Why operators are selecting Huawei’s AirPON solution

Why operators are selecting Huawei’s AirPON solution

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“Precise planning, reusing facilities, reducing construction and easy development,” were just some of the key benefits highlighted today as to why more and more operators are choosing the AirPON FMC solution to futureproof their FTTH networks.

Speaking at the AirPON Commercial Release Conference, Charles Qiu, vice director of the access network marketing & solution sales department at Huawei, shared more insights into the commercial benefits of the AirPON precise network construction solution. “This solution includes not only an AirPON end-to-end (E2E) hardware solution, but also an AirPON precise planning solution,” he said.

“Precise planning to increase investment efficiency, reuse existing facility and reduce optical distribution network (ODN) construction to save cost, and use Blade OLT solution and Digital QuickODN solution to make FTTH project become very simple.”

The executive discussed how precise construction with full service area planning is a big attraction for operators, who are looking at better ways to target customers. Understanding where the high priority fibre coverage regions are and how best to utilise existing infrastructure and facilities are key concerns for an FTTX business.

“The AirPON solution proposes three steps to achieve precise coverage,” he explained. The first is full service grid division and valuable area identification. “In this step, the planned covered region is divided into different grids, and the value of each grid is scored based on 20+ parameters. For high-value grids, Huawei’s planning tool can provide quick network planning and designing. Existing facilities and infrastructure will be reused in the planning. Then based on the output of the high level network design, the tool can automatically give out the total cost of ownership (TCO) and business plan to support operator’s investment decision.”

Charles Qiu then presented the four cutting-edge technologies, which fully support Huawei’s AirPON precise planning. Automatic grid division is the base stone of grid planning and grid operation. High value region identification directly contributes to precise coverage. High-value site choice function proposes the best site candidate list for an AirPON location, and automatic calculations provide the best optimal ODN route.


Huawei has previously detailed how a traditional ODN covers 5km and that AirPON reduces that to 500m to 1km. Requiring far fewer optical cables and cores, right of way (ROW) acquisition is simplified and network construction is more efficient. The solution improves the deployment efficiency of workers and reduces deployment complexity, solving the problems of high costs and long construction times and cutting TCO by 30%.

In his presentation, Charles Qiu detailed various scenarios that the flexible solution is applicable from how the AirPON solution seeks to reuse existing mobile site infrastructure to minimise site and fibre investment to how it provides serial options in installation mode, power supply mode and backhaul mode.

“For example, pole mounting is the most popular mode when we reuse existing mobile sites. When there is not enough pole space, we can also mount AirPON on the wall of site. In general, we will seek the AirPON gets its DC power supply from the existing blade power module of the site,” the vice director said.

“If there is no DC power, we can also have 220V AC power as a supply, which can be easier to get.  AirPON can work together with multiple backhaul network options. Fibre backhaul is suitable to the sites with enough spare fibre. If there are no more spare cables, we can also use an IPRAN tunnel or even microwave tunnel to provide backhaul.”

Two key performance features of AirPON are that it is ultra-light and easy to install, Charles Qiu added.

Traditionally, OLTs must be installed in the CO, which requires many people and a lengthy period for CO site preparation. However, Huawei’s pole-mounted outdoor cabinet features a built-in mini OLT and fully compact outdoor Blade OLT, which is similar in size and similar to install as a wireless Blade BBU. It shares sites with mobile base stations and reuses backhaul networks and power supply for fast deployment in a fraction of the time and with less engineers. 

“If you look at the Blade OLT, the whole box is only 15kg, which can be installed by one person if necessary. The shape and mechanical design imitates BladeBBU so that mobile engineering team can handle Blade OLT installation with simple training,” he said.

“Beside the hardware installation, the software configuration is automatic. As soon as the Blade OLT power is on and the link between the OLT to NCE is set up, the entire configuration can automatically download from NCE. Therefore, a field engineer does not need to do any software configuration.”

Traditionally, the ODN part of a traditional FTTH project equates to more than 50% of the end-to-end cost, and takes two to three months to construct. Moreover, fibre splicing is difficult and requires dedicated tools. However, Huawei’s ODN solution pre-connects all cables between an OLT and users without the need for fibre splicing.

To reduce the ODN cost, Charles Qiu describes how the AirPON solution take two key methods: “sink down the OLT position to reduce the ODN construction, and introduce Digital QuickODN solution to simplify ODN engineering”.

Digital QuickODN solution can work in all the common ODN scenarios. In general, an end-to-end quick ODN chain can include an XBOX, which is similar to a traditional FDT, a HUB box, which works like a traditional DP, and a Sub&End Box, which is used as a traditional FAT. “Between the boxes we used pre-connected cable, which support plug & play, and avoid slicing operation,” the Huawei executive added.

“A Digital QuickODN solution can also work in an underground scenario and MDU scenario. We believe that this can cover most of ODN construction requests. It can also support automatic ODN information records, which we called “Digital ODN”. You can see there are QR codes on an ODN box and cable.

“The “Digital ODN” app can identify ODN component information by QR. At the same time, the app can also identify whether the port is occupied, and the port link with which cable. All this information is sent back to NCE, then the whole ODN topo is setup by NCE.”

The AirPON-based network construction pattern is already being deployed by some operators today, Charles Qiu mentioned. By providing FTTH services, it increases the bandwidth of low- and medium-speed users connected on WTTx, helping operators improve user loyalty, reduce churn, and handle market competition. Successful implementation is helping to prove that the Huawei AirPON solution is making huge strides in FMC construction efficiency.

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