Events that allow designers and vendors to test new products and technologies are hugely important to ensure the broadband industry continues to progress.
Plugfests focus on the conformance of products in relation to a specific standard and can include requirements for interoperability, performance and functionality. They are incredibly important in helping the industry develop an open ecosystem with reduced testing complexity, assisting operators with migration to next-generation access.
Late last year, the Broadband Forum co-organized the industry's first XGS-PON Plugfest, which brought together leading operators and vendors at LAN's Digital Applications Laboratory in Tauxigny, France. XGS-PON is based on the ITU-T's latest recommendation (ITU-T G.9807.1), which provides a symmetrical 10Gbit/s capability over a legacy fiber infrastructure that can co-exist with G-PON.
Creating a mass market
So why is the XGS-PON Plugfest so important? As PON technology develops and migration becomes an increasingly important question, interoperability is essential. At the simplest level, plugfests help ensure different vendor technology is compatible, which increases the confidence of operators before deployment.
When operators have more choice, it leads to increased cost effectiveness; of course, for any business, that is essential. By having technology that works interchangeably there is significantly more potential to do this. For vendors, it all comes down to generating revenue. The next-generation broadband market is going to continue to expand in the coming years and generally an open market means a larger addressable market for everyone.
Operators and vendors also critically use these events to help bring these technologies to maturity, with plugfests creating awareness of how much more work needs to be done before the technology is ready to be deployed, both in terms of standards and individual products.
The bigger picture
Naturally, standalone plugfests are not enough to provide a migration path to next-generation access. They do, however, underpin the wider activity carried out by standards developing organizations (SDOs) such as the Broadband Forum.
For us, the first XGS-PON Plugfest extended our work in the field of PON interoperability, building on our ONU Certification program and OLT interoperability testing program as an answer to the industry's increasing need to secure both maturity of the ITU-T recommendations and provide a migration path to operators looking for next-generation PONs.
The success of the plugfest -- in particular the number of engineers in attendance from an impressive breadth of companies -- highlights that collaboration and standardization is incredibly important for the broadband industry. Working with LAN and Full Service Access Networks (FSAN) on events such as the plugfest is absolutely crucial as we continue to look at the next generation of fiber access and build upon the success of our G-PON and XG-PON ONU BBF.247 Certification program.
— Robin Mersh, CEO, Broadband Forum