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Disruptive technology trend: Fiber-to-the-room

Sept. 29, 2022
Ethernity Networks is counting a new $7.6 million broadband OEM contract for fiber-to-the-room CPE technology, characterized as a disruptive trend that uses passive optical fiber connectivity to reach residential, retail and enterprise deployments.

Ethernity Networks, a developer and supplier of networking processing semiconductor technology ported via FPGA [field programmable gate array] devices for virtualized networking appliances, recently announced its signing of a new $4.6 million follow-on contract with its existing customer, a Chinese broadband network OEM. Under the contract, Ethernity will supply system-on-chip (SoC) devices with support for Gigabit Passive Optical Networking (GPON) Optical Line Termination (OLT) units, adapted to enable Fiber-to-the-Room (FTTR) technology deployments.

The silicon chip platform offers GPON OLT functionality over an extremely low-cost FPGA design to serve residential and small-office customer premises equipment (CPE) for FTTR sites in residential multi-dwelling unit (MDUs), as well as commercial and enterprise building sites.

Given the success of its initial contract, the company revealed that the OEM customer subsequently proposed a follow-on project to address the larger FTTR market, targeting residential deployments and expanding Ethernity's reach into a new mass-volume market.

Ethernity noted the new announcement marks its second major contract with this customer, following an original $3 million GPON/XGS-PON OLT SoC order in October 2021, bringing the total value of contracts with customer for Ethernity's PON technology to $7.6 million.

The company emphasized that "fiber-to-the-room is a disruptive trend that uses passive optical fiber to reach residential, retail, and enterprise deployments."

As further reckoned by Ethernity:

"Passive fiber-optic deployments provide greater reliability and performance than Wi-Fi and a greener and more power-efficient solution than traditional copper cabling. By bringing fiber into the individual rooms of an apartment or small office, end-users can benefit from higher throughput with an unmatched level of service to enable today's most data-hungry applications without experiencing lags."

The new deal heralds the largest single FPGA volume-based contract award that Ethernity has entered into to date.

David Levi, CEO of Ethernity Networks, commented:

"This deal confirms our prior expectations that Ethernity's contract wins would lead to follow-on business. We are extremely pleased with the advances we have made on a deployable PON product with this OEM customer, and we are excited to begin work on this extended offering for the new FTTR market. This is a totally untapped market for Ethernity that utilizes our existing 5G infrastructure technology to serve a major connected residential market. I believe this is the tip of the iceberg in this growing market for Ethernity with further potential to generate significant additional revenue flows."

With the new SoC device being a major enabler within the next-generation home gateway segment -- and considering the significant estimated volumes indicated by the customer beyond the committed volume per the contract -- the company reckons that the extended contract award "may justify porting the design integrated on the FPGA to an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) to allow long-term competitive pricing."

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