An Architecture for Distributed EPON Access (2017)

By Kevin A. Noll, Tibit Communications; Steve Burroughs & Brionna Lopez, Cablelabs

Distributed Access Architectures (DAA), and Centralized Access Architectures (CAA), have been debated in the industry for many years. Over the last two or three years, though, the advantages of DAA have overshadowed centralized architectures. As a result, cable operators are beginning to deploy DAA for DOCSIS.

The technical aspects of DAA for DOCSIS have been well treated in standards and literature. Products implementing RemotePHY and RemoteMAC/PHY are available in the market today. Some suppliers have included in their designs an SDN-based system that virtualizes portions of the overall DAA-for DOCSIS solution.

Similarly, the benefits and challenges of FTTx and EPON have been well treated in the literature. The result has been a move by many operators to strategically deploy FTTx and most have chosen to use EPON in those deployments. However, relative to DAA for DOCSIS, little attention has been given to deploying FTTx in a distributed architecture.

This paper will describe a disaggregated architecture for EPON in an MSO network using concepts from the widely discussed distributed access architecture. The architecture will include separation of the management plane and data plane components and describe how they interact. We will discuss required functionality and how SDN and NFV, and breakthroughs in EPON technologies are key enablers of a distributed EPON network.

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