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Verizon evaluates suppliers ahead of NG-PON2 deployment

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US operator Verizon is ready to begin lab trials of next-generation passive optical network, or NG-PON2, equipment and has selected Ericsson, in partnership with Calix, and Adtran to take part.

The trial, which will take place in Verizon’s Innovation Lab in Waltham, Mass, is expected to lead to network deployments in 2017.

As Verizon plans a technology upgrade that could boost speeds over its Fios fibre-optic network by an order of magnitude, the company says it reached a critical juncture in its RFP (request for proposals) process and has narrowed its choice of suppliers down to the final two.

The lab trials will help the operator assess the ability of the next-generation technology to provide increased speeds and functionality to customers on its Fios network. NGPON-2 technology will support speeds of up to 10G speeds per customer, both upstream and downstream, over a single fibre – a tenfold increase over most high-end broadband service offerings.

To achieve this speed boost, NG-PON2 uses a time- and wavelength-division multiplexed approach that combines multiple 10G wavelengths on the same infrastructure (see Feature: Stacking the odds in favour of PON).

The upgrade – which can be implemented without changing the underlying fibre-optic infrastructure – will allow Verizon to easily and cost-effectively increase system capacity by adding wavelengths to meet the spiralling demand for bandwidth hungry services, such as virtual reality applications and ultra-high-definition video.

Another advantage cited by Verizon is that using NG-PON2 will also improve flexibility and resiliency, because traffic can be shifted amongst multiple wavelengths without impacting on the customer experience.

Commenting on the vendor selection, Vincent O’Byrne, director of network planning for Verizon, said: ‘When it comes to NG-PON2, Adtran and Ericsson/Calix have developed new designs and some novel, yet different, approaches that put them at the forefront of the industry.’

Clearly that’s good news for the vendors taking part, but leaves others out in the cold, including Nokia, even though it was one of the first to add NG-PON2 capabilities to its product portfolio (see Alcatel-Lucent reduces cost barriers to TWDM-PON).

Cisco was not shortlisted, even though it successfully completed field testing of NG-PON2 technology with Verizon last year.

Starting this month, the lab testing will focus on several key features of NG-PON2, including tuning performance, the ability to carry residential and business services on the same platform, and interoperability and conformance testing to meet Verizon’s optical network terminal (ONT) specifications – to ensure backwards compatibility with existing hardware.

Assuming the trials are successful, Verizon plans to use NG-PON2 technology to provide faster broadband speeds to a number of business services in 2017 initially, followed by residential services as the technology matures and the market demands.


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