The demand for business services – such as cloud, IoT, and OTT – is growing exponentially, leading to increased requirements for high-speed services for MSOs. But, how can MSOs keep up with new market trends by offering symmetrical Gigabits Services without affecting their revenue potential or delaying their time-to-market?
Passive optical networking (PON) could be the best technology to provide these services. And so many MSOs continue to expand fiber access technologies. However, activation and maintenance costs are sky-high and dramatically decrease these services’ revenue margins.
On the other hand, MSOs are not able to offer Gbps services using their DOCSIS network (<= DOCSIS 3.0). DOCSIS 3.1 still requires investing in new high-cost equipment (I believe it will be deployed on a large scale and it will be more accessible in a couple of years, just like what happened with previous DOCSIS versions) and MSOs do not know if it will remain competitive in the long term.
Although this approach doesn’t present all the benefits of using an orchestration engine, we share this strategy for those that are not quite ready to embark on an orchestration project.
The Main Challenges with PON
The order-to-activation time for services based on fiber access technologies continues to be too high in comparison with services based on HFC networks. Apart from the penetration of fiber access technologies (most of them are building out proactively), MSOs are faced with the challenge of provisioning and operations support systems. These systems require training and new OSS systems, which means meeting considerable costs and hiring more technology specialists.
DPoX employs fully DOCSIS-based automated systems used for residential clients, such as service provisioning, activation, and customer billing, to activate FTTH services, which capitalizes on the cost-effective aspects of PON technology and integrates it with well-known systems. This reduces costs since MSOs don’t need new provisioning systems and they provide the same look and feel for FTTH services’ CSR.
Applying DOCSIS systems to FTTH services allows MSOs to accelerate the order-to-activate time, which transforms very quickly into new customers and greater profits.
How PON Works and how to Provision it?
In the most common scenario, once an optical network unit (ONU) is discovered in its location (rack, slot, PON, etc.) within the equipment, then the pre-provisioned ONU is activated. The services, including the ONU’s interfaces and the optical line termination (OLT), are configured and enabled.
The DPoX (DPoE/DPoG) works as a bridge between two technologies: a regular XPON and a DOCSIS provisioning system, which allows high-speed services and FTTH to be offered to clients.
To make it simple, the provisioning of DPoX could be reduced to a regular cable modem provisioning when it is not necessary to pre-provision or to identify the location of the ONU. The ONU’s service definition, including service flows and QoS, is defined in the configuration file. Communication with the DOCSIS-based OSS is performed using the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP).
Step by Step
The MSO has to create a DOCSIS OSS service order and connect ONU to the network. Then, the DPoX’s provisioning cycle starts:
- vCM creation into the OLT
- vCM sends an IP request to the DHCP Server (the response includes IP TFTP Server and Config File Name)
- vCM sends a config file request to the TFTP Server (config file created dynamically or previously uploaded)
- vCM uses OAM messaging to configure PON board HW and the ONU
DPOE and DPoG Specifications
DPoE1.0 defines the creation of a virtual cable modem (vCM) structure using a software that builds an instance of a cable modem inside the EPON device (vCM) so they can be provisioned using the OSS DOCSIS-based as if it were connected through a CMTS. Other definitions within DPoE1.0 include service provisioning of IP High-Speed Data (IPHSD), Metro Ethernet Forum service (MEF), and others.
DPoE2.0 includes support for Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and Gateway Protocol Audio Discovery (BGP AD).
DPoG1.0 is a mirror of DPoE specifications (with a few differences; for example, Logical Links instead Gem Ports), but it only supports high-speed data services (IPHSD).
Offering Gbps services in a quick and effective way is a challenge and the key factor to capturing more market share is to have a time-to-market strategy and lower costs. With a DPoX solution, MSOs can offer FTTH high-speed services using existing OSS/BSS systems, which guarantees a cost-effective solution for accelerating fiber turn-up and capitalizing market demands.