10G GPON Now Commercially Available From Alcatel-Lucent - UPDATED

  • Next-Generation PON
PARIS - Another milestone in next-generation fiber technology was reached with Alcatel-Lucent's latest release of its fiber access platform: 10G GPON has moved from the “trial and demonstration” stage to commercial availability. 10G GPON will not only accommodate higher upstream and downstream bandwidths on existing networks; it is also likely to accelerate broadband deployment around the world.

Alcalu introduced 10G GPON (10 Gbps downstream and 2.5 Gbps upstream) line cards for the ETSI version of its existing ISAM platform (that is, primarily for Europe) and also for an all-new high-powered platform that offers dual 100 Gbps capacity per slot. however, it did not introduce 10G cards for the ISAM models it sells in the ANSI zone (primarily the United States); this platform, which is older, could not support 10G GPON traffic. So North American providers will have to move to a new platform to deploy 10G GPON, while European providers have the option of implementing 10G GPON on their installed equipment or on the new platform.

In all places, however, existing fiber infrastructure can continue to be used, and 10G GPON can coexist with GPON on the same network, because the two technologies use different optical frequencies.

Symmetrical 10G GPON (10 Gbps upstream and downstream) has also been tested, but Alcatel-Lucent will not make it commercially available until the standard is adopted by the ITU.

Alcatel-Lucent is still working with its customers to determine how to configure the ONTs (customer-premises equipment) for 10G GPON; at present, only a generic ONT is available.

Accelerating Broadband
Stefaan Vanhastel, director of product marketing at Alcatel-Lucent, says deployments of 10G GPON will be very limited in 2011, and mass-market volumes will not start to be reached until 2012. Early deployments are likely to be in China, he says.

However, no individual subscribers are likely to see 10 Gbps speeds in the near future. Vanhastel says there are three major applications for 10G GPON technology today:

- Residential service with very high split ratios. Today, GPON bandwidth is split among about 18 subscribers on average, so that operators can guarantee a minimum bandwidth to each subscriber. With 10G GPON, they can split bandwidth among 128 subscribers or even more and still guarantee high speeds. Although 10G GPON costs about twice as much per port as GPON, it is still more cost-effective if operators can support eight times as many subscribers per port.

- Mobile backhaul to large base stations and cell sites.

- Large fiber-to-the-building deployments. Even with a 1:8 or 1:16 split ratio, operators can still guarantee a minimum bandwidth per subscriber.

In existing GPON networks, Vanhastel expects 10G GPON to be introduced gradually, rather than simply replacing GPON. He says, "GPON still has plenty of bandwidth today, but we will see operators mix it with 10G GPON for certain applications like business." Operators may move a few premium subscribers to 10G while leaving the rest on GPON, or they may keep residential subscribers on GPON while moving MDUs and cell sites to 10G GPON.

However, in situations where national governments are rolling out new fiber networks on a large scale, 10G GPON can help them do so faster and more cost-effectively. Dave Geary, head of Alcatel-Lucent’s wireline activities, comments, “Even more important to our service provider customers is the fact that this technology innovation supports the various digital agenda, broadband stimulus and universal broadband initiatives around the world, aimed at the rapid extension of the socioeconomic benefits from very high-speed broadband services.” Alcatel-Lucent is a key provider for universal broadband projects in Australia and elsewhere.

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