XG(S)-PON: A Technical Overview and Patent Landscape

A new Clarivate report[1] explores a technical overview of XG(S)-PON standards and patent landscape


In the connected world, the bandwidth requirement is continuously increasing year on year. To address this requirement, different standardization bodies have been working to define and upgrade technical standard specifications related to telecommunication and networking. Since the beginning of this decade, Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Network (GPON) technologies have revolutionized networks by providing faster internet services. However, with the ever-increasing demand for high-speed internet, the ITU-T later defined 10Gbits/s PON specifications to further enhance network capacity. ITU-T defined XG(S)-PON standards, including XG-PON (Asymmetric 10G-GPON) standards and XGS-PON (Symmetric 10G-GPON) standards. Network operators started upgrading their existing EPON and GPON networks to XG(S)-PON systems to support the increasing demand for bandwidth.

We studied patent landscape of XG(S)-PON technology by performing manual analysis of related patents to identify standard relevant patent families and tagging them into one or more technical categories identified based on ITU-T XG(S)-PON standard.


Understanding the standards

PON is a fiber-optic network that uses passive optical splitters to deliver data from a single point to multiple users. It is considered passive because electrical power is only used at the sending and receiving points. The OLT is a starting point for the PON which performs a primary function of converting, framing, and transmitting signals for the PON and to coordinate the ONT multiplexing for shared upstream transmission. The ONT is a powered device of the PON system at user end of the network and includes Ethernet ports for device or network connectivity. PON provides last mile connectivity typically called FTTx, depending on where the optical fiber terminates.

GPON standards were finalized by ITU-T in 2003 and their mass deployment started around 2008. Later, 10Gigabit capable PON standards emerged between 2010 and 2017 addressing increasing bandwidth needs. XG(S)-PON was designed to coexist with GPON on the same fiber architecture by using different wavelengths from GPON. XG(S)-PON technology is supported by following standards:

  • 987: 10-Gigabit-capable passive optical network (XG-PON) systems: Definitions, Abbreviations, and Acronyms
  • 987.1: General requirements of 10G-PON systems
  • 987.2: Physical media dependent (PMD) layer specification
  • 987.3: Transmission convergence (TC) specifications
  • 987.4: 10-Gigabit-capable passive optical networks (XG-PON): Reach extension
  • 988: ONU management and control interface (OMCI) specification
  • 9807.1: 10-Gigabit-capable symmetric passive optical network (XGS-PON)
  • 9807.2: 10 Gigabit-capable passive optical networks (XG(S)-PON): Reach extension


Understanding the patent landscape around XG(S)-PON standards

We manually analyzed a total of 1,046 INPADOC patent families related to XG(S)-PON technology. From the analysis, we found that 398 patent families are relevant to the standards. More than 60% of the patent families out of the relevant dataset are owned by the companies headquartered in Mainland China. Around three quarters of those patents are held by four companies: Huawei, ZTE, Nokia and NTT Corp. The remaining quarter is spread across multiple entities working in the field of OLTs, ONUs, GPON/XG-PON/XGS-PON chipsets and optical transceivers, equipment and software. We also studied patent distribution in Mainland China, Europe, or the U.S.

[1] Clarivate was retained to prepare this report by Sidley Austin LLP on behalf of a client. This report reflects Clarivate work product and analysis.