11 February 2003 -- Atlanta-based FlexLight Networks, which is delivering the industry's first Gigabit passive optical networking (GPON) solution for the last mile, has announced general availability of its Optimate product suite - the industry's first GPON product that is fully compliant with the ITU's GPON standards, announced on 31 January. Optimate is shipping and is involved in major trials with customers in Europe and Asia.
"The FlexLight Networks technological approach has been built on GPON, based on our experience with service providers and network operators worldwide," says Gary Lee, CEO of FlexLight and chairman of the PON Forum. "The ITU has confirmed GPON in a standard, and this has not only validated FlexLight's beliefs but has put us first-to-market."
The two new GPON standards are known as ITU-T Recommendations G.984.1 and G.984.2. G.984.1 is the standard for the general characteristics of GPON systems, such as architecture, bit rates, reach and security, while G.984.2 specifies speeds of up to 2.5Gbit/s - at least twice the speed of previous standards.
"Next-generation PON is critical for hitting the new price points and functionality required by service providers," says Daniel Briere, CEO of analyst firm TeleChoice Inc. "The GPON technology will enable carriers to provide a range of high-bandwidth applications, such as video services, high-speed Internet access, and multimedia applications."
"FlexLight's Optimate Solution is unique in its ability to deliver unprecedented capacity on a PON network for both legacy TDM-based services and emerging Gigabit Ethernet services simultaneously," says FlexLight's CTO Oren Marmur. "Its compliance with the ITU's new GPON standards is a direct result of the planning we have been engaged in for the past four years."
Optimate addresses the service providers' needs for economic and reliable voice and data access over a single fibre access facility. It offers high-speed data over PON as well as the DS-1 Quality of Service voice customers expect from TDM services and private line tariffs.
FlexLight says that Optimate accepts and carries Fast Ethernet (10/100Mbit/s) and T1/E1 circuits from each customer location over FlexLight's PON access network in their native format, without the additional overhead and complexity associated with other access technologies. Also, Optimate supports VLAN switching and other emerging Ethernet services critical to new data revenue streams.
Optimate provisions T1/E1 and Fast Ethernet services to each tenant in a building, and grooms these services back to the central office for hand-off on an OC-3/STM-1 or Gigabit Ethernet facility to the metro equipment. Protocol conversions or replacement of installed equipment are completely avoided.
The solution serves a large-scale area, through the use of enhanced optics and passive optical components. This allows maximum network cost savings without requiring dedicated fibres to be laid for each customer premise.
Optimate also supports full redundancy on the PON network, allowing immediate SONET-like recovery of the broadband access network from fibre cuts or other outages in the fibre plant.
"The company has taken the best of the Ethernet access world, a deep understanding of SONET-based traffic and networks, and the economics provided by a PON infrastructure to produce a unique solution," says Lee. "The successful results we have seen from the initial lab tests in service provider trials, combined with the on-going trials in new accounts, clearly shows that GPON is technically and economically viable today."