Salira EPON System Talks 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
Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Ethernet Expo 2008, a conference and exposition examining the latest trends in the carrier Ethernet market. To be staged in New York, October 20-22, the conference will also host Light Reading's third annual Ethernet Service Provider of the Year Awards for North America. Admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.