Hitachi, ARRIS target high-occupancy buildings with single-family ONTs

SEPTEMBER 10, 2007 By Meghan Fuller — Hitachi Telecom and ARRIS reportedly developed a method to leverage a passive optical network to deliver high-speed data services to a large number of users within a building without deploying multiple, expensive ONTs or even MDU-specific ONTs.

By Meghan Fuller

SEPTEMBER 10, 2007 — At the Broadband Properties Summit held this week in Dallas, TX, Hitachi Telecom (search for Hitachi Telecom) and ARRIS announced that Hitachi's AMN 1220 GPON system will be marketed with ARRIS' CXM high-speed Internet access (HSIA) equipment to provide high-speed data services to high-occupancy hotels and residential facilities.

When Hitachi Telecom's customers conduct studies to determine the feasibility of deploying some kind of FTTx architecture, those studies typically bypass any non-permanent or time-shared subscriber, such as those found in hotels and other high-occupancy multi-dwelling-unit (search for MDU) facilities and even small business parks where dial-up service is used for credit card approval. The cost per subscriber is simply too high and too risky for the operator, explains Rick Schiavinato, vice president of sales and marketing at Hitachi Telecom. Operators cannot recoup their investment if they have to deploy a separate optical network terminal (search for ONT) to each subscriber when that subscriber may not require service on an ongoing basis.

Schiavinato cites the city of Bandon, OR — a Hitachi Telecom GPON customer — as an example. "The city quadruples in size every summer because it's a golf community, a resort area," he reports. "But the time-share portion is not even being touched by the operator at this point."

And yet, he says, the fiber plant does not discriminate; it passes even those buildings that feasibility studies suggest operators should avoid. For their part, Hitachi Telecom and ARRIS say they have found a way to leverage the existing GPON network to deliver high-speed data services over existing coaxial cable to a large number of users within a building — without deploying multiple, expensive ONTs. Schiavinato says even Hitachi Telecom's own MDU ONT would be cost-prohibitive in this application.

Instead, operators now can deploy Hitachi Telecom's AMN 1220 GPON ONT — a single-family device — in conjunction with ARRIS' CXM system to serve more than 200 subscribers.

You are taking a single-family product and multiplying that connection into an MDU-type application," says Schiavinato. "You are capitalizing on a lower-cost, single-family ONT and using the ARRIS solution to resemble your MDU box."

The ARRIS system comprises two main elements: The CXM Broadband Gateway or CXM BG30x, which serves as a combination bridge, router, gateway, and switch with the ability to provide up to 256 individual subscribers with bundled Internet services; and the end-user access appliance, the CXM SD30x modem that is connected to the subscriber's computer.

The ARRIS CXM BG30x connects to the Hitachi AMN 1220 GPON ONT via a 10/100/1000 BASE-T Ethernet link. In this application, the ARRIS box becomes the distribution point inside the building, mainly for high-speed data, though it has an RF output port for video and will support any IP-based application, including VoIP.

The CXM BG30x takes both the Ethernet feed from the ONT and the RF video feed and transports them over the building's existing coaxial cable. Because the CXM system operates above 900 MHz, it does not interfere with other traffic carried over the coax cable, say company representatives. The CXM SD30x cable modem-like device then separates the signals and sends the RF video traffic to the TV set and the IP traffic to the computer.

"The beauty of it all is the time to deploy," contends Schiavinato. "The time and money required is much lower because you don't have to rewire the building. You basically take the coax, plug it in, and you have service. It's that easy."

For his part, Schiavinato hopes to parlay what success the companies may have in North America — they've already inked at least two customers — into the Latin American market. He cites Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina, in particular, as "the next step for PON vendors in North America." These markets have good vertical density, he says, making the Hitachi Telecom/ARRIS offering a perfect fit. "And the fact that ARRIS is already selling [the CXM] in Latin America certainly helps," he adds.

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