Verizon completes NG-PON2 technology trial, signals next FTTP move

Verizon has wrapped its first interoperability trial of NG-PON2 (next-generation passive optical network) technology at its Verizon Labs location in Waltham, Massachusetts, signaling the next step of its fiber to the premises (FTTP) strategy.

During the trial, Verizon demonstrated that equipment from different vendors on each end of a single fiber—one on the service provider’s endpoint and that the customer premises—can deliver service without any end-user impact.

What was compelling about the trial is that Verizon was able to use equipment from multiple vendors.

Earlier generations of PON required service providers to use optical line terminal (OLT) at the telco Central Office (CO) and optical network terminal (ONT) equipment at the customer’s location from one vendor.

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Being able to use different vendors on both endpoints could potentially allow large telcos like Verizon to scale NG-PON2 services quicker. Adtran, Broadcom, Cortina Access and Ericsson, in partnership with Calix participated in the interoperability trial. In July, Verizon named its NG-PON2 vendor partners following a lengthy RFP process.

Earlier in 2015, Verizon had completed field testing of NG-PON2 technology with an end-user.

Dr. Denis Khotimsky, distinguished member of the technical staff at Verizon, told FierceTelecom that it wants to ensure it can have interoperable network elements as soon as it rolls out NG-PON2 services.

“Our goal for this RFP is we would like to have an NG-PON2 deployment that is interoperable from day one,” Khotimsky said. “As a step toward achieving this goal, we have conducted a trial before the holiday and found that this is important to us because it allows us greater flexibility in selecting equipment, allows us to deploy features quicker—and leads to simplified operations, guarantees compliance to standards.”  

Khotimsky added that “if something happens to one of the vendors, it gives us a seamless path to deploy another vendor.”

Improving network management

The trial tested plans aligned with Verizon’s Open optical network unit management and control interface (OMCI) specifications, which define the OLT-to-ONT interface and will be shared with the industry in the next few months.

“We are satisfied with the results of the trial, especially with the OMCI specification, which we hope will lead the industry towards interoperable NG-PON2,” Khotimsky said.

Having a standard interface for the OLT and ONT interface will be important for Verizon and other large carriers that want to scale NG-PON2 to a large population of businesses and eventually residential customers.

Verizon has been working with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and FSAN standards bodies to build new features and functions.

“There is a standard that defines the OLT and ONT interface on the management and control level,” Khotimsky said. “We’re working to reduce the set of options which is available in the common standard and expand on the standard to support NG-PON2 features and support environments for Verizon’s NG-PON2 deployment.”

Business service focus

Given the higher speeds NG-PON2 supports, Verizon will initially use the NG-PON2 equipment to deliver new business services in 2017, followed by residential services as market demands dictate the need for such speeds.

“Business services are our first goal and we’ll also be deploying for residential as well,” Khotimsky said.

During the interoperability trial, Verizon was able to achieve upload/download speeds up to 80 Gbps to meet increasing bandwidth traffic demands for ultra-high definition video, cloud services and other applications.

What’s compelling about the NG-PON2 standard is that it can interoperate with current GPON equipment while enabling rapid network speed upgrades.

“NG-PON2 gives us the capability to deploy large capacity and also to deploy capacity following the pay as you grow strategy,” Khotimsky said.

While Verizon has not set a specific timeline to roll out NG-PON2, Khotimsky said the telco will continue to conduct tests when customer interest starts to ramp and it becomes economical to scale across its wireline footprint.

“We’re continuing functional testing and when we see the technology mature and see customers asking for service NG-PON2 provides we’ll proceed with deployment,” Khotimsky said.