NTT and the Broadband Forum have teamed up to standardize the virtualization of operators' PON networks to support time-critical applications including 5G fronthaul.
NTT's Access Network Service Systems Laboratories -- which conducts research and development into areas such as enhancing fiber-to-the-home (FTTH); optical media networks; infrastructure technologies and wireless access -- is part of the combined team researching how operators can use software-defined networking, network functions virtualization and software to upgrade PON networks to accelerate new-service delivery according to a statement from NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT) and Broadband Forum .
This includes fronthaul for 5G services, a topic of major concern to many service providers as they look to converge fixed and mobile networks.
"As users' usage changes, both in regard to the different services required and the amount of data coursing through fiber networks, operators need to update their PON networks, including by adding TCAs," said Akihiro Otaka, executive manager at NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories. "This used to require the remake of PON equipment for each service, but should be done via a software upgrade in the near future to improve cost-effectiveness."
With operator demand growing, the industry needs standards to ensure vendor-agnostic systems are in place and mass deployment can ensue, he said.
Dubbed "PON Abstraction Interface for TCAs," the project examines how SDN and NFV can apply to optical line terminals (OLTs) to disaggregate PON functions to functional modules with open interfaces. In the first phase, participants will define interfaces' disaggregation policy and functional requirements to disaggregate those PON functions that need time-critical processing. The second stage will drill into defining the detailed specs of the interfaces as APIs.
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