforts in improving networks and service translate into an excellent customer experience? The short answer is that it could be better. However, here are some cold facts:

  • Telecommunications ranks second last in the US, right over Public Administration, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index quarterly survey. Plus, figures in Europe or the rest of the world are not strikingly different, so we need improvement in terms of customer satisfaction.
  • Some analysis is called for: what are the most important components of customer satisfaction? Mobile phone, tariff, billing and network quality, are some of the factors with 100% impact, according to Customer Gauge’s 2018 NPS & CX Benchmark Report

So, in the end, network performance can be related to service performance. But are all QoS equally important? At MedUX, we have conducted a survey in the UK where we asked respondents to rank different Home Broadband Services as per their importance.

The results prove the intuitive notion we all have that not all services and metrics are equal. The metrics of quality that we need to reflect customer experience must be related to the concrete services that customers use. They also give us a measure of which services are more critical to Customer Satisfaction.

In order to report the actual experience that a customer would receive, there is a lot to be gained from testing those services from the very customer perspective. MedUX tests the services that customers use the most, from the customer end, by deploying it in the main markets in Europe.

5,000 devices and counting, what can they show us that can actually be used to improve customer experience that other solutions can’t?

Check the impact on Gaming, Google and Youtube at