How to upgrade cities to 40Gbps broadband without replacing today's fiber network

Verizon to test gear to boost speeds to homes, businesses

Verizon will soon test communications gear that can provide next-generation 40Gbps fiber broadband services in America.

Crucially, the hardware is compatible with today's fiber lines, meaning it can be deployed to massively boost speeds without the need to dig up and replace the miles of cables running underneath our cities and towns. That means there should be no excuses from telcos about hugely expensive network overhauls and subscription price hikes to fund them.

Verizon's partner Adtran – an Alabama-based telecoms equipment biz – says it will supply the NG-PON2 fiber network architecture for the project when laboratory, and later field, tests start in the coming weeks. Ericsson will also be supplying hardware.

The aim of the project is to develop a service that can deliver up to 40Gb internet connectivity over existing FiOS (fiber optic service) cables.

This, in turn, would allow Verizon to use today's FiOS network to deliver both enterprise and home internet service over a single cable line and support faster speeds just by needing to replace hardware at either end of a connection and not the optical cable itself.

To do so, Verizon will look to implement NG-PON2 via Mosaic, a software-defined network (SDN) architecture that Adtran has developed for telco services. The architecture will look to expand capacity by sending traffic over additional wavelengths, extending the spectrum that can be used on existing fiber cables to push more data through.

Additionally, Adtran says, the switchover to SDN will further allow telcos to configure their networks to handle different services and allocate bandwidth over the fiber networks to make their network more flexible.

Adtran associate vice president of cloud and portfolio strategy Robert Conger said that the Mosaic architecture looked to piggyback on the strategies and approaches vendors have used when designing data center platforms.

"You look at it as, if I was going to build a network for the next 20 years, where do I go? You go to the data center world," he told The Register.

In the case of Verizon, the project would look to extend the life of the FiOS network (and the cash invested in building it) into the coming decades.

"FiOS has been out there for 10 years now, and they are looking to the next 15 to 20 years," Conger told us. We wanted to make sure our platform matched that vision."

Verizon plans to begin offering the first business services based on the new networks next year, with residential services to follow. ®

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