PMC-Sierra offers 10G EPON design reference

MARCH 31, 2008 By Stephen Hardy -- The 10G EPON standard hasn't been ratified yet. But, as usual, that won't stop people from getting a jump on designing equipment.

MARCH 31, 2008 By Stephen Hardy -- The 10G EPON standard hasn't been ratified yet. But, as usual, that won't stop people from getting a jump on designing equipment. With that thought in mind, PMC-Sierra (search for PMC-Sierra) has announced a pair of 10G EPON reference designs, one for central office optical line terminals (OLTs) and the other for premises optical network units (ONUs).

PMC-Sierra has based the reference designs on its PAS8001 OLT and the PAS9001 ONT chips. However, the chip functions will reside on a pair of FPGAs in each instance. Gilad Aloni, product marketing manager at PMC-Sierra, says the current two-chip configuration is a result of headroom requirements and current FPGA limitations, rather than a harbinger of what PMC-Sierra plans to provide as finished product.

The chips support asymmetric (10 Gbits/sec downstream, 1 Gbit/sec upstream) transmission along the lines of the specifications expected to be contained in the 10G EPON standard. Draft 1.1 of the standard is currently circulating, and Aloni says he expects formal ratification of the standard sometime next year.

The chips also support the XFI interface used with XFP optical transceivers. Aloni says he expects that this interface capability will match expected design trends.

The devices offer auto-detect, standard encryption, backwards-compatible dynamic bandwidth allocation. The reference designs also include optical transceivers from "a leading transceiver vendor partner."

Aloni declined to offer a date by which PMC-Sierra will deliver finished devices. However, he noted that he expected 10G EPON trials will begin this year, with mass deployment following in 2010. He said that he expects PMC-Sierra to be ready to support this timeline and to be first to market.

PMC-Sierra's current competitors, including Teknovus (search for Teknovus), Cortina Systems (search for Cortina Systems), and Centillium Communications (search for Centillium), likely will offer alternative devices for 10G EPON as well.

Both reference designs are currently available.

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