STL has created a product line – Accellus – in recognition of the convergence of cable and wireless technologies in telecommunications networks.
Chris Rice, chief executive of STL’s access solutions business, said his general definition of “convergence” in telecommunications refers to how synergistic cable and wireless technologies are. “You can look at DSL and 2G and 3G and there was no synergy between any of them,” Rice said.
Fast forward to today, and operators are designing their networks with both wired and wireless in mind. Teams implementing 5G consider XGS PON when thinking about wireless transmission.
In the access space there is an upgrade from Gigabit passive optical networks (GPON) with speeds from 2.5 Gbps to XGS PON with symmetrical speeds of 10 concerts. “You could serve more people with more bandwidth and also serve small and medium-sized businesses quite easily,” Rice said. “You can also upload this to the cell site.”
Not only is this of interest in countries where 5G is prevalent, but it is also very useful in parts of the world where fiber density is scarce. “This PON technology, which allows multiple fiber endpoints, really helps in fiber-deficient areas,” Rice said.
STL’s XGS PON technology is also programmable, based on software-defined network principles. “A lot of these things were hard to code,” Rice said. “Ours is a software delivery model.”
In addition to its work with optical technology, STL also builds 5G radios based on O-RAN Alliance standards.
He works with Facebook Connectivity to build two radio stations, as well as to create other radio stations to meet global demand, where different operators have different bands. “If you want to be a full-fledged provider, you have to have a lot of different groups, both indoors and outdoors,” Rice said. “We are looking for those who will have the greatest value.”
Accellus is not yet commercialized, but STL’s goal is to create open products in the 5G and FTTx network access space.
Rice noted that the Broadband Forum is working on Broadband Gateways (BNG).
Recently, Dave Allen, a prominent engineer at Ericsson and head of the Broadband Forum’s Wireless Cable Convergence (WWC) work area, said that Fierce convergence is finally starting to happen with BNG and access gateways interacting with the 5G core.
Rice agreed. He said: “The access gateway feature now enters the broadband gateway so that subscribers can be managed independently of fixed line or wireless subscribers.”
STL does a unique job of combining the radio access network with the optical network.
Rice said STL, based in India, is working with Indian operators on some experiments. He did not specify which operators. Evidence of concepts is also happening in Taiwan and Australia. And some European operators intending to deploy open RAN have also expressed interest in testing Accellus.