Alcatel-Lucent and Vodafone conduct TWDM-PON field trial

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Vodafone is investigating the potential of using advanced access network technology over its existing infrastructure by carrying out a field trial of time and wavelength-division multiplexed passive optical network (TWDM-PON) technology in partnership with Alcatel-Lucent.

The pair have been collaborating on TWDM-PON development since 2010. When Alcatel-Lucent introduced its TWDM-PON system at Broadband World Forum last October, the vendor said it had been developed together with Vodafone.

Vodafone’s TWDM-PON field trial will be the first for this technology in Europe, although Alcatel-Lucent has previously tested its TWDM-PON technology in Japan (see Energia Communications trials and TWDM-PON in Japan).

Vodafone didn’t say where or when the field trial would take place. However, it did say that the field trial builds on the successful completion of Vodafone’s lab trial in Vigo, Spain, where Alcatel-Lucent’s TWDM-PON technology achieved bit rates of up to 20Gbps using two wavelengths.

The fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) market in Spain is highly competitive, so it would make sense for Vodafone to think about deploying advanced technology there first (see European incumbents wake up to FTTH).

Using Alcatel-Lucent’s TWDM-PON technology, Vodafone will be able to achieve access network performance of up to 40Gb/s – using up to four wavelengths at 10Gb/s per wavelength – over its existing fibre infrastructure. The new technology will also pave the way for high-speed residential data services and deliver the enhanced capacity required by businesses.

TWDM-PON can co-exist with previous generations of PON technology, providing a clear and cost-effective way for operators to evolve their networks to support higher speeds. In addition, Alcatel-Lucent has introduced new optics to lower the initial cost of deployment (see Alcatel-Lucent reduces cost barriers to TWDM-PON).

With over 446 million mobile customers worldwide, TWDM-PON will also play an important role in Vodafone’s strategy to address the increasing bandwidth needed to support its mobile customers as they migrate to 4G services. By converging services, including the backhaul of mobile traffic, the new technology will not only meet the growing data needs of customers on the move but significantly reduce operational costs (see Feature: Stacking the odds in favour of PON).

Gavin Young, head of fixed access, Vodafone Group said: “We have been engaged with Alcatel-Lucent for several years on TWDM-PON development, testing and trial activities, and all of which have shown great results. We look forward to conducting field trials of TWDM-PON technology in Europe.”

Federico Guillén, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s fixed access business line added: “Vodafone wants to grow capacity to meet customer demand. They also want to benefit from operational efficiencies that keep them competitive in a challenging market. We are committed to providing them with innovative technologies that will allow them to reduce costs and deliver new services more easily. That is why TWDM-PON is such an important development for them.”

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