Broadcom Chips in EPON Support

The cable industry marks another milestone today in its slow rollout of Ethernet Passive Optical Networking (EPON) technology with the first silicon for EPON equipment that meets the industry's tech standards.

Broadcom Corp. has announced availability of new optical network unit (ONU) and optical line terminal (OLT) chipsets, along with DOCSIS mediation layer (DML) middleware. The new EPON products support the Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs) DOCSIS provisioning of EPON (DPoE) 1.0 specification, which Broadcom helped to develop.

Broadcom says the new chipsets work on both 1G and 10G EPON. The company says its DML software allows operators to migrate easily from one to the other while still relying on DOCSIS management systems.

The cable industry's commercial services ambitions depend on exploiting EPON technology. But progress has been slow as operators work to keep expenses down and limit network complexity. (See Bringing EPON to Cable: It's a Scale Thing.)

Bright House Networks, which has deployed EPON gear for commercial services customers since 2006, is one of the few MSOs with meaningful EPON installations to date. In a prepared statement, John Dickinson, senior director of network strategy and architecture for Bright House, said Broadcom was "a clear choice" for cable operators "to collaborate with to define interoperable specifications and technology for the industry."

Last month CableLabs qualified the first eight products under the DPoE 1.0 specification. CableLabs has also crafted a more advanced DPoE 2.0 spec, which emerged last fall. (See Cable EPON Gear Makes the Grade.)

— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable

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