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G-PON interoperability key to Superfast Broadband

A new report from Informa Telecoms & Media asserts that interoperability and certification are vital to sustained global G-PON expansion. The report, “Optimizing the Fiber Business Case”, was launched at this week’s Broadband World Forum event in Amsterdam (watch out for exclusive TelecomTV video coverage coming soon) and was undertaken on behalf of the Broadband Forum.

The report finds that G-PON will become the dominant FTTx access technology in 2016, passing 200 million in 2018 to equal three out of five FTTx subscriptions worldwide. However, interoperability issues between different vendors’ OLT and ONU equipment has caused an array of problems for many service providers.

53 per cent of G-PON operator respondents said that interoperability issues caused problems related to their internal testing burden, while 44 per cent reported issues with network performance issues and 41 per cent with greater management overhead. Price is still the number one factor in selecting ONU equipment, according to 41 per cent of operator. Interoperability is ranked number two with 31 per cent, ahead of maintenance costs (10 per cent), software features (8 per cent) and hardware features (7 per cent).

Certification is emerging as a key tool to drive the transition to multivendor G-PON networks, with many service providers and vendors confident of deriving benefits. Survey respondents said that, on average, certification could help, or has helped, shorten the time spent selecting and testing G-PON ONUs by around 40 per cent.

“Establishing interoperability of G-PON equipment is a key building block to simplifying the deployment of fiber networks, but as noted in the case studies, there is much to be done around NG-PON2, and the biggest challenges may well be ahead of us,” said the Broadband Forum’s CEO Robin Mersh. “These findings affirm the importance of the BBF.247 certification program and the TR-255 ONU/OLT interoperability test plan.”

It is expected that 2014 will see increased activity around G-PON interoperability as several major operators move towards deploying multivendor networks, a host of smaller operator RFPs hit the market, and challenger vendors look to shake up the market.

Informa surveyed 237 broadband industry stakeholders for the report, which is available to download.

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