Nokia and Vodafone complete ‘world’s first trial’ of L4S technology over end-to-end PON, which they claim can ‘eliminate’ lag during gaming and video calls.

Andrew Wooden

April 3, 2024

2 Min Read

Nokia’s research arm Nokia Bell Labs and Vodafone’s grandly named Fixed Access Center of Excellence performed what they claim is the world’s first demonstration of L4S running over a passive optical network (PON) in Vodafone’s lab in Newbury.

L4S technology (Low Latency, Low Loss, Scalable throughput) is described in the announcement as a new IETF Internet standard that enables networks to simultaneously maintain high throughput and low latency. It does this by tackling queuing delays, which happen when packets wait idly in buffers across the network. By eliminating these, L4S removes variations in latency without compromising network speeds, apparently.  

Using all this over PON is pitched as something that could improve things like video conferencing and gaming.

The demonstration was performed on an end-to-end fixed access network built with Nokia kit, and consisted of a broadband network gateway (BNG), a PON optical line terminal (OLT), multiple PON optical network terminals (ONTs) and wifi access points.

The result? The firms were apparently able to reduce latency when accessing an internet site from 550 milliseconds seconds to 12 milliseconds ‘whilst maintaining fast speeds’. The latency reduced to 1.05 milliseconds when an ethernet cable was used in place of wifi.

“These highly encouraging results show L4S will unshackle any real-time application that would normally be constrained by high latency,” said Azimeh Sefidcon, Head of Network Systems and Security Research, Bell Labs at Nokia. “Videoconferencing, cloud-gaming, augmented reality and even the remote operations of drones would run flawlessly across the internet, without experiencing any significant queuing delays.”

Gavin Young, Head of Fixed Access Centre of Excellence at Vodafone added: “As a leading broadband provider, Vodafone aims to give customers a faster, more responsive, and reliable service unhindered by lag even during peak hours. L4S is an exciting technology with huge potential to achieve this goal, as well as deliver a more interactive and tactile internet experience for our customers.”

In short, it’s a technology which is supposed to kill lag. While this trial focussed on PON, L4S can also be implemented over any access technology, wireless or wireline, and applied to any latency-dependent application, says the release. Suggested uses for this include remote surgery (that old chestnut), connected autonomous vehicles and smart factories.

About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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