Knowledge Base

Verizon Brings GPON Fibre to the Desktop
Sunday, 30 May 2010 11:17

“...when compared to typical workgroup switch-based Ethernet, the OLS cuts power consumption by up to 65 percent, capital expense by up to 74 percent, and space required for the equipment by up to 90 percent”

In a reversal of the usual direction of deployment benefits, technology Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) developed to take its FiOS service into multi dwelling units is enabling a fibre-to-the-desktop service that Verizon Business is already selling to the federal government and will soon take to commercial customers.

Verizon Optical LAN Solutions (OLS) uses a singlemode fibre, and the same basic GPON gear - optical line terminals, optical network units, fibre distribution hubs - used today in MDUs, to create a local area network capable of delivering up to 25 terahertz of capacity over 12 miles. The PON architecture eliminates the need for active electronics in the network and therefore the need for power or heating/cooling at each network endpoint, a substantial savings for customers, claims William Kight, Verizon group manager and network engineer.

As a Layer 2 transport service, Verizon OLS supports converged voice, data, and video service over a network that can be easily upgraded for future bandwidth needs. "Because of the residential deployments, the cost of all the technology associated with GPON has come down to the point where we could use it in the enterprise," Kight says.

Verizon helped drive down those costs by pushing its vendors hard for solutions to common deployment problems for fibre within MDUs. That's resulted in smaller and less costly ONUs; bend insensitive fibre in rugged cable housing; and pre-connectorised fibre drops with slack storage built into the terminal device, such as the ADC Telecommunications Inc. (Nasdaq: ADCT) Rapid Fibre system, which Verizon is using in its OLS service.

Verizon has thus far deployed OLS in two of its own buildings - a two-story building in Hanover, Md., used by 500 Verizon employees, and a building on Lexington Avenue in New York City - and in a federal government building serving 800 employees at Annapolis Junction in the Washington metro area. Based on Verizon analysis, when compared to typical workgroup switch-based Ethernet, the OLS cuts power consumption by up to 65 percent, capital expense by up to 74 percent, and space required for the equipment by up to 90 percent.

LANs extended throughout a building or across a campus typically require active electronics at every floor or terminating location, meaning equipment closets full of complex wiring and gear that has to provide power, backup power, heating and cooling, says Tom Huegerich, vice president of global business development for ADC Telecommunications Inc. (Nasdaq: ADCT).

By using GPON, the Verizon OLS approach simplifies all of that, eliminating capex up front and opex throughout the lifecycle. And the distance limitations of previous solutions - 100 meters for a horizontal run or 300 meters for multimode fibre -- are also a thing of the past.

"It’s all plug and play -- there is no splicing or labour involved," Huegerich says. “Plus, you can extend the LAN to 20 kilometres, making it an ideal solution for a campus environment with multiple buildings."

Verizon Business originally tried this approach in response to a federal government request for information (RFI) three years ago. "They were looking for new ideas," Kight says. “We went back to our chief technologist, Mark Wegleitner’s group, to see if we could do this, working with GPON, on a very large scale. They were very helpful, very supportive."

Customer interest thus far has cantered on the power savings and the environmentally friendly aspects of deploying a network that doesn’t require a lot of power or HVAC, Kight says. "Particularly with the government, there is a green initiative, so we are seeing a lot of interest there." Verizon is close to some major contracts, he notes. "The cost savings alone are attractive to most organizations."

ADC is seeing broad interest, Huegerich claims, because enterprises are trying to centralize their data centres for efficiency reasons. And having a single, high-powered network that can extend the reach of those centralized resources has great appeal, he says.

Although ADC initially partnered with Verizon on OLS, and is providing installation support for the service, the vendor is seeing interest from other service providers. And Verizon, which is planning to take the OLS offer to its global customers, is beginning to see other carriers in the space as well, according to Kight.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

 

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