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A Look at Openreach’s Future 4 Port ONT for FTTP Broadband UPDATE

Saturday, January 9th, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 27,408
nokia_4_port_ont_fttp

At present if you order a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP line on Openreach’s UK network then you’re likely to end up with a single port Optical Network Terminal (ONT) installed on your inside wall (example), but a new 4 port ONT is coming this summer 2021 and we’ve been given a sneak peak.

The ONT is usually installed inside your home (wall hung), near to where the fibre optic cable physically enters the property, and its primary job is simply to take that optical signal and convert it into an electrical one so you can hook-up a broadband router via a standard Local Area Network (Ethernet) port.

NOTE: Openreach aims to cover 4.5 million UK premises with FTTP by March 2021 (current build rate of c.40,000 per week), followed by 5.8m come September 2021 and then 20m by around 2025-30. A max build rate of 3 million per year is envisaged.

Some years ago Openreach did supply 4 port ONTs by default, often with a battery backup, but these days you’re much more likely to see one of their single port ONT’s from Nokia or Huawei with new installs. However, homeworkers, smaller multi-tenant properties and shared households can still benefit from having access to a 4-port unit and to that end some new kit is coming.

The new hardware will initially only be launched via a trial with Nokia at brownfield sites (i.e. existing premises, as opposed to new builds [greenfield]) and Openreach are then expecting this to launch during Summer 2021. A similar development with Huawei is currently being explored, but we don’t yet have any solid details on that.

nokia 4 port ont fttp and adapter

Initial use of the new GPON Multiport 4+0 ONT would be within Subsequent Provide order journeys, which will enable an engineer attended visit to replace an existing ONT (1+0, 1+1) with a new 4+0 ONT of appropriate vendor type (initially only for Nokia). Exceptions will be made in areas where older ECI kit is still present (the ONT for this is already 4+2 as standard), or a live Fibre Voice Access (FVA) service exists.

The design of the new kit is quite similar to the existing one and thus it can be deployed without the industry having to adopt a new schema, although any ISP wanting to opt-out of using the 4+0 ONT in subsequent provide situations would need to adopt a new schema.

Otherwise, there’s not a lot to say. ONT’s are one of those somewhat less sexy bits of technology that you don’t really have to think about, as they generally just sit there doing their business and without much interaction being needed. Nevertheless, they perform a vital function and it’s always interesting to see what’s coming down the future pipe, as it were.

UPDATE 11th Jan 2021

Some people were keen to get the model (G-040G-B) and see the underside, so here it is. The optical port is also discreetly hidden under here, where the arrow points.

nokia 4 port ont underside fttp

Leave a Comment
50 Responses
  1. Avatar Rik says:

    This is welcome news for those who need multiple providers in one property, eg student housing, HMOs etc.

  2. Avatar NE555 says:

    Hooray! This will allow people with separate home and business lines to move them both over to FTTP.

  3. Avatar ONT says:

    Does this mean i can plug in up to 4 hubs into my ONT and have them in different locations in my home?

    1. Avatar Tom says:

      Yes but you would need to pay for 4 accounts as they are basically separate lines.

  4. Avatar André says:

    Presumably the 4 ports still share the same GPON bandwidth (1000/200)?

    1. Avatar Taras says:

      no it would share the master bandwidth, ie 2.5/1.25 but will give up to four virtual paths of up to 1000/220

    2. Avatar Tom says:

      Openreach GPON max rate to an ONT is currently 2.4gbps down and 1.2gbps up. In theory that speed would be shared across the 4 ports. But the fibre is also split up to 32 ways serving different customers so that bandwidth is also split across those fibres. Only needs 2 customers on a 1gbps plan and one on a 500mbps plan downloading at full speed before that fibre is saturated and all customers start to be effected.

    3. Avatar Taras says:

      @Tom anyone ordering the 1000/220 would be put on the 10gb/2.5 xg-pon (xgs-pon is coming)along with a £500 install charge

    4. Avatar André says:

      @Taras
      Interesting. I’m on a 500/160 package and did have to pay the excess installation charge. As far as I know, though, I have a standard Huawei PON. Are they compatible with XG-PON as well?

    5. Avatar John says:

      @Tom anyone ordering the 1000/220 would be put on the 10gb/2.5 xg-pon (xgs-pon is coming)along with a £500 install charge”

      That’s not correct.

      OpenReach would install it as GPON and they bank the £500 install fee until upgrades are needed.

      Only when a PON is saturated is XGS-PON installed.

      There are no specific tiers that use XGS-PON yet.
      If there ever is they will be symmetrical services.

    6. Avatar John says:

      XG-PON also isn’t being used at all now. It was only used in trials.

      They jumped straight to XGS-PON.

    7. Avatar André says:

      Thank you for the information, John. That does fit with my having what seems like a “normal” ONT. 🙂

  5. Avatar David says:

    Had to smile when I saw the cheapest “Superfast” broadband comparison table! I would hardly call 30-45 mbs Superfast these days. Many families need at least those speeds to run their modern lifestyle. 100mbs upwards would be getting there!

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Agreed but “superfast” in the UK does have an official classification, usually 24Mbps+ or 30Mbps+ depending upon contract or authority.

    2. Avatar John says:

      Those are the definitions David.

      Above 30Mbps is SuperFast (it used to be 24Mbps).
      Above 300Mbps is Ultrafast.

      Many families run perfectly fine with SuperFast.

      What exactly would you have defined VDSL2 as if not SuperFast?
      “A bit fast”?

      Someone who is right next to their cabinet and gets full speed VDSL2 is not SuperFast???

      Fortunately we have OFCOM to label these things.

    3. Avatar Dave says:

      We are < 24Mbs, on FTTC in Dankshire, perhaps we should be on the Superslow service?
      A member of the cursed 5%

    4. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

      I completely agree with you David. In 5 years “Superfast” won’t be fit for purpose in the UK, to accept it as a national standard in 2012 was plain stupid.

      It’ll be a decade since that daft decision next year, so hopefully then it’ll be high time the government accepts its simply no longer “super fast” at all.

  6. Avatar Marty says:

    Does this mean I’II still have to use the router if I want phone with FTTP?

    1. Avatar John says:

      On BT, yes.

      ISP’s are free to configure their VOIP how they like.
      BT insist on the Smart Hub 2 for Digital Voice (VOIP).

      If you need a landline and don’t want to use the Smart Hub 2 on FTTP then you need to find another ISP as there’s no way around it.

      There are plenty of other ISP’s available or you can port the number to a 3rd party VOIP provider.
      (Warning: migrating a landline number to a VOIP provider will cease any existing bundled broadband/phone service).

      OpenReach will not be returning to ONT’s with Voice ports. They don’t want to touch the voice side.
      Even if you have an ONT with a voice port the FVA Voice service can no longer be ordered and only those with an existing service can use it.

    2. Avatar JItteryPinger says:

      Depending on ISP yes….

      Most ISP’s are routing the phone through their routers and not Openreach.

    3. Avatar Marty says:

      Thanks for for the information I do hope bt patch the upload bug with the superhub as it’s looks like I have no choice to use it.

    4. Avatar Kenneth says:

      Actually that is not correct. When Openreach installed my BT fibre 900 package i just asked the engineer if i could keep my copper line for phone calls and he agreed. They will suggest using fibre for phone calls but if you say you want to keep your copper line for your telephone then they will let you.

  7. Avatar Billy Nomates says:

    No BBU in this one ?

    1. Avatar John says:

      None of the ONT’s come with a BBU now.

      The BBU was to power the voice port on the ONT to allow emergency calls to be made in a power cut.

      There is no voice port so no need for a BBU.

      OFCOM made the responsibility of backup power the ISP’s instead of OpenReach.

      BT have a UPS they can provide to vunerable customers (with no mobile phone coverage) that will power the ONT and the router.

      *Note: the BBU port on the older ONT’s was just a telemetry port for getting a battery reading.
      The actual BBU connects to the power socket.
      The old OpenReach BBU’s actually work on other ONT’s with no BBU port.

    2. Avatar Billy Nomates says:

      Thanks John!

  8. Avatar Lesley says:

    I have. Sky TV and wanted the BroadBand but they say I cannot have it in my home because openreach are not fitting to copper even though my son had sky TV and BroadBand 4 weeks before but transferred his package to his New home could you advise please

    1. Avatar John says:

      Perhaps related to this story..

      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2021/01/openreach-delays-new-broadband-installs-due-to-covid19.html

      OpenReach are not taking orders for full fibre if it requires an engineer enters your property and your already have a 30Mb+ service.

      There wasn’t a full lockdown 4 weeks ago when your son ordered.

    2. Avatar Lesley says:

      It was in November

    3. Avatar Nathan says:

      The directive in regards to enigneer access to the property wasn’t sent out to CPs untill the 6th

  9. Avatar Phil says:

    Quite a lot of holes in that device, I’d have hoped by now improvements to the chipsets would mean they’d run cooler and not need as much if any ventilation slots for convection of heat. Those ONT boxes mounted usually towards the floor are prefect for toddlers to try and squish things into, not to mention dust magnets, which is never good when you have optics involved.

    1. Avatar Matt says:

      Hmm?

      Every Fttp ont I’ve ever seen are inside a larger enclosure which clips shut. I’d imagine that’s one reason for so many ventilation slots is that they’re normally in a bigger, closed box with less ventilation holes.

      Means BT fit the enclosure then during upgrades/ replacements they just swap the internal kit out without making a mess of the wall / changed hanging dimensions etc.

      These usually have the terminated fiber coming in from the button of the box and into the ONT. dust also shouldn’t be a problem?

      I guess I’m not seeing the issue here

    2. Avatar JItteryPinger says:

      I can’t say I’ve evr seen the enclosures used in my neck of the woods, just the ONT mounted to the wall with the fibre going into the bottom.

    3. Avatar Phil says:

      The enclosures were used once upon a time but now it’s as cheap as chips and no enclosures, the same for the backup power, costs money so they don’t supply them now.

      My theory is the 4 port boxes are becoming the cheapest option and Openreach don’t care if they don’t last as in a few years the ISP will become responsible for supplying the ONT with a combined ONT/Router and we just plug them in ourselves. Same happened with VDSL.

      I suspect these 4 port ONTs are made in larger quantities due to most territories supplying them as an ONT and combined router/Wi-Fi, so they might be working out cheaper. How easy it will be to get 2 or more services ordered on one ONT, guess time will tell.

    4. Avatar John says:

      Enclosures are still used on some installs.

      The new enclosures designed for the small Nokia/Huawei ONT’s is perfect for new builds with the fibre coming through a back box.

      It can also replace a master socket where existing ducting appears behind the socket (once copper is gone).

      The new enclosures is pictured in this document (dimensions are incorrect).

      https://www.openreach.com/content/dam/openreach/openreach-dam-files/images/fibre-broadband/fibre-for-developers/guides-and-handbooks/oct-2020-update/1+0%20ONT%20factsheet.pdf

    5. Avatar NE555 says:

      > My theory is the 4 port boxes are becoming the cheapest option and Openreach don’t care if they don’t last as in a few years the ISP will become responsible for supplying the ONT with a combined ONT/Router and we just plug them in ourselves.

      Seems unlikely. It’s already been said that the 1-port ONTs will be installed as standard, and 4-port will only be installed where a customer wants to take multiple services.

      The fact that Openreach will support multiple services on the same line means that the ONT *can’t* be integrated into the CP router – because you can’t plug one fibre into multiple CPs!

      In addition, the ONT has to be registered onto the OLT. If the CP provided a combined router+ONT, then every time the router was changed, Openreach would have to get involved to re-register the ONT.

      Finally, Openreach don’t want end users touching the comparatively fragile fibre.

    6. Avatar John says:

      Have to agree with NE555.
      I can’t see ISP’s supplying combined ONT/WiFi routers.
      ONT registration, customer touching the delicate fibre, security, being just some of the reasons I don’t think this will happen.

      As for the comments on ONT’s with WiFi, this ONT model has no WiFi functionality.

      If the 4 ports were cheaper they would be supplied by default.

      Common sense says 1 port is cheaper than 4.

      OpenReach use an off the shelf 1 port Nokia ONT with a custom white enclosure.
      It’s Nokia’s cheapest ONT.

      This is also an off the shelf ONT (with 2 telephone ports removed/hidden) with a custom white enclosure.

    7. Avatar Phil says:

      To @John

      Nokia already provide the necessary bits to allow a user to register their ONT themselves using a phone app etc. It is what will happen. Nokia call it ONT easy start (https://www.nokia.com/networks/solutions/ont-easy-start/)

      This ONT will likely contain the same circuit board as Nokia’s other router/Wi-Fi combined units, just with a lot of the PCB left empty, this is standard practice these days to reduce costs, use the the same BOM where you can and just leave stuff off not required, unless it works out cheaper to produce a smaller PCB due to the cost of the PCB itself and if quantities warrant it. Common-sense says a single port is more expensive if they are only making them for BT Openreach and the rest of the world is taking more 4 port models and/or they have a standard design to reduce costs.

      Many other territories already work on the basis you have an ONT and router combined and you plug it in yourself. Some alt-nets in the UK also provide self-install, even as far as running a length of fibre cable across your garden from the connection point into your house.

      I remember people being very surprise when ADSL became something you could pick your own kit and installed it yourself.

    8. Avatar Phil says:

      To @John

      Lets step back a bit to VDSL. Remember how the supplied VDSL modems by Openreach were actually fully fledged routers just made to work in modem only mode from Port 1.

    9. Avatar John says:

      @Phil, let’s go back to VDSL2 then

      The Huawei HG612 was NOT a fully fledged router.
      I don’t recommend you take up comedy Phil.

      It had no WiFi and could barely push 40/10 when run as a router, dropping to under 20Mb/s throughput on my 80/20 line.

      It’s a bridge modem with routing functionality that was only useable on ADSL speeds.
      The CPU was nowhere near powerful enough to do routing on profile 17a speeds.

      The ECI was a bit more powerful but also with no WiFi.

      GPON is completely different. It’s a shared medium.
      I didn’t have my neighbours data going through my modem on VDSL2

      GPON has also been around nearly as long as VDSL2 in the UK… still no ISP supplied ONT’s.

      No this model has no WiFi circuitry.
      I explained already, it’s an existing model with 2 telephone ports removed.

      Nokia has specific ONT’s with WiFi and this isn’t 1 of them.

      You’re just plain wrong on this 1. Won’t be the 1st time Phil.

      Cheer up!

  10. Avatar Dan says:

    I have the older 4×2 Huawei ONT and have 2 BT Broadband services, one running 330/50 residential and a 80/20 corporate trial line (for TV). I can see why it’s handy to have the option to have extra ports even for a normal home. I didn’t realise Openreach were only fitting ONTs with one port but I suspect that came down to cost and ease of provisioning.

  11. Avatar David says:

    Not sure why you are doing these devices are new. We had one of these fitted years ago. We got fttp in the early days of fttp and they came with these, extremely useful when we changed provider and were able to run 2 in parallel for a week.

    1. Avatar John says:

      They are (very) new…

      I’ll happily make a donation to a charity of your choice if the 4 port ONT you have was manufactured by Nokia.

      You will either have a very old ECI ONT or a Huawei ONT.
      That isn’t much use to anyone connected to Nokia hardware in the exchange.
      They need to use a Nokia ONT and until now there was only 1 port Nokia ONT’s from OpenReach.

    2. Avatar André says:

      Is GPON not an interoperable standard?
      Why do you need Nokia ONTs for Nokia OLTs? Vendor lock-in?

    3. Avatar Marek says:

      GPON isn’t interoperable by default. Some vendors block access of devices from other vendors others don’t, even if they don’t block some things may not be working. This isn’t ethernet that you plugin and it works. On other hands big telcos may use different ONT vendors, like Orange in France and other countires using Sagecom router with built in ONTs.

  12. Avatar Rene Ramdin says:

    I designed a Passive optical system for a Hotel ,installed the fiber , passive splitters, and the olt and onus from a Tiawanese company and they look very simular to these I see , only difference is used an Epon solution

  13. Avatar John says:

    They should provide ont with 2.5gbps port to support full gigabit speeds.

    1. Avatar Marek says:

      Is 940 mbs not enough?

    2. Avatar John says:

      We should be aiming for gigabit. Ideally over provisioned to account for overhead.

    3. Avatar John - not to be confused with the idiot above. says:

      So gigabit Ethernet isn’t gigabit because you don’t get a gigabit throughput?

      Do you know how ridiculous that sounds.

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