Broadband Forum, NTT disaggregate time-critical PON functions

Image credit: Vladimir Arndt /

The Broadband Forum and NTT have demonstrated the disaggregation of time-critical PON functions, which they say brings operators a step closer to quickly and cost-effectively delivering new 5G services.

Launched with NTT last year, the PON Abstraction Interface for Time Critical Applications (TCAs) project [PDF] looks at how SDN and NFV can be applied to optical line terminals (OLTs) to eliminate the need for operators to rebuild an OLT from the preliminary stage of development – for example, a remake of the PON chip, which requires a large amount of investment. This could also accelerate time-to-market for new offerings, including support for 5G fronthaul interfaces and services for business users.

On the last day of the Broadband Forum’s Q2 meeting in Osaka last week, NTT demonstrated two scenarios – mobile and FTTH – where a future OLT could be optimized with dynamic bandwidth allocation (DBA) software to significantly reduce latency to meet the stringent latency requirements of 5G fronthaul interfaces. This enables dense small cells to be accommodated cost-effectively by TDM-PON. A second DBA software could also be applied to OLTs in FTTH services that require high bandwidth efficiency.

Broadband Forum TCA PON
Image credit: Broadband Forum

“The demonstration we have carried out at the Broadband Forum meeting is a significant step for the project as it shows how operators can cost-effectively upgrade OLTs via a software upgrade,” said Akihiro Otaka, executive manager for NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories at NTT. “Standardization in this area is essential as it will achieve a vendor-agnostic system and ensure mass deployment which is key to realizing agile and flexible next-generation broadband networks and the delivery of 5G.”

Following the successful demo, the Broadband Forum and NTT will now look at whether a cooperative interface (which controls the TCAs shown in the demonstration,)can be established between the central unit in mobile networks and an OLT. This will involve coordination with standards defining organizations such as 3GPP, CPRI and IEEE.

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