The infrastructure behind ultrafast internet

Author : Charl Tintinger, MS3 Networks

14 November 2023

The latest data from Think Broadband revealed that 77 per cent of the UK now has access to gigabit-speed internet. The majority of this is enabled by full fibre broadband, which has not only improved the existing connectivity experience, but made additional applications possible too. Here, Charl Tintinger, CTO at full fibre network operator MS3 Networks, explains the infrastructure behind the superior choice of broadband, and how it enables record internet speeds.

Full fibre represents a revolutionary shift in the way we access the internet. Unlike copper-based connections, or partial fibre solutions, full fibre infrastructure relies on optical fibres to transmit data using pulses of light. This fundamental change in the transmission medium offers several advantages over traditional alternatives.

The full fibre difference

The key difference between full fibre and its predecessors is the unrivalled internet speeds it offers. Currently, full fibre offers speeds of up to one gigabit, or 1,000 megabits per second, which is significantly faster than eight Mbps ADSL broadband, or 80Mbps fibre to the cabinet (FTTC). For consumers, it means no more frustrating lags during video conferences, seamless 4K streaming, and instantaneous downloads.

In addition to faster speeds, full fibre offers greater reliability. As the whole connection is made from fibre optic cables, it’s less prone to signal loss, ensuring a stable connection, even in the presence of electrical equipment or bad weather.

Full fibre also comes out top in longevity. With no old infrastructure involved, it’s not impacted by the upcoming retirement of the copper network. And, depending on the specific technology used, it’s also set to deliver speeds ten times faster than currently available.

XGS-PON — the future of infrastructure

Ten Gigabit Symmetrical Passive Optical Network, or XGS-PON, is the most promising choice of full fibre infrastructure. It builds upon the successes of Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology and offers 10Gbps of symmetrical bandwidth.

XGS-PON operates on a similar principle to other passive optical networks, with a central office or optical line terminal (OLT) sending and receiving data to and from multiple optical network units (ONUs) located at individual premises. The key differentiator is the speed it provides, making it the preferred choice for operators that want to futureproof their offering.

XGS-PON offers symmetrical speeds of 10Gbps for both upstream and downstream data and uses multiple wavelengths to carry data. This allows the same fibre lines to deliver residential and business services from the same infrastructure.

XGS-PON is designed for scalability. Operators can easily upgrade network capacity by adding more wavelengths or OLTs. All of this ensures that infrastructure remains prepared to manage the growing demand for faster internet. 

New infrastructure, more opportunities

The deployment of XGS-PON infrastructure opens up a world of opportunities, enhancing the consumer experience and empowering businesses and industries to thrive. Not only does it allow for a more seamless experience for existing applications, but it also creates more opportunities for connectivity to enhance our lives. 

Think telemedicine, which requires ultrafast, highly reliable, low-latency connections and remote work, which becomes even more efficient with instant file transfers and lag-free video conferencing. It also allows for wider adoption of newer technologies, like cloud-based services and real-time data analytics.

In industry, it creates a greater opportunity to leverage automation, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) technologies. This is particularly pertinent in manufacturing and industrial settings, where Industry 4.0 technology requires ultrafast internet connections to function correctly and keep production flowing.

And in the wider world, 10Gbps speed internet creates the opportunity for a greater density of IoT devices, allowing for smarter, more interconnected homes, offices and even whole cities. From smart thermostats to security cameras, everything is guaranteed to work seamlessly.

But for all these capabilities to be possible, XGS-PON fibre needs to be available nationwide. MS3 Networks is a full fibre network operator based in Hull, on a mission to offer 535,000 homes and businesses XGS-PON full fibre by 2025. The work that MS3 is doing helps to plug the coverage gap and provide access to fibre to areas that have long suffered without due to the digital divide. 

Strong, connected future

Full fibre is key to the future of a connected nation, but XGS-PON technology in particular separates adequate full fibre from strong, futureproofed fibre. Futureproofed full fibre unlocks endless possibilities and prepares the UK for connectivity capabilities that are yet to be reached.

For more information on MS3 Networks, and to see coverage in your area, please visit the website.

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