Tellabs Edges Into GPON

As vendors crowd into the GPON market, Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) is hoping to stand out by combining GPON electronics with its edge router, the Tellabs 8800.

That's the box that came to Tellabs when it bought Vivace Networks, and it's better known for MPLS capabilities than for access-networks prowess. By adding GPON blades to an 8800, Tellabs wants to create a new type of box mixing flow-based QOS with GPON. (See Tellabs Snags Vivace for $135M.)

This is part of Tellabs' future plans, and the company isn't discussing when the GPON cards might be announced. "It's still a ways off. It's not a function of technical limitations but of how soon the market will need what we want to do," says Stuart Bennington, Tellabs' director of portfolio marketing.

With details scarce, it's yet to be seen how groundbreaking the GPON-enabled 8800 would be. (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), for one, claims to have its bases covered with its 7342 Intelligent Services Access Manager, which handles QOS for Ethernet and Internet Protocol (IP) services, a spokeswoman says. (See Alcatel Intros GPON OLT.)

The 160-Gbit/s capacity of the 8800 is "in the wheelhouse of large operators and how they view GPON deployment," Bennington says, but he admits it's overkill for Tellabs' smaller customers. For them, Tellabs is planning to supplement its 1000 series -- the former AFC AccessMax -- with GPON cards. (See Tellabs Buys AFC for $1.9 Billion.)

There's been talk that the 1000 doesn't have the backplane for GPON, but Tellabs believes the system is suitable for the first wave of GPON deployments. "It certainly can handle GPON. It's not, capacity-wise, where the 8800 is, but remember, a lot of the GPON traffic for video is multicast," so the requirements could be lower than expected, Bennington says.

Tellabs' plans are hatching amid a flurry of GPON-related activity.

On Tuesday, Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE: HIT; Paris: PHA) declared its intentions to get into GPON, and U.S.-based AFL Telecommunications announced a reseller deal for FlexLight Networks Inc.'s GPON, targeting the municipal and greenfield networks that have been such fertile ground for Optical Solutions Inc. Even the component front got some love, with Xponent Photonics Inc. producing a GPON reference design. (See Hitachi Intros GPON , AFL Resells FlexLight, and Xponent Intros Ref Design.)

Vendors might be motivated by the imminent request for proposal (RFP) from the three U.S. RBOCs. But it's more likely the GPON wave was scheduled around two conferences this week: The FTTH Conference and Expo in Las Vegas and the Broadband World Forum in Madrid. (See RBOCs Gearing up for Gigabit PONs.)

(NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE), whose work with PONs dates back to the 1990s, will be joining the GPON game as well. The company has begun shipping systems for trials and plans to have general availability by March of 2006 -- just in time for the first-quarter deadline expected in the RBOCs's RFP.

Given GPON's higher bandwidth -- 2.5 Gbit/s downstream and 1.2 Gbit/s upstream -- Siemens had to develop a new OLT. But for the optical network terminal (ONT), which sits on the subscriber's end of a PON, Siemens will reuse the box designed for BPON, Stefan Neidlinger, Siemens VP of solutions management for PON systems, says.

Siemens's GPON plans first emerged in May with a win in Kuwait. Neidlinger wouldn't discuss where the other trials were being held, although he did concede GPON is a U.S./Europe play for now. While Asian carriers are said to be considering GPON, their focus -- and their capital spending -- is still with EPON. (See Kuwait Opts for FTTH and PON & FTTx Update.)

While chip vendors including BroadLight Inc., Freescale Semiconductor Inc. (NYSE: FSL), and Passave Inc. have announced GPON plans, Siemens had to use its own chips for GPON in order to get the systems in production by 2006. "They will only have integrated chips next year, so today we are working with FPGAs," Neidlinger says. "That's why other vendors will only go next year if they rely on commercial chips." (See Chips Draw PON Plans and Alcatel, Freescale Partner on GPONs.)

In a separate GPON development, Optical Solutions released a VOIP feature for its GPON equipment. The software offering fits into the ONT and converts TDM telephone calls into VOIP, so they can be carried across an IP network.

The feature is tailored toward carriers that want to use VOIP to carry traditional telephone calls, says John Griffin, executive vice president with Optical Solutions.

Other PON vendors have had similar ideas. Tellabs offers a similar SIP capability in hardware, with plans to make that available as a software upgrade by the end of the year, Bennington says.

Meanwhile, the EPON camp had some news cooking as well. Alloptic Inc. announced today it was picked for an IP video rollout from a Houston upstart called Optical Entertainment Network (OEN). (See IPTV Startup Has Big Plans for Texas.)

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 2:58:34 AM
re: Tellabs Edges Into GPON Obvious consolidation of boxes (for high-end customers, of course)? Or just another God box attempt?
gottappp 12/5/2012 | 2:58:33 AM
re: Tellabs Edges Into GPON A 160Gbps device, capable of delivering say 80 GE of IP throughput (california math)would require 800 PON ports for an 10:1 oversubscription of pon bandwidth to IP bandwidth. There's no way they'll fit that many PON ports on a single device, or even in a single rack for that matter. Component sizes need to be reduced before this is a viable solution. Great slideware though!
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 2:58:32 AM
re: Tellabs Edges Into GPON
Your math is wrong. If the vast majority of the bandwidth is video, then the oversubscription ratio is 1:1.

gottappp 12/5/2012 | 2:58:27 AM
re: Tellabs Edges Into GPON "Your math is wrong. If the vast majority of the bandwidth is video, then the oversubscription ratio is 1:1."

How many times does a multicast stream associated with a single IPTV channel need to be sent on a PON (hint - once)? How many different channels will be watched across 32-64 homes at once? How many people will be watching a unicast video on demand at once? How much data is in a single video stream? Data only services leverage between 100:1 and 1000:1 oversubscription in broadband networks today. Factor in that FTTP allows for cable style HF video insertion which takes 0 ip bandwidth, and you'll see that 10:1 is conservative. It will likely be even higher.

But, even at your assumption of 1:1 is correct (which it is not), fitting 80 PON ports into the space of a typical broadband device is no trivial matter. It would likely end up being a router with OLT "Shelves" , which is really no different than a separate devices.

OLT/Broadband device integration is definitely a positive development in the future, once the sizing of the components is in line with the correct oversubscription rates. Until then, it will make more sense to keep them separate.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 2:58:26 AM
re: Tellabs Edges Into GPON
You are making a couple of very big assumptions.

Lets say that you have 1 Gb/s of broadcast traffic. 1 Gb/s of unicast VoD traffic and 500 Mb/s of unicast HSI traffic.

Now, redo your calculations. Remember, Tellabs primary FTTP customer (Verizon) is ONLY doing Unicast Video over IP for VoD in the Access network.

Now, if you were planning a network for a long term buildout and expected that Unicast video was going to be a huge deal then Unicast video is a much bigger deal than you might imagine. IPTV makes this assumption. So, if you are building a network for IPTV then over time you have to assume that multicast IP video trends to 0.

First off, I am not a big believer in IPTV. Second, this is a long term issue. But OLTs will be in place for a LONG time (10+ years). If you are placing one in your network then you MIGHT want to plan for 100% Unicast Video. I wouldn't but I am not making the decision.


gottappp 12/5/2012 | 2:58:22 AM
re: Tellabs Edges Into GPON I guess we're both making pretty big assumptions. Assuming that broadcast TV goes to zero and VoD wins all content makes some major assumptions about changes in how content is paid for. Content today is paid for by advertisers, not subscribers. A whole lot would have to change on the back end of the broadcasting business for the studios to adopt an on demand model. The way in which advertisers choose their timeslots for commercials, how much they're willing to pay, etc, is all dependent on this. Doubtful they'd be willing to pay if all content was on demand and commercials could be skipped (like TiVo). Then the advertising-to-a-broad-market aspect of television would be lost, and so would much of the ad revenue, and the revenue required to generate content. No content, no subscribers. Not that this can't happen, but it's a much bigger change than simply adjusting for people's viewing habits.
And back to the technical issues, space is still the issue. Getting 240 (80*3) PON ports into a 7 foot rack without the IP logic is still a pipe dream. Integrating such density into an existing router in the next 2 years is unlikely at best. So B-router + separate OLT shelf will likely be the story for some time, regardless of whether it's marketed as a single, "integrated" platform.
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 2:58:22 AM
re: Tellabs Edges Into GPON

I agree with your bit about the assumptions. But please understand that it is these assumptions that will drive carrier decisions. As I said, I am not a big IPTV person, but there are those in the carriers that are.

As to your other comment, it is possible to fit 80 today (Tellabs current BPON offering could easily do it). It is not possible to fit 80 AND meet the NEBS heat limit today. So, depending on what you mean it is either doable or not doable.

Diogene 12/5/2012 | 2:58:21 AM
re: Tellabs Edges Into GPON 1 PON: 32 Subscribers = 32 TV = 4 * 32 MBit/s = 128 MBit/s. Let's say 150 with all the average data traffic. That's only down. Make 50 (mean) For up... that's 200Mbit/s (for the backplane).

260Gbit/s /200MBit/s = more than 1000 OLT...
Let's put 4 in one card = 250 Cards...
- Seems a lot. More than 1 rack for sure.

I think that requires, as seven said, a lot to do on power consumption and to increase density.

TVs... not everyone will use broadcast TV. There are already operators using IPTV both for traditional TV content delivery and for VoD (pay per view).

Moreover, such kind of equipment may be used in FTTN architecture, that will give denser traffic.

I am wrong..?



gottappp 12/5/2012 | 2:58:21 AM
re: Tellabs Edges Into GPON eom.
gottappp 12/5/2012 | 2:58:21 AM
re: Tellabs Edges Into GPON Seven,
I was speaking of GPON. Please correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that GPON cannot scale to more than a hundred or so ports per rack. Component size requirements are seemingly too great. Perhaps, as you mentioned with BPON, it is a heat issue. NEBS is very important of course, as OLT equipment will be installed in CO's.

If cost was no object, I would agree with your suggestions to plan for no oversubscription. However, cost is an issue and it isn't economically feasible to plan in such a way. Using OLTs with flexible GE uplink capacity provides an efficient way to match IP bandwidth and broadband services managment (no small stack of features there) to PON density as the required ratio changes. It's anyone's guess what that will be in the end, so flexibility is key.
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