Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor
Bright House Networks loved its 1G Ethernet passive optical network (EPON). But there was just one problem: demand was increasing, and 1G EPON was quickly becoming not enough.
The cable multiple system operator, the sixth largest owner and operator of cable systems in the United States, serves roughly 2.5 million subscribers with its video, high-speed data, home security and automation and voice services.
Bright House Networks is a proponent of EPON because it allows the company to provision multiple customers onto one fiber and still provide dedicated bandwidth without oversubscription. It is their preferred way to accelerate the transformation of their network to an all IP ultra-broadband infrastructure.
“We’re big fans of EPON because it fundamentally lowers the cost of our last mile infrastructure to provide fiber-based services to commercial businesses,” Craig Cowden, senior VP of network engineering, operations and enterprise solutions at Bright House, said in a recent case study. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving. There are benefits from day one.”
But increasing bandwidth needs, especially from cellular providers trying to meet mobile video demand, were starting to require ultra-broadband for cable that reached speeds beyond 300 Mb per tower. This required 10G EPON.
Bright House selected Alcatel-Lucent for the upgrade, and this has led the company to use the Alcatel-Lucent 7360 Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) FX product family card and optical network unit (ONU). The solution can simultaneously support multiple fiber technologies including 1G EPON, GPON, CWDMP2P and 10G-EPON, and the 7360 ISAM FX also has DOCSIS provisioning of EPON (DPoE) integrated into the platform.
By having DPoE integrated, Bright House will be more easily able to provision and support fiber-based services on a greater scale. It also will reduce operational expenses by allowing them to activate and manage EPON-based network services while using DOCSIS-based back office systems.
“Alcatel-Lucent really helped us to be near the leading edge with that solution, and the 10G EPON solution we’re currently deploying from Alcatel-Lucent will help match our enterprise customer and cellular backhaul capacity requirements for the foreseeable future,” noted Cowden.
The 10G EPON service will initially be used to provide commercial business services for enterprise customers. But it also will be used for purely symmetrical services that are generally not technically feasible with many other access technologies, use both 1G and multi-G services on the same EPON link, leverage higher individual speed services, and deliver guaranteed high-bandwidth throughput for mission-critical end-user applications.
Bright House knows it must always stay ahead of demand, however, so plans are already being considered for 100G deployment.
“We have traditionally been an early investor in next gen network technologies that enable capabilities that set us above the competition,” said Cowden. “10G EPON with DPoE continues that legacy, and we look forward to continuing that technology journey to solve our customers’ needs.”