Verizon: NG-PON2 could enhance FTTP installation, set stage for customer self-provisioning

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) said that NG-PON2, the next generation of PON technology, will make the installation process for fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) in residences and businesses more efficient.

After a thorough examination of six vendor platforms, the service provider announced that it will begin testing NG-PON2 equipment from Ericsson (in partnership with Calix) and Adtran at its Innovation Lab in Waltham, Massachusetts.

During the testing process, Verizon will examine several 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 optical network terminal (ONT) specifications.

Vincent O'Byrne, director of network planning for Verizon, told FierceInstaller that NG-PON2 takes the guesswork out of the technicians' hands that install FTTP services because they don't have to worry if a particular ONT is compatible with the fiber connected to that premise.

"The installation process will be a lot smoother," O'Byrne said. "The technician and the customer does not have to worry about which vendor they are interoperating with, and we can send them an ONT knowing that it's going to work on the fiber regardless of which vendor it is coming from."

When it issued its RFP for NG-PON2 equipment, a key consideration for Verizon in choosing Adtran and Ericsson/Calix was the ability for their Optical Line Terminals (OLTs) and optical network terminals (ONTs) to interoperate with one another. 

Traditionally, Verizon had to use different OLTs and ONTs on each fiber. But having interoperability between the ONT and OLT means that Verizon could use a mix of vendor equipment on one fiber.

"Because we're doing interoperability as part of the lab trial, we asked for interoperable OLTs and ONTs," O'Byrne said. "Depending on which ONT performs the best, has the better services and is most cost effective, we could end up mixing and matching these devices on the network."

O'Byrne added that having this interoperability between the OLT and ONT platforms means that Verizon does not have to think about what platform is on a fiber going into a customer premise. Verizon would be able to reduce the amount of ONT variants it would have to carry on its network.

"If we're in an area where we have just one type of ONT, it means we don't have to figure out which fiber has which vendor on it," O'Byrne said. "We could have both vendors supplying different wavelengths on the fiber and have the ONT from a different vendor and come along and interoperate with both of those vendors, so it gives us that level of flexibility."

Ultimately, Verizon's future vision for NG-PON2 will be to enable residential and business customers to install the ONT at their premises themselves.

While he could not provide a timeline when it would enable self-installation, it's a concept they are working towards.

"As part of our GPON deployment, we are moving toward more of a self-install process over time," O'Byrne said. "This will smoothly merge into that process as well."

By implementing NG-PON2 technology into its FTTP network, Verizon can support up to 40 Gbps of total capacity and symmetrical 10 Gbps speeds for each customer on a single fiber. Initially, the NG-PON2 equipment will be used to deliver new business services in 2017, followed by residential services based on market demands.

Verizon is hardly a novice in the NG-PON2 arena. Having operated a FTTP network that used BPON and later GPON-based gear for nearly 12 years, the service provider conducted a test of the NG-PON2 technology from a central office in Framingham, Massachusetts, in 2015, to a FiOS customer's home three miles away and to a local business.

The trial, which used gear from Cisco and PT Inovação, was able to deliver broadband speeds of 10-Gbps and higher.

For more:
- see the release

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