Perhaps the defining trait of broadband deployment is how operators have turned to a mix of technologies to bring fast broadband to all.
The market has made huge progress since operators first began announcing plans to deploy full fiber networks nationwide. In metro areas, technological innovation allows us to push fiber close to the premises and link to existing copper lines for the final connection into homes. In regional and rural areas, fixed wireless networks deliver broadband speeds that support triple-play services.
Where fixed wireless access is concerned, operators worldwide look for ways to capitalize on 5G for last- mile connectivity. In fact, 5G is set to deliver super high capacity and high bandwidth with very low latency, making it an ideal, eventual use for the eventual replacement of fixed-line broadband. Despite the hype, the road to 5G is long and complex and the actual time to roll out services will be measured in years. By building 4G fixed wireless networks today, operators can gain a real-world understanding of the pitfalls and business methodology, and augment with 5G when available.
Similarly, first movers on fiber-to-the-distribution-point (FTTdp) are best placed to launch Gfast services that meet both rollout objectives and real-world demands.
In Australia, the government’s original plan was to deliver fiber to every home and business nationwide, aside from the 7% of premises in rural and regional areas. It soon became clear that this was unfeasible, and fiber- to-the-node (FTTN) was introduced as an alternative. Technology has since evolved and nbn announced its plan to connect 700,000 premises to the National Broadband Network using FTTdp technology named nbn Fiber-to-the-Curb (FTTC). This number has now risen to over 1 million, largely because of its capacity to deliver fast and reliable broadband, and leverage existing infrastructure for next generation networks.
After a Gfast demo achieved 1.66 Gbps aggregate broadband speeds with a Gfast distribution point unit (DPU) reverse powered over 40 meters of copper lead-in cable and spectrum frequency of up to 212MHz, BT Openreach now plans to launch new Gfast services next year. The operator aims to make ultra-fast broadband available to 12 million homes and businesses across the UK by the end of 2020 using a mix of technologies, similar to nbn’s multi-technology mix.
Operators can make better 5G fixed wireless and Gfast deployment decisions by laying the groundwork today with intelligent fixed wireless access devices and DPUs that complement their existing mix of technologies and allow operators to extend their controlled network presence.
The industry will achieve future generation objectives using technologies that are custom-fit to meet specific network and geographic requirements. Operators that take a specially engineered approach will drive commercial rollouts of next-generation technologies over the coming years.
Operators looking to enable large-scale migration to new generations of technology will not find an off-the- shelf answer. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, providers need a custom-fit approach that integrates network grade diagnostics, performance monitoring and remote management functions to ensure reliable, high performance, managed connectivity.