ASSIA, Inc. has extended its DSL Expresse network management and optimization platform capabilities into the optical realm. The new Optical Network Expresse (ON-Expresse) platform promises a range of network optimization, customer service assistance, service planning, and troubleshooting capabilities for PON-based broadband access networks, including fiber-to-the-basement (FTTB), fiber-to-the-distribution-point (FTTdp), and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) architectures.
Much as the DSL Expresse on copper-based infrastructures, the ON-Expresse gathers data from the PON hardware, analyzes it, and provides network intelligence to the network operator. ASSIA sees the product suite – which available as software products or in service form – as particularly useful in four applications:
- Service activation, including verification of service initiation and ensuring the new service doesn’t disrupt existing ones
- Capacity management, to identify potential bandwidth bottlenecks as they become prominent
- Unified customer care recommendations and technician guidance, to enable customer service representatives to more efficiently and proactively deal with customer issues, as well as to help technicians identify and correct problems in the field
- Proactive monitoring, which covers both network health as well as service use patterns.
The ON-Expresse platform will work with equipment from a variety of vendors. The initial iteration of the suite targets GPON infrastructures. The timing of support for other FTTH options, such as EPON and Active Ethernet, will depend largely on customer demand, according to ASSIA’s George Ginis, senior vice president of service provider marketing.
Speaking of customers, ASSIA has one for ON-Expresse, Ginis revealed. The customer, whom Ginis declined to identify, currently uses DSL Expresse; the fact that the operator sought an Expresse variant for GPON highlights the growing number of carriers who are deploying both DSL and PON technologies in their networks, he said.
Ginis acknowledged the potential attractiveness of combining the DSL and ON versions of Expresse to enable unified, end-to-end oversight and facilitation of hybrid fiber/copper infrastructures such as fiber to the node/cabinet and FTTdp. The company plans to make such a capability available as an option sometime in the future.
ON-Expresse should become generally available in early 2015 as part of Expresse Release 4.1. The offering has already won kudos from at least one analyst.
"As 1-Gbps speeds become the target for most municipal broadband projects, service providers need advanced management systems that help build and operate both fiber and hybrid networks," said Teresa Mastrangelo, principal analyst at research firm Broadband Trends, via an ASSIA press release. "ASSIA is uniquely positioned to offer a unified solution that not only crosses over technologies, but bridges the silos of heterogeneous environments. Its flagship solution is currently delivering large operational gains to service providers with xDSL deployments, and the ON-Expresse solution, available as a service, will extend those gains to networks with PON systems. As a result, this powerful solution helps meet operators’ goals for enabling Network Function Virtualization for their access networks, providing the service assurance and bandwidth required for the next generation of killer apps."
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