GPON Impact On Last Mile VOD Infrastructure


GPON Wireline Innovation

  • Challenge: Last mile bandwidth limitations have been a constant bottleneck limiting end user content consumption
  • Solution: GPON  (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) provides multi-gigabit wireline connectivity to homes and businesses, efficiently, inexpensively and cost-effectively over the last mile
  • Description: GPON replaces outdated DSL, and operates over existing fiber connections. GPON works in a point-to-multipoint architecture, and does not use switching, but enables the use of many signals over a single fiber
  • Benefits:
    • Leverages existing fiber
    • GPON hardware has a smaller footprint, and supports more customers per fiber compared to PTP (point-to-point) connectivity solutions
    • Estimated hardware cost reduction of 75%+ according to Verizon
    • Favored by government institutions due to fiber optic security
    • Companies driving GPON: Verizon, Cisco, Juniper, and dozens of carriers around the world

Video Delivery   

The video delivery chain is a highway blocked by inadequate off-ramps.  Content must travel through multiple networks in order to reach the consumption stage. Streaming video severely taxes network infrastructure, burdening  first mile, middle mile, and last mile systems. Large video files and live streaming to large audiences challenge current infrastructure. The bandwidth problem can be solved in the first mile by  bigger bandwidth pipes, and in the middle mile through the use of a CDN; however, the last mile bottleneck is a huge obstacle, as upgrading millions of homes with 1Gbps connections is not currently feasible. The last mile bandwidth problem will soon be history, thanks to a new and relatively unheralded technology called GPON. GPON has the potential to revolutionize video delivery, with support for VOIP and POTS services over the same single fiber.

GPON Technology

GPON could burst open the last mile bottleneck, creating a new era of multi-gigabit home users for minimal expense. GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) is a relatively new fiber server, operating along a point-to-multiple-point architecture. Instead of using expensive switching gear at the Provider Edge and destination, less expensive GPON gear deployed at delivery channel endpoints makes it possible to break a single fiber into many signals.

GPON technology enables multiple endpoints to connect to a central hub.  This structure reduces hardware cost by 90% in some cases, and leverages existing fiber infrastructure. GPON challenges traditional three-tier architecture and practices already in place, providing an alternate solution for data delivery. As copper prices continue to rise, and fiber costs consistently drop, the lessened expense of hardware will increasingly save money. GPON technology is the foundation for Verizon FiOS, and GPON is being rolled out across the world.

Impact to Last Mile Customers

GPON is readily available in hundreds of metropolitan areas across the nation, through carriers such as Verizon, CenturyLink, AT&T. Home users that have fiber running to their homes are also seeing it deployed in large numbers. Fiber Lit buildings are seeing bandwidth prices drop more than 75%.  GPON has the potential to be the most disruptive last mile technology in decades. Businesses are considering GPON to replace traditional telecommunication networks as it is highly flexible, with a high bandwidth design and a more secure platform. Next generation GPON is on the horizon, and service providers are preparing to deliver multi-Gbps offerings. A 10 Gbps home connection is closer than people realize.

Impact on CDNs and Content Creators

GPON enables content creators and VOD platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube to distribute high bitrate video. Netflix plans to offer Ultra HD streaming that requires 25Mbps of bandwidth, significantly higher than the 3Mbps that many are used to. Once high speed bandwidth is available in the homes, 4k streaming will be possible, along with many other applications.

Green IT Technology

In the early years of the Obama administration, the White House CIO mandated green IT for any federal government IT service. GPON is a favored candidate for federal use, as it offers added protection, adheres to the green requirement, and reduces the risk of security breaches due to the nature of its physical and data infrastructure. Moving forward, green IT may become increasingly popular, if not required by many companies and institutions. GPON has evolved into a high bandwidth, power-saving, cost-effective, green technology capable of deploying to a range of clientele including large businesses and government institutions. Although used by millions already, this technology is not yet common at the enterprise level; this should change in the coming quarter. With a technology that not only saves time, money, and power, coupled with a strong last mile solution to enhance end-user experience, the future is looking good for GPON.


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