The OLT is the endpoint hardware device in a passive optical network (PON).
“This is the first disaggregated white box PON OLT device we are aware of in the industry,” said Bill Burge, VP of business development at Edgecore Networks. “It will allow service providers to implement CORD [Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center] infrastructure and deliver 10G PON services to their subscribers.”
CORD is an open source project that uses white box hardware and open-source software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) software to bring data center economics and cloud agility to the telco central office. The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) took over the project on Aug. 1.
CORD project members include AT&T, China Unicom, Comcast, Google, SK Telecom, Verizon, Sprint, and Deutsche Telekom, as well as vendors such as Cisco, Fujitsu, Intel, NEC, and Samsung.
Some 70 percent of respondents of an IHS Markit survey published in January said they plan to deploy CORD in their central offices — 30 percent by the end of 2017, and an additional 40 percent in 2018 or later.
The Edgecore white box PON OLT device uses Broadcom switches and merchant silicon. It offers 16 10G Small Form Factor Pluggable (XFP) ports supporting 10G symmetric passive optical network (XGS-PON) or Next-Generation Passive Optical Network (NG-PON2), plus four 100 gigabit Ethernet QSFP28 uplinks.
The design conforms to the AT&T Open XGS-PON white box OLT specification that AT&T contributed to the OCP Telco Project. It also supports the Virtual OLT Hardware Abstraction (VOLTHA) interface to centralized PON management software in CORD infrastructures. The VOLTHA platform provides a software framework – or “brain” – behind the XGS-PON access network in the cloud.
Tier 1 Service Provider Partners
Burge said Edgecore is working closely with service providers worldwide that are testing its white box OLT hardware as they plan 10G PON services.
“From the beginning of Telefónica’s OnLife Networks Innovation Project, Edgecore has actively collaborated with us in the design of the CLOS fabric for our GPON CORD-like pod, which should go into commercial trial shortly,” said Alfonso Carrillo Aspiazu, chief architect for the OnLife Project at Telefónica, in statement. “We are pleased that Edgecore is contributing the design of their XGS-PON OLT to the open community, and we plan to incorporate it into our pod.”
Other than Telefónica, Burge won’t say which other service providers are testing the white box hardware, citing confidentiality agreements. “But it includes Tier 1 service providers in Europe and in the U.S. and in Asia,” he said.
The device is designed to meet the AT&T white box OLT specifications — although Burge remains mum on whether AT&T is using its hardware in 10G PON services trials. “There have been conversations with AT&T about that, which I think demonstrates their interest in this type of disaggregated architecture,” he said.
Edgecore is also working with partners that are developing software to integrate and manage the OLT in CORD deployments, “specifically through the ONOS controller,” Burge said.
The ONF is leading this effort to develop open software to enable CORD deployments. Radisys is participating as well, and has integrated Edgecore’s white box OLT hardware with “ONT and VOLTHA software with Tier 1 service providers for residential CORD trials,” said Neeraj Patel, VP and GM for software and services at Radisys, in a statement. “We expect that VOLTHA based XGS-PON networks using Edgecore’s OLTs will gain significant traction for field deployments and provide a compelling costs advantage.”
Edgecore has previously contributed 15 hardware designs to the OCP Networking Project. These include data center switches, modular network platforms, WiFi access points, power over Ethernet (PoE) access switches, and service provider edge switches.