Alcatel-Lucent unveils DPoE platform, signs Bright House Networks

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) has announced a DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON (DPoE) option for its 7360 ISAM FX platform. It also has announced a customer for it: Bright House Networks, one of the original sponsors of the CableLabs DPoE specifications.

Oct 16th, 2013

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) has announced a DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON (DPoE) option for its 7360 ISAM FX platform. It also has announced a customer for it: Bright House Networks, one of the original sponsors of the CableLabs DPoE specifications.

As the name implies, DPoE is a version of EPON that is compatible with the DOCSIS operating system commonly used by cable MSOs in the Americas (see “CableLabs preps EPON for MSO business services support”). While DPoE systems could support fiber to the home (FTTH) services, operators appear to have more interest in using the technology to support the delivery of services to small and medium-sized businesses. Along these lines, while the new offering is designed to support 10G EPON, Alcatel-Lucent’s Stefaan Vanhastel told Lightwave that he expects most operators initially will use DPoE to offer data rates between 10 and 100 Mbps, for which current CWDM systems are not as cost-effective.

The line cards are compatible with Version 1.0 of the CableLabs DPoE specifications, although they haven’t yet received CableLabs certification. Van Haastel said Alcatel-Lucent expects the new line cards to be part of the next certification cycle, which begins in January 2014. The lack hasn’t stopped two North American operators from selecting the DPoE offering for their networks, Van Haastel said, with Bright House Networks the first one to publicly raise their hands.

“Bright House Networks has been an early champion of PON technologies in general, and EPON specifically, as our default last-mile fiber connectivity solution supporting all of our MetroE and cell backhaul services. Compared with competing alternatives, EPON has clear advantages in capital efficiency, vendor interoperability, bandwidth scalability, and standardized provisioning,” said Craig Cowden, senior vice president, network engineering/operations and enterprise solutions, at Bright House Networks via an Alcatel-Lucent press release. “Bright House Networks is excited to partner with ALU as we continue our EPON technology journey, migrating to 10G systems with full DPoE provisioning functionality.

In addition to the DPoE line cards, Alcatel-Lucent also is offering cable MSOs EPON Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP) optical network units (ONUs) as well as a 10G EPON ONU. The DPoE announcement won kudos from a pair of industry analysts.

“By offering an EPON solution designed to integrate with MSO’s existing networks, Alcatel-Lucent is allowing them to address an important market opportunity,” said Jeff Heynen, principal analyst, broadband access and pay TV at Infonetics Research via the same press release. “Except for the small and medium-sized business customer, the business communications segment represents a largely untapped market for cable operators and Alcatel-Lucent’s fixed fiber broadband expertise can help MSOs deliver real value to more demanding business users.”

Added Erik M. Keith, principal analyst, fixed access and digital media infrastructure, at Current Analysis, “Expanding its fiber access portfolio is a logical move for Alcatel-Lucent given the emphasis placed on the cable market in the company’s Shift Plan. The wealth of experience Alcatel-Lucent brings from its leading position in the fixed access market, combined with its strong presence in North America, will make this new EPON solution an attractive proposition for MSOs.”

For more information on FTTx systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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