Passive optical networks (PONs) are gradually being adopted for high-speed Internet connectivity and Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) in fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) systems like Verizon’s Fios and AT&T’s U-verse systems around the world. The ITU’s GPON (Gigabit PON) standard is popular in the U.S. But in Asia and most of the rest of the world, Ethernet PON (EPON) is widely used.
Also known as Gigabit Ethernet PON, EPON is the result of IEEE Ethernet standard 802.3ah, or Ethernet in the last mile. PONs are very inexpensive, since they don’t involve any power or active electronics, even though the distance from the carrier to the home may be many kilometers. Now, the IEEE is completing its work on 10-Gbit/s PON or 10G EPON, designated 802.3av.
10G EPON is backward-compatible with the current 1G EPON, as the two down bit streams are on different wavelengths, 1577 nm for 10G and 1490 for 1G. Ratification of 802.3av is expected later this year. With 10G EPON in place, HDTV will be easier. In the meantime, work on 10G EPON components and equipment is progressing.
The major drivers for 10G EPON are high-bandwidth applications stemming from the heavy increase in video transfers. Carriers have been testing 10G EPON since last year, and mass deployment is expected in late 2010. In fact, PMC-Sierra recently announced its symmetric 10G EPON development platforms.
PMC-Sierra has developed complete systems for symmetric 10G EPON, including the PAS8011 10G Optical Line Terminals (OLT) for the carrier central-office side of the line and the 10G PAS9011 Optical Network Unit (ONU) for the customer premise side of the line (see the figure). Built using FPGAs, both include transceivers and backward-compatible service dynamic bandwidth allocation, which enables configurable high-system performance in a multi-service environment for access, wireless back haul, and cable TV networks. Symmetrical 10-Gbit/s performance is a standard feature.
If you’re beginning development on 10G EPON products or systems, the PAS8011 and PAS9011 are available now. PMC-Sierra also offers the white paper, “10G EPON Brings Advantages to the Fiber Access Network.” Go to www.pmc-sierra.com/ftth-pon for details.