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Ao Li of China Academy of Information and Communications Technology: FTTR has become a new track for operators

Regarding the development of FTTR, at the “2022 China Optical Network Symposium”, Ao Li, chief engineer of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, said that driven by competition, FTTR has become a new business hotspot for operators and will create a new competition for operators. road.

High-quality solutions to the three major pain points of indoor networking

FTTR can be widely used in various scenarios of internal networking such as families, government enterprises and merchants. Home scenarios include home WiFi backhaul, apartment fiber-optic networking, smart homes, VR business slicing, and multi-services at home; government and enterprise scenarios include live streaming, office networks, business halls, campus networks, and supermarket exhibition halls.

Ao Li pointed out that FTTR’s fiber-based home networking has the advantages of high bandwidth, high quality, and long life, and builds a new home network use and operation experience. The goal of FTTR is to solve the three major pain points of indoor networking with high quality:

One is to solve the problem of network bandwidth. At present, the Ethernet rate is heavily dependent on the type of network cable, and the upgrade rate needs to be rewired. Technologies such as Wi-Fi and power lines are susceptible to interference and unstable performance. FTTR’s main optical modem uplinks 10G PON to access the operator’s network, eliminating access bottlenecks; rooms are transmitted through optical fibers, and the technology for achieving 1G-10G rates is very mature at this stage; optical fiber network performance is stable, and the indicators of delay and packet loss rate are excellent .

The second is to form a high-quality Wi-Fi network. There are various types and specifications of Wi-Fi devices in the home, and a unified experience is lacking; interference between different Wi-Fi routers is difficult to solve, and Wi-Fi performance is severely degraded. Deploy FTTR, Wi-Fi configuration is automatically synchronized, and the Wi-Fi SSID is unified throughout the house; terminal devices are optimized to switch to access points with better signals to reduce service interruption; reasonably coordinate frequency and time domain resources between different APs to achieve Wi-Fi -Fi performance optimization.

The third is to realize network visibility and management. At present, there is no remote means for the internal situation of the home network, and it must be solved on site; there is no means of locating the internal network faults of the home, which requires high requirements for operation and maintenance personnel. Through the deployment of FTTR, the centralized management of home topology and device information can be visualized; one-key detection and quick diagnosis of typical faults within minutes; automatic identification of user characteristics is supported, and operators can actively maintain.

A new track for operators, creating a new industry that benefits from the entire industry chain

Currently, full-service competition among operators is becoming increasingly fierce. “Driven by competition, FTTR has become a new business hotspot for operators.” Ao Li further pointed out that competition is also a very important factor. Compared with the monopoly access network in the copper wire era, the domestic access network market in the optical fiber era is now A high degree of market competition has been achieved, and the three major operators have launched very fierce competition in the home access market. In addition to the upgrade of existing broadband services, the three major operators are also doing a lot of related services for the home, such as China Telecom launched Whole House Gigabit, China Mobile launched Whole House WiFi, China Unicom launched Whole House Optical Broadband and other FTTR business brands , Let the operator’s full-service operation make up for the shortcomings, strive for high business demand and high-value users, improve competitiveness, increase user stickiness, and increase profitability.

“The end-to-end manageability of FTTR will bring home networks to new operations, and will create a new track for operators.” Ao Li said that rich management and operation capabilities will ensure that the potential of FTTR networks is fully utilized, bringing three major values: First, the optical fiber medium is low-loss, the bandwidth potential is fully released, and gigabit starts; second, the fiber-to-the-room, Wi-Fi coverage is reduced, and the coverage capability is improved; third, the single-media single-protocol maintenance of optical fiber reduces maintenance costs.

FTTR has opened up a new research field of “optical + wireless”. At the same time, Ao Li believes that FTTR will also create a new industry that benefits the entire industry chain. In the pre-installation market, operators and real estate companies can pre-install optical networks to achieve fiber-to-the-room, and decoration companies pre-deploy home optical networks; in the post-installation market, operators use their own installation and maintenance teams to implement home optical network deployment in stock rooms , the decoration company provides FTTR Gigabit all-optical network fiber deployment and construction to realize the home optical network ready. With the development of new markets, the equipment, chip, and device industry chains have also benefited from this. This is a brand new track.

The three major industrial bases are in place

In Ao Li’s view, at this stage, the entire industry already has the following three industrial foundations for deploying FTTR.

First, the development of optical fiber broadband has created a good user base for FTTR. Fixed access has entered the all-optical era, and the optical fiber business can be further extended. At present, my country’s fiber-to-the-home penetration rate tends to be saturated, fiber users account for 95%, and FTTH/FTTO access users are close to 530 million. The upgrading of optical access network capabilities is accelerating. As of May 2022, there will be 55.91 million users with gigabit and above speeds in my country, with an annual growth rate of 358.6%.

Second, the global and domestic optical communication industries have laid a solid industrial foundation for FTTR. my country has a solid industrial foundation in optical communications. For example, in the optical access equipment market (OLT, ONU/ONT), Huawei, ZTE, Fiberhome and other companies have more than half of the global market share; Four companies including Huagong Zhengyuan ranked among the top 10 in the world.

Third, FTTR supporting indoor wiring technology has matured day by day. In terms of new optical network components, ultra-flexible butterfly optical cables for indoor use, detachable SC connectors, and optical cable panels; supporting wiring solutions include hidden pipes, invisible optical fibers, and open wire slots.

Standard development has started, three hot issues to be resolved

Talking about FTTR’s system function positioning and architecture selection, Ao Li said that FTTR needs to make innovations in optical link technology, Wi-Fi control technology, remote management and other technologies.

In terms of optical link technology, P2MP is currently the preferred bearer solution for FTTR technology. The technical cables are easy to deploy and have strong scalability. Based on PON-related mechanisms, high-quality QoS functions, line monitoring functions, and device management functions can be realized.

In terms of Wi-Fi management and control technology, it is necessary to realize the coordinated control of Wi-Fi APs in the FTTR system, and solve the problems of difficult Wi-Fi configuration, switching, low speed, and large interference during traditional multi-AP deployment through coordinated control.

In terms of remote management, the remote management function realizes the operation and management of the home network. The FTTR remote management function works together with the traditional access network EMS system, home gateway, and RMS remote management system to complete the comprehensive guarantee of optical broadband services.

At present, the development of technical standards for FTTR has been initiated at home and abroad. ITU-T released the technical report “FTTR Use Cases and Requirements” in 2021, and officially established the FTTR series standard (G.fin), which was led by SG15 Q3 (formerly Q18). At the end of 2021, CCSA TC6 WG2 newly established 5 key industry standards related to FTTR, which have passed the project defense of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and are currently in the preparation stage.

Ao Li pointed out that the current standardization of FTTR is facing three hot issues:

The first hot issue of standardization is the optical link physical layer. The FTTR ODN architecture is different from the 1-2 level uniform light splitting mode of the traditional access network. Non-uniform light splitting and direct fiber connection are scenarios that must be considered. Considering coexistence, there are many restrictions on the wavelength planning of the access network, and the FTTR wavelength mainly considers the reuse of the existing device industry chain.

The second hot issue of standardization is the optical link rate. At present, the 1.2/2.5G uplink and downlink rates in the GPON industry chain are very mature to meet the needs of home scenarios, and higher rate levels can be considered for government and enterprise scenarios.

The third hot issue of standardization is Wi-Fi control and management mechanism. ITU-T SG15, CCSA TC6, and ETSI are all researching the fusion architecture and technology for optical + Wi-Fi. The air interface transmission mechanism (competition, roaming) is the key to hindering experience guarantee, and it is also the key problem to be solved by FTTR.