Verizon is on track to take its NG-PON2 access network out of the lab and into a centralized office in early 2018, enabling it to serve trial customers then, according to Vincent O'Byrne, the service provider's director of access technology.
Over the next couple of months, the lab will continue resolving some issues around optics, software testing and tweaks, he told UBB2020. These issues would not, O'Byrne said, stop Verizon from deploying the unit; since the provider has time within its internal milestones to address them and avoid making compromises, it is taking this path, he said.
"The interop, that seems to be going well. Folks are working pretty well together. We've had people from the field in to look at the units interoperating and replicating what they'd be doing in the field, take that work semi-out of the lab, touch and feel it and see how they would install it, see if any issues come up," he said. "Software is a new area, new vendors for subscriber management, so that's going on and we're working with them to get updated releases, so that's going pretty well. The optics we believe are going well. That's the crux of the issue. And we're very, very close. The last time we [spoke we] were very close; now we're very, very close." (See CSP Execs: NG-PON2 Delivers.)
While interoperability between key partners ADTRAN and Calix was -- and is -- important, Verizon has not yet decided whether it will evenly split purchases between both vendors, said O'Byrne, referring to that as a business decision.
"There are some little operational challenges associated with having multiple vendors in the same central office, for example, but these are things that can be worked out. We haven't exactly made a decision how we would support it apart from the decision to make sure it's supported," said O'Byrne. "It could be such that, as we're doing now, it can interoperate and as we deploy them they can interoperate. It doesn't mean necessarily that, for example, if we have a Calix OLT that 50% of its ONTs are Adtran's. It just means the interoperability is such that most vendors could support each other's ONTs."
The ability to interoperate protects Verizon on pricing and from a strategic perspective, he said.
"We've had in the past some ONTs going end-of-life, and this addresses some of those issues we've had in the past," said O'Byrne.
Both Ericsson/Calix and Adtran have developed new designs and different approaches to NG-PON2, O'Byrne has said.
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.