In light of a successful field trial of NG-PON2 technology, Verizon (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) may have first office deployments as soon as early next year. The deployments will target business services delivery, according to Vincent O’Byrne, director of access technology for Verizon.
The field trial NG-PON2 optical line terminal (OLT) and optical network terminal (ONT) equipment from Cisco and PT Inovaçao, the technology development arm of Portugal Telecom – The two companies collaborated on both pieces of equipment; in an interview with Lightwave, O’Byrne described the team as three to six months ahead of other respondents to a request for information in terms of development. He noted that other companies recently have unveiled NG-PON2 gear, however.
He said the actual date of the first office deployments will depend in large part by the availability of equipment.
While there has been some discussion about developing WDM-PON networks with fixed optics at the customer premises as a way of decreasing cost and speeding deployment, O’Byrne said the tunable ONT optics of standards-based NG-PON2 are essential for Verizon’s requirements. The trial confirmed the ability to use such optics to overcome faults, which O’Byrne said is an important element. Additionally, the availability of such optics avoids having to replace the ONT as services are upgraded or otherwise changed. The tunability also can be used to promote power savings as well as to “defragment” bandwidth across the fiber-optic network.
NG-PON2 is attractive for a variety of reasons, O’Byrne said. The most obvious is pure capacity; the initial deployments likely will see a four-wavelength network, each wavelength capable of delivering 10 Gbps downstream. The trial equipment supported 2.5 Gbps upstream, but O’Byrne said that Verizon will ask for symmetrical 10-Gbps capabilities in the RFP, which could be issued as early as the end of the third quarter of this year.
O’Byrne said that the multi-wavelength capability also would enable Verizon to carry different services on separate wavelengths over the same fiber. The 10G capabilities will support business services initially. O’Byrne allowed that residential services also may require the horsepower of NG-PON2 at some point, although he noted that there is nothing preventing Verizon from supporting gigabit to the home via its current GPON fiber to the home (FTTH) network.
NG-PON2 also could be used for mobile backhaul, or fronthaul in the case of 5G. However, O’Byrne said that the requirements imposed by the use of CPRI at the wireless nodes might make a pure WDM approach more practical.