Fixed wireless meets optical access in Nokia Wireless PON

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There’s a new kid on the access block and it’s a form of fixed wireless called WiGig. Nokia has integrated the new wireless technology into its optical access equipment, to provide operators with another option for delivering gigabit services to the home.

Nokia says it’s the first to include WiGig technology with passive optical network (PON) equipment. Pilots, commercial trials and general product availability are planned for 2018, the company added.

WiGig is a new fixed wireless connection standard, also known as 802.11ad. While current Wi-Fi uses the crowded 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands, WiGig uses the relatively unused 60GHz spectrum. This enables it to use wider channels than standard Wi-Fi, resulting in significantly faster data rates of up to 8Gb/s.

Easily mounted to telephone poles, street lights or a building facade, Nokia’s equipment uses beamforming to bring connections of up to a gigabit to Nokia WPON home units located up to 300m away on the outside of a building or home. With the ability to connect multiple access points in a row or create a meshed network, operators can now bring fibre to a street corner or neighbourhood instead of a building to reduce the costs of adding subscribers.

Julie Kunstler, principal analyst, Ovum's Next-gen Infrastructure Practice said: “The push for broadband connectivity in underserved and remote rural areas, and the need to fill gaps in urban and suburban wireline broadband coverage, are creating renewed interest in the use of fixed wireless access (FWA). Solutions like Nokia's WPON help operators competitively service target areas, whether in urban, suburban or rural locations. With Nokia's WPON, operators can quickly connect new subscribers and easily transition them to higher-value FTTP-based services in the future.”

Not only does it avoid the costs of digging to install new fibre, WiGig also has the speed to challenge copper-based last-mile technologies such as G.fast. Neutral Nokia views the technology as one of several tools in the box, allowing operators to bring fibre to the ‘most economical point’. Wireless could be used to addresses areas where bringing fibre all the way to the home or building is not be feasible or cost-effective, the company said.

“Multi-technology strategies are key to helping operators quickly roll out new ultra-broadband services to more people,” said Federico Guillén, president of Nokia's fixed networks business group. “Leveraging advancements made in today's wireless technologies, we're demonstrating how operators can use a wireless drop alternative to effectively deliver fibre-like speeds to customers.”

Nokia’s Wireless PON solution will be demonstrated the company’s booth E104 at the Broadband World Forum in Berlin, on 24–26 October.

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