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Nokia has announced that the company, in collaboration with Etisalat UAE, branded as etisalat by e&, demonstrated the fastest passive optical network (PON) speed in the Middle East and Africa region. Nokia Bell Labs’ PON proof-of-concept (PoC) demonstration achieved speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second (Gb/s) on a single wavelength — four times faster than the most advanced networks available today.

In the long-standing partnership between both technology leaders, they have achieved multiple industry firsts, including the world’s first single-carrier terabit-per-second field trial, setting an optical transmission capacity record over etisalat by e&’s fiber network in the UAE.

To achieve 100 Gb/s on a single wavelength, Nokia Bell Labs used pioneering digital signal processing (DSP) techniques. Once advanced DSP is adopted, the steps to 50G and 100G are straightforward, and 100G could be commercially available in the 2030s.

The Nokia Bell Labs 100G PON prototype is the world’s first application of flexible rate transmission in a PON network. Flexible rate transmission works by grouping fiber modems (ONUs) that exhibit similar physical network characteristics (e.g., loss or dispersion) and makes data transmission more efficient. Using flexible rate transmission results in lower latency on a PON and cuts power consumption in half — two essential characteristics for fiber networks that have a rapidly growing role in the massive delivery of fixed and mobile broadband services.

The PoC is Nokia's most recent industry-first in fiber access, following XGS-PON, TWDM-PON and 25G PON. 100G PON could be commercially available in the 2030s.

Marwan Bin Shakar, senior vice president/Access Network Development, etisalat by e& said: “Fiber networks are fast evolving into becoming the backbone of the entire telecommunications sector, as they play an important role in delivering any service to any end point, including residences, businesses, and cell sites. As their use case evolves, they must become quicker, smarter and more cost-effective. We are thrilled to have showcased a working prototype for 100G PON with Nokia. Our partnership with Nokia is a demonstration of our commitment to maximize value for our customers and bring positive change to their lives in the age of digitalization. Through our partnership, we are looking forward to continuing our efforts in bringing in the best-in-class solutions to our customers and enabling the adoption of innovative technological solutions within the UAE and the region.”

Samer Makke, head of the customer team for etisalat by e&, UAE, Nokia, said: “etisalat by e& is a pioneering operator in the region, and we are proud to have demonstrated our industry-first prototype technology with the company. Fiber broadband continues to evolve and will play a critical role in enabling services for enterprise customers and premium consumers and supporting 5G rollouts. 10G XGS-PON is now mainstream; the first 25G city is a reality, and 50G and 100G are being developed. This just shows the unlimited potential of fiber broadband.”

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