RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Google Fiber’s 20 gigabit broadband service – at $250 a month – is going live in the Triangle soon. What’s the “secret sauce” driving the delivery at the fasts speeds available over commercial internet services.

It’s called “PON.”

What the heck is that?

Tom Snyder, executive director of RIoT, a fast-growing internet of things users group, explained the tech of passive optical networks.

“This is interesting news,” Snyder says of the high-speed service.

“On the fiber side, passive optical networks (PON) should provide cost efficiencies versus running dedicated fiber to every individual customer. Prior fiber networks capped out around 10 gig, but new technology theoretically can reach 50 gig, so the 20 gig service is impressive and at least 2x what was available before.”

Regardless of the name, at 20 gigabits per second experts say users can expect to sharply reduce delays (or latency) that pause or slow videos and gaming similar to what streaming customers tend to see at home.

In other words, the hyped metaverse will get more real and people working from home will be able to download and upload huge data files such as video.

Nokia is the developer of up-to 25G PON technology, calling it “The Future of Fiber.” The name implies faster access is coming.  It’s formally defined as “25-Gigabit-capable asymmetric and symmetric passive optical network (25GS-PON).”

GFiber also os promising a higher grade of Wi-Fi service for customers.

“Wi-Fi 7 is still developing, so I’m a bit skeptical about the release of routers that may or may not align to the final standard,” Synder says. “But if you look at the evolution of Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 7 should continue to enable increased speeds, lower latency and improved penetration of walls and other coverage barriers.”

Google Fiber to launch ultra-fast 20 gigabit internet service in Triangle at $250 per month

Nick Saporito, Head of Product at GFiber, talked about PON and Wi-Fi 7 in a blog:

“As the inaugural GFiber Labs project, 20 Gig with Wi-Fi 7 will bring together the most advanced technologies to offer customers a first-of-its-kind in-home internet experience. GFiber will be one of the first ISPs to deploy Nokia’s 25G PON technology, which will allow our customers to break the 10 Gig barrier that limited existing architectures. Nokia’s 25G PON provides up to 10x speeds energy efficiently and without requiring any changes to the existing fiber in the ground.

“Additionally, by offering this service with a custom pre-certification Wi-Fi 7 router (another first ever — in fact, Wi-Fi 7 is not even fully certified yet), 20 Gig customers will be able to truly harness all that speed for whatever they dream up. With GFiber Labs, we’re working to get the newest technologies into customers homes even more quickly.”