AT&T Achieves Industry’s First Symmetrical Speed ​​of 20 Gigabits per Second on Production Fiber Network, Access Evolution


Today, the Internet powers nearly every facet of human-machine interaction. Augmented reality and virtual reality applications and cloud games; connected cars and smart cities; to the video conferencing tools that have connected us all throughout the pandemic – these increasingly sophisticated apps and services require connectivity that is advancing just as rapidly.

We’re laser-focused on making AT&T the best broadband provider in America, pushing the boundaries of faster speeds, greater capacity, lower latency, and reliability and increased range. Although we have accumulated many accolades over the past few years for our fiber internet product and fiber-powered 5G wireless network, no one is resting on their laurels. We all want to build for the future. We’re the fastest major Internet provider delivering Hyper-Gig symmetric speeds of up to 5 Gbps to consumers and businesses1. Earlier this year, we announced that we had achieved up to 10 Gbps of high throughput in our labs. Today, AT&T achieved symmetric speeds of 20 Gbps in our production network, the first carrier in the world to achieve this milestone.

Why are symmetric speeds so important? Consumers and businesses are increasingly both consumers and creators of content. We upload and send videos and other large files. For example, if you’re an online gamer, you exchange tons of data with other gamers in real time, perhaps teaming up with your friends in VR or live-streaming your exploits to millions of fans. . For businesses, sharing video and VR streams over 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’s a two-way mega highway.

Journey to Hyper-concert

AT&T began rolling out fiber to homes and businesses around 2010. Based on Gigabit Passive Optical Networking (GPON) technology, this initial service offered customers shared capacity of 2.5 Gbps downstream and 1.25 Gbps upstream. Being “passive” minimizes the need for active electronics in our outdoor installations, which means lower maintenance costs and much higher reliability than traditional copper twisted pairs or coaxial cabling. AT&T used GPON technology to become one of the first companies to offer 1 Gbps symmetrical Internet service to businesses and consumers, in the form of our AT&T Fiber service. Whether it’s customers sharing videos with friends or helping small and medium businesses connect franchises or branches across regions, this service has been a huge step forward in making downloads as seamless. than downloads.

Ten years later, in 2020, AT&T began testing and deploying the new XGS-PON technology in accordance with our plan to achieve 30 million homes and businesses connected to fiber by 2025.With XGS-PON, we have increased the capacity of our network fiber downstream by 4 times and upstream by 8 times, at about the same economic level as our previous GPON investment. AT&T was an early adopter of XGS-PON with the largest deployment in North America. We had our first trial in North Carolina in late 2021, with a wider, high-speed Hyper-Gig customer launch in 2022, featuring industry-leading 2Gbps and 5Gbps symmetric broadband services .

Evolving technology for more speed, capacity and efficiency

AT&T Labs began evaluating next-generation 25GS-PON technology in our production network in June 2022. This increases our broadband network capacity by nearly 2.5 times over XGS-PON while requiring upgrades. minimum levels of infrastructure in our central offices and at our customers. And it runs on the same fiber optic cables we’ve spent the last decade installing across the country. In our trial, we were able to take advantage of wavelength coexistence with our FiberWise™ technology – combining 25GS-PON with XGS-PON and other point-to-point services on the same fiber to deliver an efficient scalable path . This technology allowed us to reach 10 GB earlier this year and 20 GB today in our Broadband Lab in Austin, TX.

The symmetric capacity of 20 gigabytes gives developers and engineers a huge lead into the future. As the simultaneous and massive use of AR/VR, metaverse, self-driving cars, telemedicine, robotic manufacturing, real-time video sharing and editing, and gaming continues to grow, our 20Gbps service will deliver high bandwidth, which includes helping to enable connected applications and services that haven’t even been imagined yet.

The future of ultra-fast broadband

The 25GSPON MSA Group – comprised of more than 50 global carriers and vendors, including AT&T – is the industry group driving the standards and specifications for this new technology. We expect the group to bring 25GS-PON to maturity within the next 6-12 months. Beyond 25GS technology, we are also actively engaged and piloting 50 Gbps and 100 Gbps symmetric access technologies with global standards bodies. As we invest and progress towards our goal of becoming the best broadband provider in the United States, we will continue to work on what comes next while helping to further advance the evolution of broadband in the future.


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