Adtran signs up for Orange's software-defined ARES access network project

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Adtran is working with Orange on a software-defined networking access network project. (Pixabay)

Adtran announced on Monday that it has joined Orange's software-defined networking (SDN) access renewal and evolution strategy (ARES) program. Orange's ARES is a multi-stage program that includes the use of SDN for fixed fiber access networks.

"The first stage is being deployed," said Orange's Christian Gacon, vice president for wireline networks and infrastructure, in an email to FierceTelecom. “The goal of this first stage is to be ready to implement XGS-PON by 2022 at the latest.

"The next stage is more related to software-defined networking and what we are doing with Adtran, but we have not set a schedule yet. It will go forward sooner or later. The goal of the evaluation we are performing is to assess if the technology is mature enough yet to expect some gains from it."

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ARES marks the evolution of Orange's fixed access optical network that includes a long-range goal of extending the range and reach of its networks. Gacon said the ARES initiative was designed to ensure that Orange could "maximize the fiber broadband opportunity, create new business models and deliver an enriched service experience for customers." The roadmap includes Adtran working with Orange on "future engineering rules for GPON and XGS-PON architecture," according to the press release.

"Orange is relying on what is called the 'combo card' for delivering both GPON and XGS-PON," Gacon said. "It is mandatory in countries where G-PON is already deployed from a cost-effectiveness point of view."

ARES also includes ensuring that network elements, such as OLT (optical line terminals), can integrate with third-party management, control and orchestration platforms with other network devices.

RELATED: Orange Business Services tunes up new uCPE platform with Dell Technologies and Ekinops

The goals of ARES encompass shortening the time to market for services while also reducing energy consumption in the network. The end game for ARES, which also includes Nokia, will result in new architecture studies, technical requirements for the next generation of network nodes, cost models, prototype evaluations, field trials and preparation for potential field deployments within the Orange network.

Gacon said that many components of ARES are coming from open source communities, but didn't mention them by name. Orange, along with AT&T, has been a big supporter of open source communities such as ONAP.

"From Orange's point of view, the more it is open, the better," Gacon said.

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