Ericsson Joins Cost-Cutting WDM-PON Team
News of the development adds weight to the argument that WDM PON, regarded by many as an access technology for the next decade, is rapidly becoming this summer's high-speed broadband hot topic. (See WDM PON: Sooner Rather Than Later? and NXTcomm Preview: GPON & WDM-PON.)
That's because the Ericsson group is not alone in tackling the issues surrounding WDM PON's potential deployment.
Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA), along with Orange (NYSE: FTE), access equipment vendor Intracom Holdings S.A. , and a bunch of European research and development institutes, have teamed up for the Scalable Advance Ring-Based Passive Dense Access Network Architecture (Sardana) WDM-PON project. (See Tellabs Lays Out WDM-PON Plan.)
And the two groups have more than just their technology focus in common: Both R&D projects have received funding from the European Union. The Ericsson group is called GigaWaM (Gigabit access passive optical network using wavelength division multiplexing), with optical components vendor Ignis Photonyx AS saying it initiated the group and is leading the group's work at one of its sites in Denmark. (See Ignis Gets EU Grant.)
The eight-strong group, which also includes two German firms, component manufacturer FiconTEC GmbH and laser diode vendor VertiLas GmbH , is focused on developing low-cost "application specific optical components... with a high level of integration in addition to new manufacturing processes" with a view to enabling a WDM-PON system cost per subscriber that's lower than current GPON systems can manage.
According to the GigaWaM group, "even the cheapest WDM PON solution costs two to three times as much as GPON." Now the partners have until the end of March 2011 to find ways to bring those costs down dramatically, and have estimated the total cost of their research at €9.12 million ($14.3 million).
And Ignis Photonyx isn't holding back on where it sees the market going. "WDM PON will replace today’s GPON technology, and the aim of the GigaWaM project is to develop a prototype of a WDM PON optical sub system," states the company in its press release.
The involvement of Ericsson shows that the Swedish giant is not wedded to just one flavor of PON: It acquired GPON specialist Entrisphere for $290 million early in 2007 and recently showed off its 10-Gig GPON developments. (See GPON Gets a 10G Look and Ericsson Buys Entrisphere.)
The three-year Saradana project has attracted €2.6 million ($4.1 million) in backing from the EU, according to Community Research and Development Information Service for Science, Research, and Development (CORDIS) records.
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading