IEEE Extends EPON into New Markets

By Howard Frazier

Standards for Ethernet Passive Optical Networks (EPON) reached an importantmilestone last week when the IEEE approved a new standard for Service Interoperability in EPON (SIEPON). The IEEE 1904.1 SEIPON standard includes mechanisms for quality of service and bandwidth assignment, multicast, VLAN and tunneling modes, software download, and authentication. It also provides support for power saving modes and optical fiber protection mechanisms.

 This is significant because until now, network operators have had to define their own specifications for these mechanisms, which has resulted in the creation of numerous, potentially incompatible solutions. The three year effort of the IEEE 1904.1 SIEPON Working Group documented the best of these solutions, based on field experience with EPON deployments around the world.

 1Gb/s EPON is a highly successful Ethernet-based subscriber access network technology, with over 100 million subscriber attachments worldwide.  It’s successor, 10Gb/s EPON, provides the highest symmetric bandwidth among all available FTTx solutions and is slated to enter commercial deployments in the second half of this year. The IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group is currently in the process of developing a standard for EPoC, which supports operation of the EPON protocol over coaxial cable distribution networks.