Openreach, Nokia test 25G PON fiber broadband technology

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Openreach and Nokia have conducted the UK’s first ever tests of a new ‘Full Fibre’ technology, which could deliver ultra-reliable broadband services that are ten times faster than today’s UK standard deployments.

The cutting edge ‘25G PON’ technology, pioneered by Nokia, can deliver download speeds of 25 gigabits per second over a single optical fiber, and it can run on the same underlying infrastructure that Openreach is already building across the UK.

This means that, with further field trials to test compatibility with existing technologies, the companies could develop an even wider range of services and speeds for the UK’s Communications Providers to offer consumers and businesses in the future – allowing them to upgrade customers quickly, smoothly and without any disruption.

Peter Bell, Director, Network Technology at Openreach said: “As the country’s largest digital infrastructure provider, 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.

“The Full Fibre network we’re building today is going to be the platform for the UK’s economic, social and environmental prosperity, and these trials prove that we can keep upgrading the speeds and services our customers experience over that network for decades to come.”

Emir Halilovic, Principal Analyst at Global Data, said: “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.”

Sandy Motley, President Nokia Fixed Networks said: “The key to unlock the virtually unlimited capacity that fiber offers is to develop new generations of fiber 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 fiber means Openreach can efficiently evolve the network capabilities, address new opportunities and connect more consumers, businesses and 5G cell sites.”

Having already tested the 25G PON technology at Openreach’s Adastral Park lab in Ipswich, UK, the two companies plan to launch a field trial by the end of 2021. The trial will put the technology through its paces using a range of bandwidth-hungry applications.

Nokia expects 25G speeds to be used by operators to extend their Full Fibre networks beyond residential use into enterprises. The technology can even 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.

Openreach is building ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband to 43K premises every week and continues to accelerate to reach 25 million premises all over the UK by end of December 2026.