AT&T Achieves Industry’s First 20 Gigabit Per Second Symmetric Speed ​​on Fiber Production Network, Access Evolution

Today, the Internet is the driving force behind almost every facet of human-machine interaction. From augmented reality and virtual reality applications and cloud gaming; towards connected cars and smart cities; to the video conferencing tools that have connected us all during the pandemic — requiring increasingly sophisticated apps and services to advance connectivity that is just as fast.

We are focused on making AT&T the best broadband provider in America, pushing the boundaries of faster speeds, greater capacity, lower latency, and greater reliability and range. While we have received many accolades in recent years for both our fiber internet product and our fiber-powered 5G wireless network, no one is resting on their laurels. We are all about building for the future. We are the fastest major ISP offering Hyper-Gig, symmetric speeds of up to 5 Gbps to consumers and businesses1† Earlier this year, we announced that we have achieved up to 10 Gbps broadband in our Labs. Now AT&T has achieved 20 Gbps symmetric speeds across our production network, the first operator in the world to reach this milestone.

Why are symmetrical velocities so important? Increasingly, consumers and businesses are both content consumers and creators. We upload and send videos and other huge files. For example, if you’re an online gamer, you exchange tons of data in real time with other players, maybe collaborate with your friends in VR, or stream your achievements to millions of fans. For businesses, sharing video and VR streams across the network enables near real-time data analytics, metaverse communities, increased worker safety, robotic manufacturing, and more. The internet is not just a two-way street. It is a mega highway in two directions.

Travel to Hyper gig

AT&T began rolling out fiber to homes and businesses around 2010. Built on Gigabit Passive Optical Networking (GPON) technology, that initial service offered customers shared capacity of 2.5 Gbps downstream and 1.25 Gbps upstream. By being “passive”, the need for active electronics in our remote factory facilities is minimal, meaning lower maintenance costs and much higher reliability than older copper twisted or coaxial cables. AT&T used GPON technology to be one of the first companies to offer symmetric 1 Gbps Internet service to businesses and consumers, in the form of our AT&T Fiber service. Whether for customers sharing videos with friends or helping small and medium businesses connect franchises or affiliates in different regions, this service was a huge step forward in making uploads as seamless as downloads.

Ten years later, in 2020, AT&T began testing and deploying new XGS-PON technology in line with our plan to 30 million households and businesses connected to fiber by 2025.With XGS-PON, we have increased our network fiber capacity by 4x in the downstream and 8x in the upstream at approximately the same economic value as our previous GPON investment. AT&T was an early adopter of XGS-PON with the largest deployment in North America. At the end of 2021, we had our first trial in North Carolina, with a broader customer launch with Hyper-Gig speeds in 2022 with industry-leading 2 Gbps and 5 Gbps symmetric broadband services.

Evolving technology for more speed, capacity and efficiency

AT&T Labs began evaluating the next-generation 25GS-PON technology in our manufacturing network in June 2022. This increases the capacity of our broadband network by nearly 2.5x compared to XGS-PON, while requiring minimal infrastructure upgrades in our central offices and customer locations. And it runs over the same fiber optic cables that we’ve spent the past ten years, plus installation across the country. In our trial, we were able to take advantage of the coexistence of wavelengths with our FiberWise™ technology – combining 25GS-PON with XGS-PON and other point-to-point services over the same fiber to provide an efficient evolutionary provide path. This technology allowed us to hit 10 gigs earlier this year and 20 gigs today in our Broadband Lab in Austin, TX.

Symmetrical 20 gig capacity gives developers and engineers a huge runway into the future. As concurrent and massive use of AR/VR, the metaverse, autonomous cars, telemedicine, robotic manufacturing, real-time video sharing and editing, and gaming continue to grow, our 20 Gbps service will provide ample bandwidth – including helping to enable connected apps and services. that haven’t even been conceived yet.

Future of ultra-fast broadband

The 25GSPON MSA group – comprising more than 50 global operators and suppliers, including AT&T – is the industry group driving the standards and specifications of this new technology. We expect the group to mature 25GS-PON in the next 6 to 12 months. Looking beyond 25GS technology, we are also actively involved and promoting 50Gbps and 100Gbps symmetric access technologies with global standardization bodies. As we invest and build toward our goal of becoming America’s best broadband provider, we will continue to work for what’s to come, helping drive the broadband evolution even further into the future.

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