TWDM-PON Is Transforming Networks by Making Them More Flexible

By Rory Lidstone April 18, 2016

If you’re not very familiar with the inner workings of modern networks, then you may not be very familiar with TWDM-PON, short for Time and Wavelength Division Multiplexed Passive Optical Network. Put simply, TWDM-PON makes it possible for various customers and services to co-exist on the same networks, separated into different wavelengths. By leveraging TWDM-PON’s unique capabilities, service providers are able to more quickly monetize their network investments more easily, while accelerating fiber deployments.

The benefits of TWDM-PON are undeniable and as such, it’s not too surprising that major networking hardware companies like Nokia have thrown their full weight behind the technology. Indeed, a recent TechZine article from Ana Pesovic, Senior Marketing Manager for Fixed Networks at Nokia, outlines the complete range of benefits that go hand-in-hand with TWDM-PON unbundling for infrastructure sharing.

While TWDM-PON’s benefits apply to all wireless networks to some degree, fixed networks can achieve the greatest benefit, according to Nokia. Separating traffic by wavelength allows fixed network operators to unbundle the entire network, freeing up parts of it to be used by other service providers wholesale.

Because TWDM-PON unbundling isn’t an all-or-none operation, it can be introduced to a network incrementally, as needed by wavelength. In addition, TWDM-PON is compatible with GPON technology, as well as fixed wavelength TWDM-PON, as each uses different wavelengths.

“This makes it possible to launch unbundling using fixed wavelength TWDM-PON, which has a lower initial investment cost, and upgrade to full TWDM-PON with tunable optics in the future,” writes Pesovic. “Fixed and tunable TWDM-PON both use the same hardware so no major changes are required in the network. There is no impact on the existing users; only the optics in the access node need to be changed.”

In total, TWDM-PON pairs support four wavelengths each with one upstream wavelength and one downstream wavelength per pair. Each pair can be configured at 10/10 Gbps, 10/2.5 Gbps or 2.5/2.5 Gbps. Separate pairs can be used for different services—including residential, business and backhaul applications—or allocated to different service providers. Service providers that buy TWDM-PON on a wholesale basis are able to independently configure their wavelengths.

In other words, TWDM-PON promises facilities-based communications service providers with the ability to generate new revenue streams through its ability to offer wholesale services. Governments and regulators, meanwhile, should enjoy the fact that the technology creates the potential for infrastructure sharing which allows for more competition and choice for end users.




Edited by Peter Bernstein

Contributing Writer

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