Nokia and Vodafone have announced that they've become the first companies to trial 100Gbps broadband internet on a fiber passive optical network (PON). The speeds were possible on a single PON wavelength, and they're about 10 times faster than "the most advanced networks" available right now.
The trial was conducted by Nokia and Vodafone in the latter company's lab in Eschorn, Germany. The 100Gbps was achieved using existing 25Gbps optics combined with special digital signal processing (DSP), which seems to be the focus of the trial. Nokia says that once this DSP technology is adopted, it should be relatively simple to scale up to 50Gbps or 100Gbps, and those speeds could be commercially available in the second half of this decade.
The prototype tested in this trial is also the first application of flexible rate transmission in a passive optical network. This technology groups fiber modems with similar network characteristics, such as loss or dispersion, to improve latency on the network and reduce power consumption in half. This kind of technology could eventually help create more scalable networks to combat congestion during peak times.
Gavin Young, head of Fixed Access Centre of Excellence at Vodafone, commented on the potential for this technology:
“100G PON has 40 times the capacity of today’s GPON networks, and 10 times the capacity of XGS-GPON, so it will help us keep ahead of the demand curve. In addition to ultra-high speeds, the technology supports our vision of highly efficient and adaptable next-generation networks. 100G PON enables flexible rates, and works by grouping modems using a technique similar to the one we already use in our cable networks, so this experience can help us to better evaluate and exploit this new PON technology.”
As mentioned above, it will take some time for these speeds to potentially be available for the general public, but these trials do indicate that we're slightly closer than we were before. We'll have to wait for the technology to see further testing and widespread implementation in the coming months and years.