Zhone Debuts Line-Powered ONT

Zhone Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ZHNE) today says its new GPON ONT will help carriers repair their fiber-to-the-home installations remotely, while shaving as much as $460 a home off customer setup costs.

The new zNID ONT will be line-powered via existing copper phone wire, so Zhone says the labor and install times should be greatly reduced since carrier technicians won't have to drill through walls and go through great pains to hook the device up to electric power.

The zNID will also operate on a TR-069 Automatic Configuration Server which is the same standard used by the millions of DSL connections worldwide. Zhone says this will save truck rolls and further reduce costs, since carriers can remotely diagnose and correct problems.

Another great claim Zhone is making has to do with interoperability. Zhone says it can sell its zNID to any customer no matter what GPON equipment they are using. So in theory, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) could use Zhone's zNID on its FiOS network, even if someone other than Zhone is the OLT vendor.

That interoperatbility is another FTTx bugaboo. "GPON interoperability is the next step in the industry," says analyst Vince Vittore of Yankee Group Research Inc. "Carriers aren't demanding it just yet, but they could be soon."

Zhone's not alone in its drive to make its ONTs interoperable with OLT vendors. Sources say TXP Corp. (Nasdaq: TXPO) is set to announce a similar device, with OLT interoperability as a main feature, later this week. TXP's technology was acquired from Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) in 2006. (See Siemens Sells ONT Biz.)

Zhone says it already has several customers lined up for this new GPON product line, including Consolidated Communications Inc. The vendor's major customers for its other product lines include Cox Communications Inc. , Windstream Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: WIN), and tw telecom inc. (Nasdaq: TWTC).

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:07:01 PM
re: Zhone Debuts Line-Powered ONT
Okay....good luck with that anytime soon.

Let us see where the problems are.....

1 - TCONT usage
2 - OMCI compliance
3 - TDM over PON (for T-1s) standardization
4 - Software download
5 - OAM functions (gee you wanted to test those ONTs?)
6 - Mixing and matching ONTs from multiple vendors on a PON

We are years away from plug and play GPON interoperability. Heck, I would be satisfied to see progress on VDSL2 interoperability.

Have you even noted that there is no way to test protocol compliance of an ONT or an OLT? There is not a single test set on the market.

Raymond McConville 12/5/2012 | 3:07:01 PM
re: Zhone Debuts Line-Powered ONT Here's how Zhone arrives at the $460 savings number:

A traditional CAT 5 Cable only installation:
Outside home install and test: 2.5 hours
In home cabling and install: 4.5 hours
Labor costs per home: $360
Cable and Materials per home: $150
Electrician/powering: $150
Total Cost per home: $660

Compare that to installation with Zhone's zNID:
Outside home install and test: 1 hour
In home cabling and install: 0.5 hours
Labor costs per home: $90
Cable and Materials per home: $110
Electrician/powering: $0
Total Cost per home: $200
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:07:00 PM
re: Zhone Debuts Line-Powered ONT
I thought I would add on a completely humorous part of this press release. The method that Zhone is purporting to promote interoperability is completely outside the ITU FSAN standards, thus is completely non-standard in the PON world. So, as long as you are willing to be non-standard you can be interoperable with them - to promote interoperability?

Now, that is some hutzpah.

techomojo 12/5/2012 | 3:07:00 PM
re: Zhone Debuts Line-Powered ONT I don't see the real cost savings promoted by Zhone versus other GPON ONU Guys.

The cost saving is comparing itself with a CAT5 installation which is strange since most GPON ONU use exisitng Coax home wiring.

1) Long term battery life for UPC is not considered.

2) The added cost of line powered ONU devices is not covered i.e. Zhone ONU design with CO or remote cabinet power feeders on copper pairs will cost more than all fiber fed last mile solution.

flyingsausage 12/5/2012 | 3:06:59 PM
re: Zhone Debuts Line-Powered ONT
nice marketing bulls***...

today, nowhere in the world homes or units are pre-equipped with fiber termination; meaning that before deploying any ONT you need to bring a fiber down there, and this comes with tremendous costs, maybe 70% or 80% of the overall investment.

then the concept of copper powering only makes sense if the fiber termination is close to the phone plug, and no other services are provided over the copper (no fixed line, no DSL, no remote alarms, etc...).

and finally, ONTs from most vendors comes with a AC power cord and plug. Usually, people subscribing Broadband access know how to connect an AC cord into a power plug :) Not sure how this zhone approach could save whatever costs...
optodoofus 12/5/2012 | 3:06:59 PM
re: Zhone Debuts Line-Powered ONT I question whether the ability to power the ONT over copper is really of any benefit to an ILEC like Verizon. Though they do not publicize this (especially with their union contract expiring early in 2008), one of the big benefits of moving to a FTTH architecture is to remove the distance limitation from the home to the CO. Using copper, there is a 31K-ft limit to the CO. Using fiber, they can go much further. If they were able to move everyone to fiber (which is their long term goal), they can collapse the number of switching sites by as much as a factor of 4. Think of all the opex savings that brings. Reduced power consumption, fewer technicians, etc. And they get to sell off all the extra real estate, another big boost to their coffers. But, if they power the ONTs over copper, that consolidation goes out the window. They need to maintain the existing sites to feed the power out to the ONTs. Reduced opex savings. No real estate sell-off. Vastly different business case.

Just not sure it makes sense in the long term.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:06:58 PM
re: Zhone Debuts Line-Powered ONT
OAM is done by the OMCI by standard. TR-69 is a DSL standard, it has nothing to do with FSAN/ITU PON. So, again - be non-standard and go do the Zhone only standard.

TDM over GEM IS part of the standardization process. It has nothing to do with TDM framing over GPON.

There is only 1 service provider doing enough deployment to make any claims to force a standard and that is Verizon. Please note that their two BPON vendors have completely opposite TCONT usage and voice approaches.

So, again we are years away from interoperability. Zhone's little product makes this much less likely by not implementing the standards that are already in place and inventing their own methods.

derac 12/5/2012 | 3:06:58 PM
re: Zhone Debuts Line-Powered ONT I agree that there are challenges but a service provider can make it happen if they deem it necessary. GPON, GEM implementations, are simpler, TDM isn't necessary, OAM can be done via TR-069. The service provider can dictate TCONT usage and OMCI compliance parameters. It has been done before but it will take a large service provider to make it happen.
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:06:56 PM
re: Zhone Debuts Line-Powered ONT
It never said they WERE interoperable. It said that through this method they could be interoperable. There are lots of folks who would like to ignore the OMCI and do their own method - thus bypassing the OLT altogether.

zingaro 12/5/2012 | 3:06:56 PM
re: Zhone Debuts Line-Powered ONT Must be they are implementing OMCI or how else would they be able to interoperate with other vendor's OLTs?
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