Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has launched a NG-PON2 equipment test in its Innovation Lab in Waltham, Massachusetts, signaling the next stage of its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) evolution.
Following a RFP process after the ITU-T issued the NG-PON2 standard last year, the service provider says it will be testing NG-PON2 equipment from Ericsson (in partnership with Calix) and Adtran. Adtran and Ericsson/Calix were chosen out of a group of six vendors that competed in the RFP.
As part of the testing process, Verizon will examine several features of NG-PON2, including tuning performance, carrying residential and business services on the same platform, and interoperability and conformance testing to meet Verizon optical network terminal (ONT) specifications.
By implementing NG-PON2 technology into its FTTP network, Verizon will be able to support up to 40 Gbps of total capacity and symmetrical 10 Gbps speeds for each customer on a single fiber.
Vincent O'Byrne, director of network planning for Verizon, told FierceTelecom that prior to NG-PON2, Verizon has had to dedicate specific fibers to its existing GPON and BPON equipment, a process that is not as cost effective or efficient to deliver services.
"It will give us a capability to support multiple vendors on the same fiber," O'Byrne said. "Today, we have four platforms they all require separate fibers so it becomes very inefficient so our splitter cabinets in the field get very large and we need to overlay GPON on top of BPON."
While Verizon will have to install new ONT and OLT gear in its network to support NG-PON2 services, the service provider can leverage the existing splitters it had previously deployed for GPON.
"We can overlay a lot of fiber with GPON so it's more efficient allowing us to deploy smaller splitter cabinets," O'Byrne said.
Initially, the NG-PON2 equipment will be used to deliver new business services in 2017, followed by residential services as market demands dictate the need for such speeds.
Similar to service providers bonding copper pairs to deliver higher DSL speeds, the FSAN group is working on a new standard element to bond two wavelengths, doubling the amount of bandwidth Verizon can deliver to business and eventually residential customers.
"The speeds you can achieve are very high and are more business-like speeds, but this allows us to handle those cases if we need to offer high speeds as we go forward," O'Byrne said. "We can offer these services more efficiently on this platform and carry the business and residential on the same platform."
But bandwidth speed is just one part of the NG-PON2 story.
Unlike first generation BPON and GPON technology, NG-PON2 supports tunable optics, meaning service providers can also deliver different services over different wavelengths on each fiber.
As a result, the NG-PON2 gear will also enable greater resiliency, a key concern as it rolls out services to business customers.
Verizon also can improve flexibility and resiliency using NG-PON2, because traffic can be shifted amongst multiple wavelengths without impacting customers.
"By having tuning times of 50 milliseconds or better means that if a card serving a business customer goes down, the ONT automatically switches to a new wavelength on a different card," O'Byrne said. "This allows the original card to be fixed at our leisure."
Part of that includes a self-healing element that allows the ONT can find the right wavelength to switch to if there's a failure in one part of the network.
"Even if the equipment goes down on a card or needs to be reset, we can ensure that the customer isn't as impacted as it is today when it typically has an outage of several minutes when we do upgrades to the OLTs several times a year," O'Byrne said. "This can be done shorten that to fractions of a second."
Verizon will also gain analysis capabilities will allow it to view into ONTs that aren't performing correctly.
"The ability to handle rogue ONTs, which are ONTs that misbehaving on the PON is part of next-gen PON is also important," O'Byrne said.
A key consideration for Verizon in choosing Adtran and Ericsson/Calix was having interoperable Optical Line Terminals (OLTs) and optical network terminals (ONTs).
"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."
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, enabled Verizon to deliver broadband speeds of 10 Gbps and higher.
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