An evolution in fibre: GPON vs NG-PON2
Fibre-to-the-Premises on the nbn™ network currently operates on the GPON networking protocol, but the upgraded NG-PON2 has the potential to greatly enhance speeds.
Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) is expected to provide up to 2.5 million Australian homes with high-speed internet.
The technology currently uses a Gigabit Passive Optical Networking (GPON) system. Let’s break down what that means, then look at the potential of the next-gen technology: NG-PON2.
What is FTTP?
FTTP connects homes to services over the nbn™ network exclusively with fibre optic cabling.
Individual fibre optic cables may be thinner than a single strand of hair, but they can distribute data at the speed of light.
If you want to know if FTTP is available in your area, or what the planned nbn™ technology is for your suburb, you can input your address on the nbn™ homepage.
What is GPON?
Starting in the home of an FTTP user, there’s the Optical Network Terminal (ONT), which uses GPON technology.
This nbn™ ONT provides both User to Network Interfaces for Voice and User to Network Interfaces for Data. This means that an nbn™ ONT in an FTTP-connected home can deliver both high-speed internet and landline phone calls.
GPON speeds today
Currently, FTTP products available to retail service providers on the nbn™ network support wholesale speeds of up to 1Gbps.*
In future, though, FTTP has the potential to reach even faster speeds via ‘Next-Generation Passive Optical Network 2’ (NG-PON2).
The future of NG-PON2 speeds
As the “Next-Generation” addition suggests, NG-PON2 is the latest version fibre technology standard that nbn could use to augment the current GPON protocol.
nbn recently conducted lab trials that indicate a potentially incredible future for FTTP tech.
These NG-PON2 tests on FTTP technology hit wholesale speeds of up to 10Gbps symmetrical (10Gbps download and upload). ^
That’s 10 times faster than the current top wholesale 1Gbps FTTP download speeds on GPON technology.
Upgrade paths for other technologies
Heard of G.fast? Well, this technology could also lead to the introduction of XG.FAST, which nbn recently tested, achieving lab trial wholesale speeds of 8Gbps over copper lines.^
This technology has the potential to be employed in FTTC connections, and perhaps FTTB as well.
For now, though, G.fast is still the planned upgrade path for VDSL2 protocol nbn™ network connections including FTTC, FTTB and FTTN.
NG-PON2 also has the potential to provide extra capacity for the fibre cabling that supports HFC and Fixed Wireless connections on the nbn™ network.
The 10Gbps symmetrical wholesale speed potentiality of NG-PON2 may be just the beginning, as nbn’s tests suggest the newer fibre protocol has the potential to reach wholesale speeds 10 times faster again, with wholesale speeds of up to 100Gbps symmetrical.*
The nbn™ rollout is on target to be completed by 2020, but we are always looking for new ways to upgrade the network and improve user experiences.
^ nbn provides services to its wholesale customers, telephone and internet service providers, and does not provide services directly to end users. These speeds were achieved by end users in the context of a lab trial and are not necessarily reflective of the speeds that will be experienced by end users. End user experience including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network depends on the technology over which services are delivered to their premises and some factors outside our control like equipment quality, signal quality, software, broadband plans and how the end user’s service provider designs its network.
* We’re designing the nbn™ network to provide these speeds to our wholesale customers, telephone and internet service providers. EU experience including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network depends on the technology over which services are delivered to your premises and some factors outside our control like your equipment quality, software, broadband plans, signal reception and how the EU’s service provider designs its network.