Light Reading
Time Warner Cable has been kicking the tires on an automated way to bring Docsis-style provisioning to EPON services

Bringing EPON to Cable: It's a Scale Thing

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
11/19/2012
50%
50%

Two years after CableLabs set the stage for EPON, cable operators -- Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), in particular -- might finally be getting the tools to deploy the technology at scale.

U.S. cable has already identified EPON as a preferred way to deliver symmetrical services to business customers over fiber. And the cable industry has some sound operational reasons to adapt their Docsis provisioning and back-office systems to EPON. MSOs already use Docsis back-office systems to auto-provision cable modems with little or no interaction from the installer, so the plan now is to duplicate that for the EPON environment, which tends to be saddled with a variety of proprietary provisioning systems.

To help cable bring its Docsis back-office systems to the EPON world, CableLabs developed the 1.0 version of the Docsis Provisioning of EPON (DPoE) specs in March 2011, followed by a 2.0 version in October. Early on, implementing DPoE involved time-consuming manual processes, requiring "bench configurations" for the network interface devices (NIDs). That has contributed to a general lack of DPoE rollouts so far, save for isolated deployments by Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable. (See CableLabs Completes DPoE Specs, Cable Prepares to Blend Docsis With EPON and Docsis Gets Its EPON On.)

But operators and vendors are trying to solve that problem by adding pieces that will make the installation and provisioning process more streamlined and automated.

Much of that work centers on the integration of a critical piece called Demarc Auto-Configuration (DAC), a process also defined by CableLabs that is now part of the DPoE specs. In addition to making the provisioning process more automated, having DAC in the picture should also help cable operators build Web service portals that, for example, would let business services customers set their own service levels and create configuration files that can be sent directly to the EPON NID.

Kicking the tires on DPoE and DAC
Some proof-of-concept testing has already been completed. Time Warner Cable and a small set of vendors, for example, recently finished a lab trial, detailed in a white paper presented at last month's Cable-Tec Expo in Orlando.

TW Cable's lab work, conducted earlier this year, centered on DAC and what's referred to as a DPoE-ONU (or D-ONU). It teamed the Omnitron Systems Technology Inc. iConverter GM4, the first known NID with integrated DAC support, with a small form-factor pluggable (SFP) EPON ONU transceiver from Finisar Corp. (Nasdaq: FNSR) that is also built to the CableLabs DPoE specs. Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), meanwhile, supplied a network-side component that emulated an OLT (optical line terminal) outfitted with the DPoE and DAC functions.

With those pieces tied together, the D-ONU essentially mimicked the actions of a traditional Docsis cable modem, allowing it to use the Docsis OSS to provision Ethernet services and auto-configure the ONU. (See Omnitron Unveils iConverter NIDs.)

TW Cable's conclusion: The specs were "technically feasible," and resulting products should significantly cut deployment time and human error, reducing operational expenses by 20 to 50 percent. More detail about that trial and what's next on tap at the operator will be presented and discussed during the "Ethernet Takes Charge" panel at Light Reading's Future of Cable Business Services on Nov. 29 in New York City.

What's on the horizon for DPoE?
Omnitron's NIDs have been available for a couple of years, but the company's new DPoE-ready, DAC-capable version should reach general availability by the end of 2012, according to VP of Marketing Rammy Bahalul. He says Omnitron is already set up to conduct a lab trial with a second tier 1 MSO either late this year or early 2013.

Bahalul expects DPoE/DAC field trials to get underway in the first half of next year, followed by some "limited deployments" during the second half of 2013. Rollouts should continue to pick up in 2014, and reach volume deployment by 2015, Bahalul predicts.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:17:26 PM
re: Bringing EPON to Cable: It's a Scale Thing


Yep, i'm aware: Data Over Cable Services Interface Specification.  We've had a long-standing copy policy here where we typically don't capitalize acros that are more than 4 letters...and believe me, you're not the first to bring it up ;)


And I agree that we'll see more folks jump in on the DAC front. From my talks with Omnitron, even they acknowledge that the market for that kind of product will indeed expand. And first claimed doesn't always mean *first*.  But if you know of some others that are supporting DAC in this manner, please send a note. JB

VictorRBlake
50%
50%
VictorRBlake,
User Rank: Moderator
12/5/2012 | 5:17:26 PM
re: Bringing EPON to Cable: It's a Scale Thing


Jeff,


 


I'm sure you know DOCSIS is an acronym and therefore spelled with all capital letter.


Great to see a new vendor like Omnitron supporting DAC. They may be the only one LR knows about, but for the record, the definitely are not the first.


-Victor

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:17:22 PM
re: Bringing EPON to Cable: It's a Scale Thing


Are you trying to create a fire by stoking the embers, or just hoping to spread out your lingering pain? :)  We haven't received any direct pressure from them that I recall, nor have we felt the need to seek it. B'ut to repeat myself, I have gotten some individual complaints about the style policy on occasion from some of our engineering friends.  No plans at the moment to change anything, though.


But I did run the C-Docsis question by CableLabs.. let's see what they have to say about that. JB


 

AESerm
50%
50%
AESerm,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:17:22 PM
re: Bringing EPON to Cable: It's a Scale Thing


Has CableLabs approved LR copy policy? OK, so I'm still smarting from a call I got ten years ago from a CLabs lawyer about the use of DOCSIS in an article title... As for DAC, the initiative rings a bell. Here's a piece on automated provisioning I helped Victor with a few years ago. (My gosh, that's a huge photo of Comcast's Jennifer Wagner.) 

bobflorian
50%
50%
bobflorian,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:17:19 PM
re: Bringing EPON to Cable: It's a Scale Thing


Great article Jeff! Very thorough, and an excellent explanation of DPoE and DPoE DAC.


 


Regards,


Greg Scott
Omnitron 


 

Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for ...
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
LRTV Interviews
Bob Wilson, Arsenal Legend: The Light Reading Interview

1|16|15   |   35:36   |   (3) comments


Arsenal goalkeeping legend Bob Wilson was Light Reading's guest interviewee at the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in December. See what the former soccer star and sports broadcaster had to say when he took to the stage in Iceland.
LRTV Custom TV
What MEF Third Network Initiative Means for SDN & NFV

1|14|15   |   6:13   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss discusses the importance of the MEF Third Network initiative and why it's good news for SDN/NFV industry initiatives.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Frank Miller: Distributed Solutions are the Best Build for the Future - Part II

1|9|15   |   2:46   |   (0) comments


At SCTE, Frank Miller, Global CTO of MSO at Huawei, speaks about Cable 2.0 and its innovative future.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cuomo Unveils Broadband Aid Program
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/19/2015
BlackBerry Wants Net Neutrality Protection -- That's Just Sad
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/22/2015
FiOS Picks Up Pace Again
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/22/2015
Verizon Ready for Google MVNO Challenge
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/22/2015
Indiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the Farm
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive