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WDM-PON chatter

August 13, 2008

Posted by Stephen Hardy

LG Nortel's recent acquisition of Novera Optics has WDM-PON back in the news -- and a continuing subject of debate. The latest to weigh in is Lynn Hutcheson, VP and analyst at Ovum.

"It most definitely is a good deal for Novera as this acquisition couldn't have come at a better time, with the company approaching an end to its funding and with no significant customer orders in sight. Nortel, on the other hand, abandoned the access market in 2000 as the downturn in the telecommunications market was just beginning. This will be a small step back into the broadband access market," Hutcheson comments. "At the Executive Forum as part of the Optical Fiber Communications Conference, Michael Adams, Nortel's VP of strategy and architecture for Metro Ethernet Solutions, said that WDM-PON was going to play a major role in its broadband access strategy. At best it will provide a few bragging rights for Nortel as it will be the only broadband access player with a WDM-PON product, but that is all as the market for this product is still a few years away."

Despite labeling Nortel as "the only broadband access player with a WDM-PON product," Hutchinson does note that Novera has a strategic marketing agreement with ADC. The latter used NXTcomm to debut the results of that agreement, the PONy Express. Meghan talked to Tom Devittorio, product line manager at ADC, about the platform, and you can see the interview right now:

Of course, we just posted a video on next-gen PON as well that includes a discussion of WDM-PON. You'll note that ADVA Optical Networking is offering CWDM-PON as a way to support business services.

I agree with Hitachi America's Scott Wilkinson (as captured in the NG PON video) that WDM-PON's short-term future for FTTH outside of South Korea will largely depend on how long it takes 10G PON technology to reach the marketplace. However, I could also envision some pull from carriers (MSOs?) who might use it to support business services. In either case, however, I don't see the technology sweeping the marketplace.

What do you think?

Blogger FAC said...
Scott's view is situational, I believe, and especially apropos of residential solutions. WDM-PONs in the enterprise and institutional networks may follow a significantly different path. And of course, service providers themselves will find uses for it in the delivery of their routine services.

The cost-benefit tradeoffs differ once you move from residential to business, since businesses must take into account additional external factors such as power consumption, real estate (space requirements) and cooling.

Prior to WDM-PONs being leveraged to address these external issues, however, I'd agree that several lower-ordered considerations must be addressed first, not the least being the need for acceptable price points for desktop-level optical (0-E) interfacing. Here we go again, though, w.r.t. chicken & egg economics.

That being said, I'll go out on a limb and state that the situation may in fact be changing at the very moment I am typing this, primarily due to the heightened state of exigency and awareness on the part of managers of the need to radically cut back on carbon emissions and the escalating (in some cases, near-debilitating) costs associated with energy consumption.
Monday, August 18, 2008 12:25:00 PM EDT  

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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.