Long-term Evolution of Passive Optical Networks

(Invited Paper)
J. Prat, P. Chanclou, R. Davey, J.M. Finochietto, G. Franzl, A.M.J. Koonen, S. Walker
requirement for the operator’s business plan. This may occur in fibre-limited or saturated areas, and also where the longterm cost-effectiveness validates a green-field deployment. Thus, current approaches based on point-to-point fibre-rich plants and standardized TDM PONs (GPON, EPON) are not dealt in this work, which focuses on longer-term generations of PONs. Considering this, the main features that may define a highly scalable new-generation PON may be stated: • High splitting ratio (>64) • High speed (> 1 Gbps) • High BW per user (>100Mbps) • Bidirectional, symmetrical, single fibre interface • Long reach (> 20 Km) • Passive • Simple upgradeability • Centralized management and monitoring • Dynamic resource allocation • Basic protection incorporated Another point to address here is that some operators already have a legacy PON problem: how will they evolve from BPON/GPON/GE-PON to NG-PON, and, architectures applicable if the network shall be fibre lean such that NGPON will need to share fibres with legacy PONs. Two questions currently not solved. Difficult technical challenges such as standardised wavelength plan discussions arise. For example, if NGPONs can be deployed on separate fibres to legacy PONs, the design of the NGPON is perhaps easier. However, different operators will have to cope with different situations. This work is organized as follows: Section 2 is devoted to the optical architectures of PONs in access, making emphasis on advanced ones which can accommodate increased bandwidth services and higher numbers of users, while reaching better utilization of optical resources. Relevant concepts like reconfigurable TDM and wavelength routed PONs as well as combined dimension multiplexing are considered. Section 3 deals with the physical layer issues that can be relevant for next-generation PONs: colourless ONT, singlefibre single-wavelength bidirectional transmission, new modulation formats, tuneable lasers for PONs, radio-overfibre systems, optical amplification, PON control, etc. These are key enabling techniques for the future growth of PON performances and functionalities. In Section 4, several traffic studies for advanced PONs are presented, in order to illustrate the advantages of dynamic

Abstract— With the recent increase of the number of Fiber-tothe-Home deployments worldwide, and the corresponding huge investment in infrastructure, there is a need to devise a migration path that assures the full future usability and enhanced performance of the installed fiber plant, possibly using emerging opto-electronic technologies. With this aim, within the IST ePhoton/One Network of Excellence, different technological solutions have been extensively analyzed and discussed. In this paper, a brief summary on access applications is presented. Index Terms— Access networks, FTTH, Optical fiber Communications, Passive Optical Networks.

ASSIVE Optical fibre access to the user, the so-called Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH), is becoming a mature concept and a reality in many regions of the globe. Firstly, they were established on point-to-point fibre links; lately, the more advanced point-to-multipoint Passive Optical Network (PON) are being deployed, in Asia and USA mainly. This first generation of TDM-PONs (BPON, GPON, EPON) have been recently standardized, offering symmetrical Gigabit/s bandwidth shared among several tens of users. In near future, further generations of PON will be available (in the same way as we have had multiple generations of DSL), and there will be drivers to deploy some of them aiming towards increased capacity, lowered cost, new services. This document discusses the technical options for nextgeneration Passive Optical Networks (NGPONs), and aims at proposing and analyzing new architectures and enabling technologies for all-optical access. This true-broadband access may drive the optical communications sector towards new horizons. If, with the advanced techniques proposed, operators can realize the possibility to highly scale their infrastructure, from a basic one, probably already deployed, the development can be effectively prompted. The main focus of the study is on scalable high-density broadband-for-all access, i.e. scenarios where the scalability and the continuous growth of the fibre network is an essential
This work was supported by the European IST 6FP ePhoton/One Network of Excellence and the IST 6FP MUSE Integrated Project. P. Chanclou is with France Telecom, R. Davey is with British Telecom, J.M. Finochietto is with Politecnico di Torino, G. Franzl is with Technical University Wien, A.M.J. Koonen is with Technical University Eindhoven, S. Walker is with University of Essex and J. Prat is with the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, 08034 Spain (phone: +34-93-4017179; fax: +34-93-401-7200; e-mail: jprat@tsc.upc.edu).

P

I. INTRODUCTION

some can also be found from the RF and the transmission systems community trying to maximally exploit channel capacities. Apart from scalability and flexibility. wavelength-tuneable or wavelength-agnostic. QoS algorithms and network protocols in mid/long-term scenarios. Electrical frequency (FDM) domain. resilience is also becoming an important feature. This technique allows to offer compatibility with current CATV systems and to minimize complexity in remote antennas in RoF systems. establishing a passive. III. Potentially PONs can incorporate functionalities of metropolitan networks. the multiplexing level is in the order of 100. transparent optical infrastructure over a dense extended-range area. its utilization is per se not attractive in access. A recently proposed novel network topology transparently combines single-fibre access trees with a double fibre bidirectional ring. ETDM. increased splitting ratio. all channels are combined at the remote node and demultiplexed at the OLT (Optical Line Terminal). In an access scenario. Different multiplexing techniques can be combined.bandwidth allocation. coherence multiplexing. Finally. This can be either static or dynamical. In future PONs. II. and/or dynamic WDM routing. The available fibre bandwidth and current high-speed electronics allow high splitting ratios together with high bandwidth per user assignments. where each user (ONT) has an assigned time slot. thus. Hybrid domain multiplexing has been investigated in several works in the access domain. an objective in NGPON is to perform the multiplexing with limited complexity. it exploits correlation techniques to open a mathematical time/spectrum multiplexing domain. also known as subcarrier multiplexing (SCM). as it is not an independent physical domain. that they need to be combined in hybrid multiplexing solutions. spread-spectrum). . Any of the basic dimensions of multiplexing can be used in optical communications: Time domain: OTDM. ONTs at customer premises of currently deployed PONs include a fixed laser at a non-controlled wavelength. wavelength division multiple access (WDMA). capable of supporting future demands. ARCHITECTURES AND MULTIPLEXING A key issue to reach a highly scalable PON with very high splitting ratio is the high multiplexing level required for the many individual ONT (Optical Network Unit) signals (individual data flows) that travel along a shared fibre path. Another advanced proposal extends the WDM cyclic routing feature of an NxN AWG to implement a metrorange dynamic WDM/TDM-PON with double-tree and ringtree topologies. multiplexing levels between 20 and 100 wavelengths can be foreseen. This solution offers desirable characteristics for an access infrastructure as the use of one single fibre for both upstream and downstream transmission becomes possible. DWDM) and with static or dynamic access. New generation ONTs therefore need to be either wavelengthcontrolled. for radio-over-fibre (RoF).e. i. Advantageously. which reduces the network size and connection complexity. may require some modifications in the network infrastructure and in the technology of its devices.g. or into a single fibre via a coarse WDM multiplexer. i. The number of wavelengths per direction then corresponds to the number of TDMA-PON systems. wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) can be effectively used to upgrade the overall PON capacity. A special case is code division multiplexing (CDM). in the electrical or in the optical domain. It can be regarded as an asynchronous way of sharing the time or the frequency depending on the approach (e. FDM suffers from SNR and non-linearity limitations. If we consider a limited bit rate of 10 Gbps and a user bandwidth of 100 Mbps. offer the highest possible bit-rates to customers. launching the light either into a common up-stream fibre. with different densities (CWDM. effectively. WDM allows superposing of different TDMA-PONs on access fibre lines. The major goal is to reduce the overall access network cost while assuring a remarkable symmetrical bandwidth per user. we see from the numbers above. thus we can envisage an access-metro convergence in the long-term. thus providing huge potential for 3 or 4 orders of magnitude for splitting. Longterm approaches like ultra-dense WDM with homodyne detection are in research. providing dynamic bandwidth allocation (DBA) for different QoS as in optical packet switching (OPS). Having a similar multiplexing level like TDM. Optical state of polarization (SOP) domain: this is limited to two orthogonal components. However. Section 5 is devoted to economic analysis of NGPONs with extended range.e. these changes should not require a significant increase in cost nor causing sophisticated complexity to upgrading current implementations. Several extended topologies based on wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) and Optical Add and Drop Multiplexers (OADMs) have been presented over the last years. if splitting ratios above 2 orders of magnitude are to be reached in extended NGPON. Wavelength (optical frequency) domain: WDM. Another WDM scenario is to allocate one wavelength per user. These systems suffer from SNR limitations and technological complexity that limit the number of users. forcing access networks to also provide point-to-multipoint services. The number of wavelengths than corresponds to the number of users sharing an access line. xDSL or others: each ONT has an assigned frequency. as the number of served customers per PON and the distance increase. with the aim of reaching high resource sharing levels. PHYSICAL LAYER ISSUES NGPONs offering increased bandwidth and reach to higher numbers of customers. implementing simplified OADMs by means of splitters and fixed filters that distribute different wavelengths to each of the access trees.

First steps in demonstrating the feasibility of the long reach access concept have been reported. combined phase-shift keying. The cost of the underlying electronic and optical technologies (lasers. In a mid term. …) with stringent QoS bounds. Lots of studies have been carried out on this topic during the recent years.e. • Wavelength supply: in this option no light source is employed at the ONT. controllable splitting ratio. Thus. E1. The DBA mechanism aims at managing the network resource by considering at the same time economical and versatile client-satisfaction constraints. Internet. Since the underlying technologies which we use to build networks follow ~80% learning curves. DBA. The intention is that broadband will provide benefits to society as a whole but will also fulfil a vital role for the network operators in compensating for the decline in traditional fixed telephony revenues. yielding savings in the external fibre plant and in the ONT. QOS. A learning curve is defined as the percentage decline in the price of a product as the (cumulative) product volume doubles. ITU-T G984) have been proposed and applied. POTS. scalability and cost effectiveness. the concept of long reach access promises to provide further network simplification and so cost reduction. it is necessary to simplify networks. featuring wavelength independence to fit transparent users interfaces. EPON (Ethernet PON) based on the Ethernet 802. polarization rotation modulator and remodulation using semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) or electro-absorption modulator (EAM). optical fibres. ITU-T G983). ASICs. protection devices. operators are significantly increasing the capacity of their networks. The optical carriers are supplied from the central office (OLT) to the ONTs. All these are key enabling techniques for the future growth of PON performance. ECONOMIC MODELS A techno-economical study is presented first for an extended PON with static WDM upgrade.3ah (IEEE) standard and GPON (Gigabit PON. Other physical layer issues that can be relevant for nextgeneration PONs are: optical amplification. V. The unit cost of bandwidth has decreased over the years as the underlying technology has advanced and manufacturing volumes have increased. the QoS (Quality of Service) and the flexibility of the network. for a more futuristic PON with reflective-ONT and dynamic WDM capability. • Remodulation: in this approach the same optical signal is used for upstream and downstream. PONs may benefit from this mechanism. commercially available DWDM equipment could technically deliver capacities approaching 1 terabit/s to each and every local exchange or central office. There is no technical reason why everyone could not have gigabits/s of data to their home using optical access systems which are commercially available today – the obstacles are purely economic. Simulation results highlight the importance of the DBA algorithm to migrate towards NGPONs.Other desirable key characteristics of a WDM access optical network is the potential elimination of the laser source from the ONT. • Tuneable light source: requires a tuneable multisection laser source at the ONT. Equally in metro networks. cheap tuneable lasers. BPON (Broadband PON. . Several kinds of algorithms in the context of the first generations of PON. There certainly needs to be innovation to reduce the cost of optical components. radio-over-fibre systems. new modulation formats. The focus for researchers into optical fibre communications today therefore needs to be on cost reduction. Different solutions were presented to achieve bidirectionality (the performance is typically limited by Rayleigh backscattering). and. Different proposals exist to reach this ‘colourless’ property: • Spectrum slicing: this solution uses a broadband spectrum optical light source at each ONT. Technological progress in optical fibre transmission has made enormous capacities in access and metro networks technically possible. if economics dictated. PRIORIZATION IN TDMA-PONS DBA (Dynamic Bandwidth Allocation) is a mechanism for an adaptive sharing of the bandwidth in order to improve the efficiency. Network operators around the world are rapidly deploying broadband to residential customers. This technique is ideally suitable for single-fibre bidirectional access. which end up by decreasing the total cost per user. intermediate modulation. As costs continue to fall we envisage an optimistic future for static and dynamic TDM/WDM networks. the DBA mechanism turns out to be of high importance to multi-services TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) and WDMA (Wavelength Division Multiple Access) networks. We can therefore use this historical trend to extrapolate the cost of expanding network capacity to deliver increased bandwidth broadband services. In order to economically support significant bandwidth growth. In the longer term. In deploying broadband networks. second. and there is of course an increased cost associated with doing this. The signals are spectrally sliced by a wavelength filter. IV. but a premise of this work is that a radical new way of thinking is also needed into system and network architectures. etc) is well-known to follow a cost reduction with volume known as a learning curve. Technologies typically follow an ~80% learning curve which means that the price of the product at volume 2V will be ~80% of the price at volume V. in a longer term. etc. static TDM/CWDM networks offer lower prices per component while. VoIP. dynamic TDM/DWDM networks offer higher sharing indexes with a more efficient bandwidth distribution. i. TVoD. it should be no surprise that the price of bandwidth has historically followed a similar price reduction (with bandwidth substituted for volume). as it is seen essential to provide a wider range of services (HDTV. due to this enhanced capability.

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