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FEATURE : NEXT GENERATION OPTICAL ACCESS


SUPER-PON PROJECT


SEEKS TO PUSH ACCESS NETWORKS FURTHER


Work has started to hone an idea from Google Fiber to increase the reach and number of customers served per fibre of FTTH services


ANDY EXTANCE


I


nternational technology professional body IEEE is working to help fibre-optic communication firms reduce cost and complexity in optical distribution networks


– and has gained early industry support. Te IEEE 802.3 working group, which develops standards for Ethernet networks, is doing this by building on the ‘Super-PON’ concept developed at Google Fiber. It envisions a passive optical network


(PON) fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) architecture supporting longer distances between the central office and the customer, increasing from 20km today to 50km in the future. Super- PON architecture would support up to 1,024 customers per fibre exiting a central office, compared to just 64 with today’s architectures. Tis enables a significant reduction of the number of central offices required to support PON services in access networks that provide connectivity to end-users in a certain area. ‘Super-PON is a physical layer technology


intended to make the building of optical distribution networks simpler and cheaper,’ said Cedric Lam, engineering director at Google Fiber in Mountain View, California.


16 FiBRE SYSTEMS n Issue 23 n Spring 2019


Building the optical infrastructure is the highest cost component of establishing an access network, Lam explained, and while Super-PON may allow incumbent operators to consolidate their existing active plant footprint to one with fewer central offices, it is especially valuable in new deployments.


Simplifying the process ‘Being a new operator, Google Fiber has to build infrastructure in every market where we decide to operate, which is an incredibly time-consuming and up-front cost intensive proposition,’ Lam explained. ‘A technology that makes this building process simpler and less expensive is of great interest to all new entrants.’ Tat’s potentially significant, because in 2016 Google Fiber had paused deployments in its ‘potential Fiber cities’. Craig Barret, outgoing CEO of the access business of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, promised to ‘resume our partnership discussions once we’ve advanced our technologies and solutions’. ‘Building the optical infrastructure is the highest cost component of establishing


an access network,’ stressed IEEE P802.3cs chairman Claudio DeSanti, who also works for Google Fiber. He outlined specific cases where operators would like to increase the reach and number of customers a PON can serve. Tese include operators in countries currently building new infrastructure, perhaps through government sponsored/funded projects aimed at developing large-scale broadband connectivity. Such countries include India, Brazil, Indonesia, Tailand, Vietnam, South Africa, Morocco, Kenya and the Philippines. Alternatively, DeSanti believes it could suit operators keen to provide broadband in suburban, rural, or newly developed areas. DeSanti has been exploring the potential of


Super-PON architecture within the IEEE. ‘Te first step to create a standard in IEEE 802.3 is the creation of a study group, intended to investigate a specific technology and scope a problem to be solved,’ DeSanti reasoned. A call for interest on Ethernet access PMDs (Physical Medium Dependent sublayers) for Central Office Consolidation went out in July, at the start of the IEEE 802 Plenary meeting in San Diego, California. Of 62 atendees at the


www.fibre-systems.com @fibresystemsmag


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