Weldon agreed that Asian markets, and specifically Japan, are the ones poised to see the largest deployments of 10G EPON in the near future. He said some of the desire to move to 10G EPON there has been somewhat driven by carriers wanting to stay on the EPON standard, but also to upgrade from 1G EPON. Weldon said he had heard discussions that 1G EPON was maxed out in a technological sense, which Weldon said were driven more by perception rather than actual use cases.
Weldon said Alcatel-Lucent will leverage its strong market position in broadband access to experiment and test 10G EPON and GPON, as well as WDM-PON.
As far as the standard that U.S. companies were likely to adopt for next-gen optical networking, Wilkinson said the ITU standard would likely gain more traction. He cited the telecom industry's familiarity and investment in the ITU and the robustness of the ITU standard as reasons U.S. companies would likely go with ITU over the IEEE standard. Wilkinson likes the ITU standard because of its standard of 10G downstream and 2.5G upstream, which he said gives a more cost-effective and useful offering for present conditions and demand.
Kunstler expects the U.S. cable players to consider 10G EPON as a viable alternative to DOCSIS technology in an effort to compete with Verizon's FiOS by offering faster individual downstream capabilities. She said 10G EPON's speed could help cable companies grab a larger share of the enterprise market, where they have traditionally lagged far behind telecommunications companies. She also thinks that instead of deploying current industry-leading optical networking technology, such as GPON, carriers will wait until 10G EPON is available to upgrade their networks.
While Kunstler is bullish on 10G EPON deployments, she thinks other next-gen optical networking technologies are not going to be as well received. For instance, Kunstler thinks that WDM-PON's lack of standards will keep it from ever becoming a mass-market technology.
WDM-PON's main advocate seems to be LG-Nortel, the joint venture between the companies in the wireline space. Nortel's acquisition of Novera in Aug. 2008 primed the joint venture's focus on WDM-PON.
While everyone quoted in this article agreed that WDM-PON was several years away from meaningful deployment (Weldon said no earlier than 2012), LG-Nortel has said they are in WDM-PON trials with more than 10 operators globally.
LG-Nortel says that the WDM-PON could be standardized and cost-effective as early as 2011, but sets 2013 as the late end of its schedule. It said fiber needs to be deployed more widely and applications requiring more bandwidth must continue to expand for the market for WDM-PON to form.