Operators agree about the need for converged networks, but still have queries about next-generation fiber technologies' role in delivering them. A group of Broadband Forum members hopes its information-sharing initiative will educate and expand adoption of NG-PON2, Gfast and related technologies.
"There are no questions about the belief of having a converged network, but there are questions about the usage of PON ODN to upgrade to NG-PON2," said Bernd Hesse, senior director of technology development at Calix, as well as Broadband Forum's NG-PON Council chairman and chairman of the Broadband Forum's Broadband Access Summit Events (BASE).
Operators also ask about the convergence of all passive optical networks (PONs) and services onto one optical distribution network (ODN) and the availability of inexpensive tunable optics in optical network terminals (ONTs) to compete against other PON solutions, he added. In addition, service providers want standards-based, future-proof interoperable solutions -- as evidenced by Verizon's work with ADTRAN and Calix on its NG-PON2 network, for example. (See NG-PON2: The Importance of Being Standard.)
More service providers are considering NG-PON2, said Vincent O'Byrne, director of access technology at Verizon in an interview with UBB2020 last month. Additional commitment would further encourage development, decrease component and overall costs, and accelerate deployment, he noted. (See Verizon Exec: NG-PON2 Leaves Lab in Early 2018.)
"A lot of operators are already looking at the equipment in the lab and the technology and I think a lot of folks already see the benefit of it," O'Byrne said. "Everybody's waiting for the problems to be solved, that light at the end of the tunnel as it were…"
A recent (albeit unscientific) UBB2020 poll supported this, with 46% of respondents stating they would move directly to NG-PON2 versus implementing XGS-PON first. Another 43% preferred to initially adopt XGS-PON and take their time deploying NG-PON2, the poll showed.
There are several reasons operators should consider next-generation PON today, according to Hesse. With NG-PON2, providers gain flexibility in multiple areas, he said. For example, ONUs use tunable optical to dynamically tune to provisioned wavelengths and multiple wavelengths may be channel-bonded to provide more than 10Gbps services, with standards work in progress, Hesse noted. OLT channels are fixed wavelengths and TWDM are expansible from 40Gbps at 10Gbps per wavelength today, moving to eight wavelengths at 80Gbps in the future, he said.
Service providers including AT&T, BT, CenturyLink and Verizon will participate in the Broadband Forum Access Summit in Las Vegas on Oct. 29. In addition to NG-PON2, provider, vendor and analyst executives will discuss Gfast technologies and their readiness to deploy, share use cases, applications and deployments, as well as answer audience questions (the full list of participants is available here). The format is similar to BASE's recent sponsorship of a summit at this week's Broadband World Forum in Berlin.
"BASE is an educational event to update the market on the latest technology and use cases for innovative access technologies," Hesse said. "These workshops are quarterly events and will cover all [geographic] regions. BASE will focus on providing technology advantages, updates and readiness for deployment of next-generation access networks."
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.