Journey Toward Software-Defined Passive Optical Networks With Multi-PON Technology: An Industry View

Journal of Optical Communications and Networking

Julio Montalvo, Jose Torrijos, Daniel Cortes, Rajesh Chundury, and Matt St. Peter

As bandwidth demands driven by digitization and ubiquitous connectivity continue to increase, the telecom industry is challenged to build and scale their networks in a sustainable manner.

A recent example is the unexpected crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a sudden surge in broadband usage globally, spiking the number of connected devices online during the workday.

The nationwide lockdown, which mandated virtual learning for students and telecommuting as much as possible, resulted in 42.8 million active devices online (from homes) during the workday. 

This paper outlines our Open Broadband trial in Brazil and the journey to open software and whitebox hardware as a practical approach to scaling fiber access networks enabling integration into a software-defined network controlled environment while transitioning away from vertically integrated models featuring black box passive optical network (PON) solutions.

For this trial, we used the Radisys Any-PON (G-PON or XGS-PON) OLT model RLT-1600X. It offers 16 small form-factor pluggable (SFP+) based Any-PON interfaces in 1RU height. An Any-PON interface means that each of these ports can support either a G-PON SFP or an XGS-PON SFP+. The OLT uses Aspen, the latest PON media access control (MAC) application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) from Broadcom, and the Qumran AX0 with 300 Gb/s switching capacity.

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