Ethernet equipment

Salira EPON System Talks Docsis

Salira Systems Inc. has unveiled an EPON platform that speaks a language most cable systems can understand: Docsis.

Although many cable operators, including Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), expect to use "wideband" Docsis 3.0 technologies to compete with telco services fed by fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks, Salira believes its new system, dubbed Docsis Over EPON (DePON), could enable MSOs to migrate to fiber-based networks of their own or deploy them in "greenfield" environments. (See Salira Bows System, Comcast Enters the Wideband Era and Britt: Docsis 3.0 Coming to NYC.)

For cable, the beauty of DePON is that it's designed to work with an operator's existing Docsis networks and operation support system (OSS), according to Jeff Stribling, Salira's vice president of marketing and customer service.

Salira has developed a translation tool that converts Docsis requirements and commands for EPON, but is just now starting to embark on cable OSS integrations. DePON can "co-exist with what [cable operators] have today, and can be managed with the same tools they use now," Stribling says. The company claims its standard DePON system gives operators a 1 Gbit/s symmetrical link, but capacity can jump to 4 Gbit/s on a per-fiber using Salira's new multi-wavelength EPON (MWPON) system.

Initially, Salira expects cable operators to use DePON to serve commercial customers, but believes some operators may consider using it for some residential, new build opportunities. Salira also views DePON as a replacement or overlay for existing point-to-point Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing (CWDM) technologies. The vendor did not provide pricing for DePON, but expects costs to be "comparable" to HFC (hybrid/fiber coax).

More and more cable operators are looking to PON as a potential alternative to Docsis 3.0, according to Alan Breznick, senior analyst for Heavy Reading. "There's been a surprising amount of interest from the cable guys in PON," he says, but acknowledges that operators aren't about to rip out their existing networks. "They see some need for [PON], but they want to get the most out of their HFC plant first."

Bright House a bright spot
Salira, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE: HIT; Paris: PHA), has equipment serving more than 200,000 subscribers in Asia, Latin American and North America. Thought it's relatively new to the U.S. cable scene, it does have its foot in the door at Bright House Networks , which has been using Salira's EPON gear for about two years in support of business services in Central Florida.

Stribling says Salira is "actively engaged" with three of the top six U.S. cable operators. He says Salira expects to have some lab trials underway later this year for the new DePON product, with deployments coming online by the end of 2008 and into 2009.

Although Salira believes DePON will offer it ample opportunities in the cable market, it will have plenty of company. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) -- two of the largest MSO gear suppliers -- are touting cable-capable PON schemes. (See SA Pitches Cable PON and Moto Expands 'CablePON' Strategy.) Several other vendors, including CommScope Inc. , Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX), Alloptic Inc. , and Aurora Networks Inc. , are marketing "RF over Glass" (RFOG) systems that enable operators to run fiber to homes or businesses, but deliver services using their existing headends, cable modems, and digital set-tops. (See Fog Lifting on RFOG, Fighting FiOS With Fiber, CommScope Sees BrightPath for Cable FTTP, and Calix Uses RFOG.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 3:38:40 PM
re: Salira EPON System Talks Docsis i've been learning a bit more about this (and we'll have more details soon), but apparently there's an "unnofficial" movement happening among vendors that are developing PON systems that can hook into the existing Docsis backoffice. But if there's more traction, I expect it some of this work will become "official," at least from a specs and standards standpoint before too long.
thebulk 12/5/2012 | 3:38:40 PM
re: Salira EPON System Talks Docsis i think the idea of a logical DOCSIS network running over a physical PON is such a cool idea and really opens up the flood gates for MSOs to be able to expand there networks at a reasonable pace without having to bear a large financial risk at a single time.
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:38:39 PM
re: Salira EPON System Talks Docsis
I think you confused the word "vendor" with the word "carrier". Carriers run FSAN which requires OMCI. The DSL Forum is where TR-69 came up.

alandal 12/5/2012 | 3:38:39 PM
re: Salira EPON System Talks Docsis didn't want to trivialize their effort (which is a welcome one)...

Their effort is to provide a network management environment that cable carriers are "already" familiar with. Just like some telecomm carriers wanted TR-069 (DSL) even for PON deployment.
thebulk 12/5/2012 | 3:38:36 PM
re: Salira EPON System Talks Docsis It will be very interesting (and exciting) if some of the DOCSIS over PON stuff starts to become even a semi-official standard. I know there is talk of MSOs going FTTP in greenfield builds, so it would make sense for them to be looking at a PON architecture if they can slowly build it out from there existing HFC.
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:38:35 PM
re: Salira EPON System Talks Docsis

The point is that FSAN is run by the carriers. They could say "implement TR-69 on ONTs" tomorrow and set up a roadmap to do so. The vendors have no vote in FSAN, so it is not like they can oppose this move.

Yeah, I got my name change yesterday. Thought it was funny as Verizon (which is by far the largest PON deployer) has nothing close to wanting to use TR-69 on ONTs or TR-101. So, people can make up specifications all they want. It does not mean anything in the real world.

Duh! 12/5/2012 | 3:38:35 PM
re: Salira EPON System Talks Docsis Seven
I'm afraid you're not entirely right on this one (a rare occurance for you, so I'm going to withold the usual snark).

ONTs continue to run OMCI, as before. However, Residential gateways are moving toward TR-69 for GPON access (as they are for DSL). Some functionality (especially POTs gateway) is in the overlap, but the trend is clearly toward TR-69. WT-156 brings TR-101 into the GPON environment, so there is a common access architecture encompassing DSL and GPON.

Oh, and The DSL Forum is no longer: they've renamed themselves to The Broadband Forum, to encompass PON and WiMax. The announcement was yesterday.
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