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Posted by Meghan Fuller Hanna

I'm leaving in about two hours for the SCTE's Cable Tec Expo, where I hope to find the answers to several questions:

*How serious are the Cable MSOs about FTTH technology?

*Most of the MSOs currently deploying PON technologies are using them to support commercial services. When, if ever, can we expect to see MSO deploying PON for residential services?

*What challenges will they face in migrating to FTTH?

*How is the SCTE's RF-over-glass (RFoG) standard progressing?

*Is DOCSIS 3.0 an interim fix, a stop-gap measure on the way to FTTH, or will it provide enough bandwidth to allow the MSOs to compete with the likes of Verizon's FiOS and AT&T;'s U-verse?

*If the MSOs deploy "telco-grade" PON, do they care about GPON versus EPON? Is WDM-PON on their radar screen?

Last week, I spoke with Jeff Stribling, vice president of marketing and customer service at Salira Systems about the vendor's multi-wavelength PON (MW-PON) and DOCSIS-over-PON (DePON) technologies. (Watch for more on this later.) He told me that Salira sees "a major opportunity, right now, today, in commercial services"--so much so that Salira recently announced its strategic focus on the MSO market.

Stribling says the MSOs' existing HFC infrastructure is, in many cases, insufficient for supporting the kinds of high-bandwidth services that the MSOs must deliver to compete with the likes of FiOS. Traditionally, they have deployed point-to-point CWDM to overcome the bandwidth limitations of HFC, but Salira advocates the use of PON--specifically EPON--as a cost-effective, higher bandwidth alternative that also leverages the ubiquity of Ethernet in their backbone networks.

I suspect other PON vendors will put forth similar arguments; we'll see what the next few days bring.


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The Lightwave editorial staff uses The Lightwave Blog to share their thoughts on optical communications and whatever else might be the current topic of conversation from cubicle to cubicle. Feel free to add your own opinions.

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave, which makes him responsible for the editorial aspects of the Lightwave franchise. A technology journalist since 1982, he once had his job duties described as "gets paid to tick off advertisers ".

Meghan Fuller is senior editor of Lightwave. She has degrees from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, and the University of Delaware and is a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation.