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Nokia Demo 1Gbps Wireless PON Broadband Tech as Alternative to FTTP

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 (5:38 pm) - Score 2,262

Nokia says they will become the first to demonstrate a hybrid Wireless Passive Optical Network (PON) solution at the Broadband World Forum in Berlin, which can offer up to 1Gbps broadband speeds to homes by harnessing both an optical fibre network and WiGig’s 60GHz wireless standard (802.11ad).

The mix sounds like a different take on existing Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) solutions. Nokia says the units can be easily mounted to telegraph poles, street lights or a building facade. “The solution uses beamforming to bring connections of up to 1Gbps to Nokia WPON home units located up to 300 meters away on the outside of a building or home.

The technology also has the ability to connect multiple access points in a row or create a meshed network. Nokia says “operators can now bring fibre to a street corner or neighbourhood instead of a building and avoid the costs of adding subscribers.” We should point out that the WiGig standard can push data rates of up to 8Gbps, although the 60GHz band makes it very susceptible to distance and interference.

Julie Kunstler, Ovum Principal Analyst, 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.

Federico Guillén, President of Nokia’s Fixed Networks Group, said:

“Multi-technology strategies are key to helping operators quickly roll out new ultra-broadband services to more people. Leveraging advancements made in today’s wireless technologies, we’re demonstrating how operators can use a wireless drop alternative to effectively deliver fiber-like speeds to customers.

Nokia’s new Wireless PON solution will introduce FTTx options that operators can use to enhance the way customers experience their broadband services. With a strong portfolio across all FTTx technologies including fiber, DSL, cable and wireless, Nokia has the experience it takes to deliver these multi-technology broadband networks and make the business case work.”

Nokia is also working to bring several other FWA technologies to the market, such as FastMile and 5G to the Home. The company intends to fully demonstrate and showcase their WPON solution at the Nokia Booth (E104) during the Broadband World Forum in Berlin between October 24-26th.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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11 Responses
  1. baby_frogmella says:

    “The solution uses beamforming to bring connections of up to 1Gbps to Nokia WPON home units located up to 300 meters away on the outside of a building or home.”

    How can 300m be possible when 60ghz 802.11ad wifi (at present) has a range of ~ 10 metres? Even worse, 802.11ad requires a clear line of sight between client & radio hence why i find it utterly useless on my Netgear X10 router so have switched the 60ghz radio off.

    1. Bill says:

      802.11ad PTP kits have been available for quite some time and have 1km range.

      (Obviously line of sight though)

      Not sure what exactly is fundamentally new about Nokia’s solution…

    2. Darren says:

      The reason is because when your broadcast radially, signal drops with 1/r^2 on top of signal attenuation from items between the transmitter and receiver. However directing a signal between two fixed points, doesn’t need to be broadcast radially, but 1 dimensional. This would reduce attenuation to mostly interference from air.

      Essentially its the same reason why a laser is incredibly bright on the other side of a room when shined into your eyes, when it uses 1/1000W. Whilst a bulb 20000 times brighter seems to be not as bright.

  2. Optimist says:

    Once more an exampe of innovation which calls into question the wisdom of spending taxapyers’ cash to install Fibre To Absolutely Everywhere (FTAE).

    1. Bill says:

      Who is spending taxpayer cash to install fibre to everywhere? Absolutely no-one.

    2. h42422 says:

      Where have we spent taxpayers’ cash to install fibre to absolutely everywhere or even close? UK FTTP footprint is minuscule and mostly privately funded.

      Those who make investment decisions must make them based on available technologies, not innovations that might one day be. I want to see my 3Mbps line upgraded now instead of seeing everything put on hold as we do not know what will have been the right choice of technology in hindsight 10 years from now.

      There seems to be all sorts of speed improvement activities ongoing, and most of them do not require fibre to be installed to homes.

    3. MikeW says:

      There are those who believe we should nationalise the network (cf NBN), and then put fibre everywhere (cf NBN’s original plan). They appear a small minority, though.

      In the UK, the government and Ofcom have quietly swapped from being technology-neutral (basing results on speed) to advocating full-fibre “to catch up,” and have forgetten about evidence of speed requirements. While they are currently in a “leave it to market competition” mode at the moment, the natural consequence in the long-run will be taxpayer subsidy for market failure.

      The government appears to be buying the PR from the full-fibre lobby, and this isn’t such a small minority. Meanwhile, most network owners are following the “speed improvement activities” @h42422 mentions. And I agree – there are plenty of options appearing.

      This Nokia product looks like a precursor to some 5G ideas, and also looks like the kind of product that Google Fiber might be swapping to.

    4. Optimist says:

      @Bill and @H42422

      Every day we read on this website of yet another wheeze to get cash from the taxpayers to install fibre, hence all the arguments about “over-building” (if it were all private cash, no-one would care), and voucher schemes.

      I say stop all the public funding so entrepreneurs would come up with more schemes like this one. By all means encourage them by cutting taxes on broadband services and easing planning restrictions.

    5. h42422 says:


      This “stop all public funding and entrepreneurs will come” is exactly what has been the government approach to London. No public money to improve residential broadband has been available, as the theory has been that “entrepreneurs” will improve things nevertheless.

      This has not happened. The only market driven improvement has been Hyperoptic bringing fibre to large buildings. I am not aware of any novel solutions to tackle the problem of long EO lines for houses. For some reason “entrepreneurs” have shunned exactly the same properties Openreach keeps ignoring. As the problem has been there for years and no new businesses or business models seem to even be on the pipeline, I think this proves the purely market driven approach does not provide the desired outcome.

      This article is now about a technology that probably is at prototype stage, not something you can buy tomorrow. Then we would need a company to implement it, raise funds, start their business and so forth, and five years later those with virtually no internet connection are still in limbo, and those with G.Fast speeds keep still explaining to them that you should trust the entrepreneurs to solve your problem real-soon-now.

      I of course welcome all market driven approaches. But as Ofcom regulates OR line rental prices to such levels that it is not economical for them to do anything for the last 5% without gap funding, we need to either provide this gap funding or allow them to charge more for line rentals to improve the economics of improvement work.

    6. Optimist says:


      You’ve answered your own question:

      “…as Ofcom regulates OR line rental prices to such levels that it is not economical for them to do anything for the last 5% without gap funding…”

      Then allow OR to charge more! Either OR would carry out the work, or someone else would! Pre-VAT price would be higher bur reducing VAT would reduce or eliminate the price rise.

    7. MikeW says:

      Your point about London is true, but probably to the extent that the entrepreneurs haven’t rocked up to deal with the hardest-to-reach tail. They have been attracted to the competitive parts still – especially MDUs (I’m baffled that BT hasn’t attacked this market with FTTB-based products)

      Perhaps charge a variable component for Openreach, plus a fixed component for the service being added on top?

      Otherwise it might be best for Openreach to stop attempting to give equal-price service to the final 5%, and leave it to Gigaclear to service instead.

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