Nokia debuts Lightspan MF-14, generation 6 broadband platform

Oct. 18, 2022
Enabling convergence of all services over a single fiber infrastructure, the Nokia Lightspan MF-14 platform is designed for a new era of fiber broadband connectivity, characterized by mass deployment of 25G, 50G and 100G PON networks.

On October 17, Nokia announced the introduction of what the company bills as "the world’s first Generation 6 broadband platform, designed for a ‘fiber-for-everything’ world where fiber broadband networks evolve to become a single infrastructure for all services."

Unveiled at the Network X event in Amsterdam (Oct. 18-20), the Lightspan MF-14 platform extends the upper reaches of Nokia’s fiber broadband line, bringing new heights of "capacity, low latency, intelligence, six nines reliability and the highest power efficiency, enabling operators to address broadband needs for the next decades," according to a company statement.

Based on a new, advanced hardware and disaggregated software design, the MF-14 is described by Nokia as "a generation leap in fiber access solutions. It is the highest capacity platform in the industry and the only solution ready for mass delivery of 25G, 50G and 100G PON services," continued the company's press release, which added that the MF-14 platform is "also the industry’s first OLT with the six-nines availability and sub-millisecond latency needed for mission critical industry 4.0 and 5G transport services."

Frontier Communications, the first operator in the U.S. to trial 25G PON, is also the first to evaluate MF-14 in its live network.

Scott Mispagel, SVP National Architecture and Engineering for Frontier, said:

“We are proud to be the first to embrace this next-generation platform. This is another way for us to provide customers with the fastest broadband available. The MF-14 platform will support our path to 100G using our existing fiber network and future-proof our network with speeds that will continue to outpace cable and other technologies for generations to come.”

Meanwhile, in July of this year, CityFibre, the UK’s largest independent full fibre infrastructure platform , signed a 10-year equipment agreement to support its nationwide network upgrade. John Franklin, CTIO, CityFibre, commented:

“As we accelerate our full fibre rollout to serve a third of the UK market by 2025, the demand placed on those networks will also accelerate. MF-14’s flexibility and capacity will help us to meet the needs of our partner’s and their customers for generations to come.”

Value proposition

Nokia, in its platform introduction statement released at the Network X event, contends:

The industry is entering a ‘fiber-for-everything’ era. Once operators have deployed fiber-to-the-home, their networks pass every other building in the street, as well as the homes, meaning they can connect businesses and other services.

Fiber PON will be capable of supporting high bandwidth consumer services, industry 4.0 applications, business connectivity, 5G transport and smart city services. This creates more revenue opportunities, lowers TCO and significantly reduces overall power consumption.

This new broadband era, designated Broadband 6 by the World Broadband Association (WBBA), requires a new technical solution.

Nokia’s pioneering Lightspan MF-14 is the first Gen 6 optical line terminal (OLT) in the world and has already been selected by customers building 25 Gb/second capable networks in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

Geert Heyninck, Nokia’s VP Broadband Networks, commented:

“Fiber-to-the-home is becoming fiber-for-everything. This is enabled by several technology advances, most notably higher speed PON technologies to accommodate all new services, and SDN to bring more intelligence in the network. If you think about it, the massive number of connection points on fiber make it a challenge to get an instant view of everything that happens in your network, fully automate network control, and perform actions with no service interruption. Our current portfolio is doing an excellent job in supporting many of these requirements for today’s and tomorrow’s services, but we are looking ahead. The MF-14 platform will suit operators who are planning large scale 25G PON, 50G and even 100G PON within the same environment.”

In a recently published report, Erik Keith, senior research analyst for Broadband Infrastructure at S&P Global, added:

"The PON market is at a pivotal moment in the evolution of networks, where fiber broadband means so much more than residential connectivity. There is a huge opportunity for service providers to connect everything much more efficiently by leveraging their existing fiber broadband networks. After all, the same fiber cables that were originally laid in residential areas also pass commercial buildings such as office blocks, hospitals and government properties. This approach eliminates multiple overlay networks, minimizes digging up the streets, and lowers energy use substantially. The new Lightspan MF-14 OLT can enable operators to deploy a solution that will last for decades, while providing a platform that can increase network performance exponentially compared to most networks in use today."

Nokia said the Lightspan MF-14 platform supports 4x higher capacity than previous generation technology, ensuring smooth evolution to massive connectivity with 25, 50, and 100GE. The MF-14 platform has no single point of failure, ensuring the highest availability (six nines) in the market, added the company. This point is important, as modern consumers and businesses depend on non-stop broadband connectivity.

Nokia added that the Lightspan MF-14 platform delivers sub-millisecond latency for 5G transport and the full array of Industry 4.0 applications, with 20% higher power efficiency than the industry average, so operators can decrease overall power consumption as they connect more points on fiber network and meet sustainability targets.

The platform's modular software architecture enables more agility for upgrading software and onboarding of new functionality, with much less effort and time, said the manufacturer. SDN programmability and open APIs enable control functionality by Nokia or 3rd party network control functions. Fast telemetry and digital mirroring in the cloud enable enhanced network overview capabilities.

Learn more about Nokia's Lightspan MF fiber platform.

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