Verizon will begin deploying next-generation passive optical networking (NG-PON2) technology using equipment from Calix by the end of the first quarter. The initial deployment will support residential, business, and mobile services in Tampa, Florida.
The deployment will use Calix’s software-defined Axos Intelligent Edge System, which includes a Layer 3 routing protocol module and subscriber management module. Those modules are consolidated with optical line terminal (OLT) functions into a single point in the network designed to be closer to the end user and allow for greater automation.
“NG-PON2 allows us to converge our many service networks into a single unified intelligent network, and simplify our operating model by integrating the OLT and subscriber management system,” said Vincent O’Byrne, director of technology planning at Verizon, in a statement.
Operators are increasing their use of software-defined networking (SDN) control over passive PON assets to boost the performance of deployed fiber. PON uses a point-to-multipoint architecture to enable a single optical fiber to serve multiple end-points.
In addition to potential cost savings tied to more efficient use of current assets, PON deployments can allow operators to reroute traffic over their fiber connections in case of an outage or service disruption.
Verizon last year worked with Calix to demonstrate NG-PON2 channel bonding over fiber using its network operating system and software platform. Calix said it used its SDN platform to leverage channel bonding.
Verizon last year also showed interoperability of NG-PON2 using the OpenOMCI specification at its technology facility in Massachusetts. The spec defines the interface between the OLT, which is typically located at the service provider’s central hub, and the optical networking terminal (ONT), which is near the end-user.
In touting its NG-PON2 progress, O’Byrne noted that alternative solutions like 10G EPON and XGS-PON would not work as “longer term” solutions for the carrier’s needs.
“NG-PON2 is a platform that will meet the customers’ envisioned needs for the next decade or more given its many evolution paths as well as bringing many operational benefits to simplify the network,” O’Byrne said. “It represents a paradigm shift in the design of access networks.”
XGS-PON technology is a fixed wavelength symmetrical 10 Gb/s platform. Eddy Barker, assistant vice president for access architecture and design at AT&T, said that XGS-PON provides up to four-times greater downlink bandwidth and up to eight-times greater uplink bandwidth capacity compared with traditional GPON.
Barker said the carrier has looked at NG-PON2, but felt the financial model around XGS-PON was more compelling. He added that AT&T may ultimately decide it needs more capacity and go with NG-PON2, though the ongoing evolution of PON could override that need.
“We can see going forward if we need to go there or if we jump over NG-PON2 with the next iteration,” Barker said. “Standards bodies are working today on next-generation plans that can support up to 100 Gb/s, so we will continue to see where we need to go.”
A Communications Industry Reseachers report from last year predicted the optical networking industry will account for nearly 60 percent of the $2 billion spent on 5G backhaul by 2022. NG-PON2 is expected to dominate the segment, with more than $890 million spent on the technology.
“The long-term success of NG-PON technology in 5G backhaul will, however, depend on the expectations that the cost of this technology will plunge in the next few years as the result of less costly tunable components,” the report noted.