Bandwidth Needs Analysis of the RBOCs' Advanced Access Architectures: FTTP and FTTN

Market Studies

1394 Market and Technology Study

Bandwidth Needs Analysis of the RBOCs' Advanced Access Architectures: FTTP and FTTN

Release : October 27, 2008

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Information Gatekeepers has recognized the Advanced Access Architecture thrusts of the major US carriers as one of the most important events in telecommunications history. As such, IGI has been periodically issuing major reports on the FTTP/FTTn activities of the RBOCs since it began in 2003. Earlier this year we issued “Advanced Access Architectures — 2008 — AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest Plans and Forecasts,” the most comprehensive of our reports on this subject. In recognition of the wide interest and deep importance of the FTTP/FTTN phenomena, we are now issuing a series of reports that focus on narrower aspects of Advanced Access Architectures. Specifically, this report focuses on the bandwidth needed in the access area and on ways to get that bandwidth. The report is a companion to:

The first report above “Advanced Access Architectures — 2008...” is a very comprehensive report on the subject. The others focus narrowly on particular aspects of the broader area. This report focuses on how much bandwidth is needed in the local loop and on alternatives to achieve it.

Bandwidth Needs Analysis of Advanced Access Architecture

Since Bell first decided to build outside plant, there has been a debate as to the best way to extend service the final mile. The debate continues now with the various FTTX schemes for bringing fiber to within various distances of the customer. In some ways, the debate really has not changed much — it is still about the economics of each approach — but in a very real way, the debate is different now. In the past, this debate was always about POTS and the economics of various way of providing it. Now it is still about economics, but it is also about — maybe even more so — alternative ways to meet requirements for bandwidth needed for some very exotic services. The question is not just, “Which is cheaper?” Also involved are such questions as, “What services will I provide?" “How many of each service will the customer need?” “How much bandwidth do I provide for these requirements?” “How will compression advances impact my choices?” The answers to these questions guide the technology choices for the last mile now, at least, as much as economics.

While this was never a simple debate, the addition of the new unknowns about service requirements makes it a much more complex consideration. To see how complex, one just needs to note that the three (now two) major telcos – Verizon, AT&T and BellSouth — have studied this issue with all of their great resources and come up with three completely different answers.

So, what is the interest in the bandwidth capacity of our local (access) networks? Several years ago, this would have been a moot point, with the answer being that the needed bandwidth was only what was necessary for a voice call. Now the local loop is carrying data and, most recently, television. With the desire for high- speed data driving ever-higher-bandwidth data services, and with video now in the equation, the need for bandwidth is a much more complex question.

This report provides the following:

  • A basis for forecasting access network bandwidth needs;
  • Specific forecasts for that bandwidth;
  • Description of the components of that needed bandwidth;
  • The basic drivers of bandwidth requirements;
  • A review of the loop architecture options for achieving the bandwidth;
  • Options that may be available to those architectures that are deficient.

Our previous report on this subject, "How Much Bandwidth Is enough in the Access Network" outlines the need for much more bandwidth than any of the current answers (except GPON) provide. The following chart is originally from the “How Much Is enough...” report, but has been modified for the assumptions in this report. It illustrates our forecast scenario for bandwidth needs.

This chart shows that by 2010, the need for bandwidth to the home will be driven by the delivery of multiple HDTV channels — 80 percent of the total requirement. This requirement will far exceed any other driver of bandwidth. Traditional voice is so small as to barely be visible on the graph. Even high-speed data is only a minor percentage of the requirement. The chart also forecasts the virtual end of standard-bandwidth video by the end of the period. By then, we expect virtually all telecasts to be in high definition from the major networks and local stations in the top 50 markets. Standard-definition television will be limited to specialty networks, local feeds, and small-market stations. While standard TV sets will certainly receive HD signals, having this much programming available will certainly drive customers to upgrade.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Table of Figures

The Lightwave Network Series of Reports

The Lightwave Network

The Lightwave Series of Reports

General Reports on the Network

General Market Reports

Specific Systems Reports


How Much Bandwidth Is Enough?

What are the Bandwidth Needs?

Drivers of Bandwidth Requirements

Bandwidth Requirement 2010 Scenario

Meeting the Bandwidth Needs

The Current Options

FIOS – FTTP Bandwidth Capacity


Alternatives to Achieve the Required Bandwidth

Pair Bonding

Reduce the Distance

Hybrid FTTN – FTTC

AT&T’s New Plans for BellSouth – a Hybrid FTTC/FTTN


NGPONs - Advanced Options - 10-GPON and WDM-PON



Vendors of WDM-PON

Other WDM-PON Activities

Vendors of WDM – Listing and Summary of Status





LG Electronics





Vendors Listing

Summary of Vendors

Detailed Listing of Vendors

Acterna (acquired by JDSU)



Advanced Fibre Communications Inc. (AFCI) (Now Tellabs)


Alloptic Inc

Amino Technologies plc

AOC Technologies

Avanex Corporation






Entrisphere Inc. (Acquired by Ericsson)


Fiberxon (Now Source Photonics combined with Luminent)

Finisar Corporation

FlexLight Networks (Defunct)


Genone3 Technologies Inc.

Hitachi Communication Technologies Ltd.

Humax USA Inc.

Iamba Networks

JDS Uniphase

Kreatel Communications AB (Acquired by Motorola)

LG Electronics

LightComm Technology






Novera Optics (owned by Nortel / LG JV)


O-Net Communications Ltd

Oplink Communications, Inc.

Optiviva Inc.

Optical Solutions (Acquired by Calix)

Osaki Electric Co. Ltd.

Paceon (Mitsubishi)

Passavé (Acquired by PMC-Sierra)


Quantum Bridge Communications (Acquired by Motorola)

Salira Optical Network Systems

Scientific-Atlanta (Cisco)


Source Photonics (Combined with Fiberxon and Luminent)

Tandberg Ltd. (Ericsson)


Terawave (Acquired by Occam Networks)

Tut Systems (Acquired by Motorola)

Vinci Systems, Inc. (Acquired by Tellabs)

Wave7 Optics

Worldwide Packets, Inc. (Acquired by Ciena)

Zhone Technologies

Appendix I - Access Architecture

Various Approaches for Fiber-based Access Architecture

Fiber to the "X"

xDSL Versions

Design Details for Current Plans

Fiber to the Neighborhood (FTTN)

AT&T's Fiber to the node (FTTN)

BellSouth's Fiber to the Curb (FTTC)

The RFP — PONs Will Set Us Free

What Are PONs?

The PON Design

Status of PON

Advantage and Disadvantages of PON

Types of PONs




The PON in the First RFP


Architectures to Meet the Needs


Table of Figures

Figure 1, Lightwave Network
Figure 2: Bandwidth Needs — Forecast Through 2010
Figure 3, Drivers of Access Bandwidth Requirements
Figure 4, Usage Scenario - 2010
Figure 5, 2010 Bandwidth Requirements
Figure 6, Forecast Access Bandwidth Requirements 2010
Figure 7, Comparison of Internet Access Speed Offered
Figure 8, PONs' Bandwidth Capacity
Figure 9, VDSL2 Bandwidth vs. Distance
Figure 10, AT&T - BellSouth Hybrid FTTC
Figure 11, Fiber Required Upgrading to Hybrid FTTC
Figure 12, Summary of Vendors
Figure 13, Fiber to the 'X' Varieties
Figure 14, Chart of Various xDSL Technologies
Figure 15: Fiber to the Neighborhood
Figure 16: Fiber to the node
Figure 17: Fiber to the Curb
Figure 18: PON Basic Arrangement
Figure 19: RFP PON — Central Office Portion
Figure 20: RFP PON — Outside Plant Portion
Figure 21: RFP PON Service Assignments
Figure 22: BPON/GPON Comparison
Figure 23: Typical GPON
Figure 24: Bandwidth Needs vs. Capabilities