Multi-vendor GPON networks benefit from interoperability, certification, report says

GPON may be the top fiber to the home (FTTH) technology, but a new report from Informa says that interoperability and certification of network elements will drive further expansion of multi-vendor networks.

The research firm forecast in its "Optimizing the Fiber Business Case" study that GPON will be the main FTTx access technology in 2016, passing 200 million premises in 2018.

Despite that promising growth, the report said that interoperability issues between various vendors' optical line terminals (OLT) and optical network unit (ONU) equipment "has caused an array of problems for many service providers."

About 53 percent of GPON service provider respondents said that interoperability issues caused problems related to internal testing, while 44 percent reported issues with network performance, and 41 percent with greater management overhead.

Interoperability is ranked number two in the operators' ONU selection criteria behind price (41 percent). However, maintenance costs, software features, hardware features and number of ports were less important in their GPON deployment decisions.

One of the benefits of certification is that it could, or has helped, opertors shorten their vendor GPON ONU vendor selection and testing time by about 40 percent.

These results reflect how big a role Broadband Forum's BBF.247 and TR-255 ONU/OLT certification programs will have in driving multi-vendor GPON network environments. In February, the group expanded its G-PON ONU process to address vendor interoperability and upcoming generations of PON, including XG-PON, otherwise known as 10G PON.

"Establishing interoperability of G-PON equipment is a key building block to simplifying the deployment of fiber networks, but as noted in the case studies, there is much to be done around NG-PON2, and the biggest challenges may well be ahead of us," said Robin Mers, president of the Broadband Forum.

For more:
- see the release

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