IEEE 802.3bk extends reach and density of EPON

Sept. 19, 2013
The IEEE has announced approval of IEEE 802.3bk, “Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Physical Layer Specifications and Management Parameters for Extended Ethernet Passive Optical Networks.” The new specifications are designed to enable higher-density and longer-reach applications of Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON) infrastructure while improving cost of network ownership.

The IEEE has announced approval of IEEE 802.3bk, “Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Physical Layer Specifications and Management Parameters for Extended Ethernet Passive Optical Networks.” The new specifications are designed to enable higher-density and longer-reach applications of Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON) infrastructure while improving cost of network ownership.

As EPON has grown in popularity, new requirements and areas for improvement have arisen. These include the cost-effective deployment of EPON in rural areas with lower customer densities, increasing subscriber density per port in the central office, sharing available links among larger concentrations of users, and serving users at distances from the nearest network hub that were greater than the original specifications covered. IEEE 802.3bk addresses these issues by amending the base IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard to support optical loss budgets in excess of those previously specified. In addition to expanding the EPON service area and reducing cost per subscriber, IEEE 802.3bk is expected to reduce the footprint and power consumption of central office equipment (per customer), the cost of service upgrades, and fiber deployment, as well as an increase customer density per central office.

“As operators around the world seek to build higher-density and more cost-effective optical access networks that connect more customers, service providers are grappling with a number of scalability challenges associated with delivery of mobile backhaul and guaranteeing connectivity to remote customers,” said Marek Hajduczenia, chair of the IEEE 802.3bk Extended EPON Task Force. “The development of IEEE 802.3bk was an open, market-driven effort to amend the Ethernet standard to allow a given EPON deployment to support more users over longer distances than previously possible.”

“We’re excited about new IEEE 802.3bk-based products that will allow service providers to make better use of their already deployed fiber, increasing the number subscribers that can be served per OLT (optical line termination) port,” said Edwin Mallette, distinguished engineer, network architecture and standards, with Bright House Networks. “This will significantly reduce the overall cost of delivering services over an EPON-based first-mile optical access. We are also looking with interest at future projects within the IEEE 802.3 working group aiming to define a next generation of EPON, primarily from the perspective of compatibility with our fiber-optic distribution network that supports 1G-EPON and 10G-EPON today. We hope that this next-generation EPON, once finished, will provide a cost-effective solution for a higher-speed optical access.”

The IEEE has provided a video of Hajduczenia discussing the new standard amendment at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=166758380181065&set=vb.564344573609705&type=2&theater.

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