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March 17, 2017 by Teresa McGaughey

NG-PON2 Forum and Broadband Forum Join forces

As promised, I’m back with more updates on the exciting NG-PON2 market. Today, there is big news as the NG-PON2 Forum and the Broadband Forum (BBF) join forces to create the BBF’s NG-PON2 Council. As we lead up to next week’s OFC 2017 in Los Angeles, I took a moment to chat with Bernd Hesse, the CEO and Founder of the NG-PON2 Forum and newly appointed Chair of the NG-PON2 Council.

Teresa: NG-PON2 has been quite a hot topic in the last few months. How do you compare NG-PON2 to other flavors of PON?

Bernd: Having been in the PON market since the beginning in 1989, I have seen an alphabet soup of PON flavors APON, BPON, EPON, GPON, WDMPON, XGS-PON and NG-PON2.

NG-PON2 is by far the most advanced technology I have seen.  It not only addresses bandwidth subscriber driven capacity demands, but also provides a converged network, any service architecture.

Teresa: What has been the most exciting achievement within the NG-PON2 Forum to date?

Bernd: Clearly the integration of the NG-PON2 Forum into BBF will increase the market awareness of NG-PON2 significantly. This shows that NG-PON2 is not just a technology playground, it is a reality and will be taken very seriously by systems vendors, operators and the access market as a whole. The goal of the integration into the BBF is to broaden the market and continue to increase market momentum. The Broadband Forum is an excellent, established organization which can be leveraged in reaching out to the international broadband access market. Its reach is far greater than if the NG-PON2 Forum remained an independent organization. The BBF as an organization works to take technical barriers down for new technologies as well as educate the market with its various technical marketing efforts such as Workshops, webinars, and whitepapers.

Teresa: The NG-PON2 Forum is hosting another workshop on March 23 at OFC 2017, can you provide some of your goals for this workshop?

Bernd: After a very successful workshop at the FTTH Conference 2017 in Marseilles this past February, this is the second NG-PON2 Forum workshop and the first in North America. Since the OFC is an exhibition and conference focusing on the component market, the workshop will focus on an overview and status for key NG-PON2 components. In addition, we will provide the latest market views from analysts like Ovum. The workshop segment ecosystem will address systems and applications in the NG-PON2 market. The closing section of the workshop will address operator views on PON evolutions, how to migrate from existing PON deployments to NG-PON2, and the effort to ensure interoperability between different vendors. Finally, we will get an operator view on NG-PON2 for next generation mobile applications, including mobile fronthaul.

Teresa: With the exciting capabilities of this technology and the expectation from research firms (e.g. IHS Broadband Aggregation Equipment Q4 2016 report) for NG-PON2 to take over for GPON, what does the industry need to do to ensure its success sooner than later?

Bernd: There are several important steps we need to take:

First, we need to educate the market.

  • This can be achieved through events like the NG-PON2 Forum workshop next week at the OFC show. It’s important that the market understands the advantages of this new technology. I call it the PON+ architecture, which increases not only bandwidth, but more importantly, provides greater flexibility to manage the access network and at the same time reduce OPEX.
  • Perhaps more important than increased bandwidth, NG-PON2 also helps collapse residential, mobile and business networks and provides any service to any subscriber on a converged access network. 

Second, we need greater advocacy for the adoption of the technology.

  • We have seen early adopters like Verizon planning mass deployments. It’s important for other carriers to explore potential insertion points for their networks. Embrace the shift and show commitments for volume deployments. This will expedite the reduction of the cost curve that occurs with all new technologies.

Finally, we need greater ecosystem development.

  • Multi-vendor scenarios (component and system level companies) will be entering this market as seen during previous NG-PON2 workshops. The industry needs to support and celebrate these collaborations.

Next week is a busy week with both BBF’s meeting in Chicago as well as the BBF NG-PON2 Council workshop at OFC 2017. Calix will be speaking and present at both. We hope to see you there and I’ll be back to provide you updates from each event.