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Northpower Fibre and Calix trial NG-PON2 in a live network

FTTH CONFERENCE 2017, MARSEILLE – NG-PON2 has made the leap into the real world, with the news that Northpower Fibre and Calix have carried out a trial of NG-PON2 equipment in a live service provider network.

Wholesale operator Northpower Fibre operates a fibre to the home (FTTH) in Whangerei, which was deployed as part of the New Zealand government’s Ultra Fast Broadband initiative. Northpower is offering gigabit services today, and anticipates the need to upgrade its network as more customers start to demand such blazing fast speeds.

“New Zealand is undergoing a major broadband vitalization effort, and we see the emergence of NG-PON2 technology as a major enabler going forward,” said Darren Mason, CEO of Northpower Fibre. “As attention in the second phase of UFB shifts from the cities to bring fibre broadband to more rural areas, Northpower Fibre will be leading the way having committed to connect 12 new towns to fibre within the next four years.”

Using equipment from Calix, Northpower was able to overlay NG-PON2 technology on its live network, without disturbing the services being delivered to existing customers via GPON. The trial was small scale – to one business premises and one residential home – but it is an important proof point for the technology, according to Craig Thomas, senior director of international marketing at Calix.

“We’ve worked with customers in labs and pilots, including some big customers like Verizon, but this is in a live network, where there is live traffic and live subscribers on the existing GPON network,” he commented (see Verizon evaluates suppliers ahead of NG-PON2 deployment).

Northpower, which has been a Calix customer for the past seven years, employed the same E7-2 Modular Access System that it is deploying throughout its network, adding an NG-PON2 line card to deliver 10Gb/s speeds over multiple wavelengths to Calix 812NG GigaHubs at the customer locations.

As Northpower Fibre begins to deploy NG-PON2 enabled systems more widely, the company can begin to drive down its expenses dramatically by converging disparate business, residential, and backhaul services onto one simple-to-operate network.

Northpower also expects NG-PON2 to enable new efficiencies in their wholesale business model. Different wavelengths on the same fibre can be allocated for use by different retail service providers. This enables the isolation of services between the providers, allowing one to make service updates and changes, with no impact on the other providers.

Another feature demonstrated in the trial was the ability to turn up services rapidly thanks to the AXOS operating system from Calix, which integrates into a software-defined networking (SDN) environment. Northpower was “amazed” by how quickly they had jaw-dropping speeds and services up and running.

“This is more than just a world first with a ground-breaking technology – it’s a demonstration of the power of AXOS, which allowed Calix to integrate advancements in NG-PON2 technology into our solutions well before anyone else,” asserted Shane Eleniak, Calix vice president of product line leadership.

Visit Calix in booth G20 at the FTTH Conference 2017 this week in Marseille, France, to learn more about AXOS and see its NG-PON2 portfolio.


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