Bit-Interleaved PON offers dramatic FTTH power savings, says GreenTouch

GreenTouch, a global consortium focused on energy reduction in information and communications technology (ICT) networks, has unveiled a new PON technology it says will reduce the power consumption of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks by as much as 30X.

GreenTouch, a global consortium focused on energy reduction in information and communications technology (ICT) networks, has unveiled a new PON technology it says will reduce the power consumption of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks by as much as 30X. Bit-Interleaved Passive Optical Network (Bi-PON) technology, created by Greentouch member Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs with the assistance of IMEC Ghent University in Belgium, reduces power consumption in the optical network units (ONUs) at the customer premises by making it easier for the ONUs to sift through incoming data to identify and process transmissions intended for it.

As described in an article in Alcatel-Lucent’s TechZine online publication, Bi-PON uses the same architecture as standard PONs, in which a single optical line terminal (OLT) sends traffic via splitters to multiple ONUs. However, unlike conventional PONs, which require a significant amount of high-speed and parallel processing to sift through the incoming transmission for the data of interest, the Bi-PON protocol enables the ONU processor to quickly find the data intended for delivery. Use of Bi-PON therefore reduces clock speed, data processing, voltage, and memory requirements, and obviates the need for a standard deserializer.

The resulting power savings can be significant, Bell Labs and GreenTouch assert. For example, ONU power requirements can be reduced from the 2 W or more that XG-PON ONUs will demand to less than 200 mW, the Bell Labs article predicts.

GreenTouch has released details of a demonstration of such savings. IMEC, French research organization INRIA, and Orange Labs partnered with Bell Labs in the demonstration, which compared the operation of XG-PON and Bi-PON. A video of the demonstration can be found on GreenTouch’s YouTube page.

While such power savings should prove appealing to both carriers and regulatory authorities, the technology currently is a long way from commercial deployment. For example, most carriers probably won’t deploy the technology until it runs the standards gauntlet. That process could take three to five years, according to Teresa Mastrangelo of market analysis and consulting firm Broadbandtrends LLC. That might push commercial availability of the technology out to the end of the decade, she estimates.

GreenTouch will demonstrate Bi-PON, as well as its Large-Scale Antenna System technology, at TIA 2012: Inside the Network June 5-7 in Dallas in the Green ICT Pavilion.

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