COCONUT project to develop coherent ultra-dense WDM-PON

Optronics Technologies SA says it has kick started the research project “COCONUT,” which is funded by the European Union within the 7th Framework Programme for research and technological development.

Optronics Technologies SA says it has kick started the research project “COCONUT,” a WDM-PON development effort funded by the European Union within the 7th Framework Programme for research and technological development.

Optronics is the project’s dissemination leader. COCONUT was inaugurated on November 1, 2012, has a duration of 36 months, and the level of funding provided by the EC is approximately €2.7 million.

“COCONUT” is a delightfully approximate acronym for “COst-effective COhereNt Ultra-dense-WDM-PON for lambda-To-the-user access networks.” The aim of the project is to define, study, and realize a fully scalable optical broadband access network that significantly extends the network dimensions in terms of bandwidth use, reach, and number of accommodated users. The envisioned access network technology evolves from the almost-commercial WDM-PON architecture to the realization of the ultra-dense WDM approaches, opening the way to the “wavelength-to-the-user” concept.

The key enabling technology will be a new cost-effective coherent detection scheme. This will apply well-known concepts to implement inexpensive, yet effective, coherent terminals suitable for mass deployment. Although conceptually complex, these terminals must be compatible with the cost levels typical of low-cost consumer electronics. The resulting technology must be compatible with existing passive optical network (PON) infrastructures.

By tackling the issues of extended PONs (extended in number of users, bandwidth and reach) and of cost and energy-consumption in the processing electronics of the optical networking unit (ONU), COCONUT plans to develop the enabling technology for an ultra-dense WDM-PON that retains a high total capacity and long reach, but provides transmission at a line rate equal to the user bandwidth at each wavelength.

The COCONUT project consortium consists of academic and industrial partners active in the field of fiber access networks, including one major network operator (British Telecom), one system supplier (Ericsson AB), one commercial provider of advanced photonic devices (III-V Lab) and two SMEs (Promax Electronica SA and Optronics).

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSA) in Italy will act as the project coordinator. The other academic partners include the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Spain, and Athens Information Technology centre (AIT) in Greece.

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