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Cable Preps for EPON Tests

Cable's flirtation with EPON will heat up this summer when CableLabs begins to conduct official qualification testing on gear that hooks into cable's Docsis provisioning systems.

CableLabs is targeting Certification Wave 93, set to start on July 12, for the first full-fledged testing of equipment based on the Docsis Provisioning of EPON (DPoE) specifications, notes Curtis Knittle, director of digital video services at CableLabs and the project lead for DPoE.

The test plan is coming into focus as cable operators continue to use EPON to pipe services to business customers. In addition to letting MSOs preserve their widely deployed Docsis back-office systems, including Docsis servers, the DPoE specs also aim to foster interoperability between Docsis and EPON suppliers. (See Cable Prepares to Blend Docsis With EPON, CableLabs Completes DPoE Specs and Docsis Gets Its EPON On.)

But the CableLabs target for the first official round of testing comes with some caveats. The anticipated timing, for one, is an estimate. Hitting it is dependent on the readiness of vendors, the test equipment and the Acceptance Test Plans, Knittle warns.

More than 20 vendors have participated in DPoE interops in the last 12 months or so. But it's too early to have an exact fix on how many will go for full-fledged DPoE qualification in the initial summer test wave.

Of the vendors contacted by Light Reading Cable, only Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. confirmed that it expects to submit a product – the MA5600T OLT -- for the first DPoE test wave. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Aurora Networks Inc. said they don't have plans to submit products in the first wave, though Aurora noted that it might shoot for a subsequent wave later in the year. Several other vendors are still deciding.

CableLabs has not set any pricing for DPoE testing. By way of example, Docsis qualification testing on a cable modem termination system (CMTS) will set a vendor back $175,000.

What's next for DPoE?
CableLabs completed the initial specs in March 2011, but the organization already has its sights set on the 2.0 version.

While DPoE 1.0 focused on high-speed data and Ethernet private line services as defined by the MEF , the next iteration, slated for release in late 2012, will address more complex QoS capabilities and add requirements for E-Line (EPL and EVPL) , E-LAN (EP-LAN), EVP-LAN and E-Tree. (See CableLabs Completes DPoE Specs.)

CableLabs expects that any deployed DPoE-qualified equipment will be upgradeable to the new 2.0 specs via software.

CableLabs is also working on a draft for a spec called DEMARC Auto Configuration that will enable demarcation devices to be provisioned using the same Docsis provision concepts, Knittle explains.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:42:40 PM
re: Cable Preps for EPON Tests

Count Arris among those that will likely skip the first official DPoE test wave, if it indeed gets underway in July. The vendor said it probably won't submit anything in that first qualification wave. JB


 

msilbey 12/5/2012 | 5:42:37 PM
re: Cable Preps for EPON Tests

What kind of products are we talking about here? Components of a CMTS chassis? ONTs and OLTs? And how will DPoE certifications tie in to CCAP-ready hardware? There are a lot of pieces in motion.

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