The IEEE Standards Association officially began work this month on project P1904.1, Service Interoperability in Ethernet Passive Optical Networks (SIEPON).

Sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society, the P1904.1 working group (WG) held its inaugural meeting on Feb 8-10 in Piscataway NJ. Its mission extends beyond basic EPON connectivity requirements, with the goal of adding operational, administrative and maintenance (OAM) interoperability specifications.

EPON technology already is standardized in IEEE 802.3ah; 10G-EPON, in IEEE 802.3av.

What’s the rationale for this project? According to one of the WG’s guiding documents, “More than 30 million subscribers are being served by 1G-EPON now, and it is expected that deployment volumes will reach more than 10 million new subscribers annually. (Yet) There are no open, international system-level specifications describing how to achieve multi-vendor interoperability.”

For example, while an EPON optical line terminal (OLT) from one vendor may be able to communicate with an EPON optical network unit (ONU) from any other vendor, there are no standards for defining the mapping of services to ports on ONUs that may feature multiple (Ethernet) ports or embedded subsystems (such an ATA, Wi-Fi, or router).

The idea is that SIEPON could simplify this challenge by providing standards for device capabilities communication and provisioning. In addition to the OAM work, SIEPON will also develop specifications for service management, traffic engineering, and power management.

The project may also offer a PON redundancy standard for EPON. The effect of this work would be to reduce the level of effort required to achieve multiple vendor interoperability and systems integration for vendors and operators.

As MSOs and other service providers continue to explore EPON’s potential, this project merits attention.

The chair of WG 1904.1 is Glen Kramer, who also serves as chief scientist for Teknovus. Earlier this month, Broadcom announced an agreement to acquire Teknovus for $123 million. (For more information on the WG, click here.)

– Jonathan Tombes

The Daily

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