Common Provisioning and Management of PON: A New Working Group Launches

Common Provisioning and Management of PON

Jon Schnoor
Principal Architect, Wired Technologies

Mar 21, 2024

Key Points

  • In keeping with CableLabs’ focus on optical fiber solutions, we have announced two new working groups to support the cable industry’s deployment of optical technologies.
  • The near-term focus for this effort will be for ITU PON and 25GS-PON, however the work will be applicable to other next-gen PON flavors.
  • Vendor neutrality through device interoperability is a key objective of the activity.

Consistent with the strategy outlined in a recent blog, CableLabs has recently launched two new working groups related to fiber to the premises (FTTP). Information on one of the working groups — Optical Operations and Maintenance — can be found here. The subject is this blog is the provisioning and management of passive optical networking (PON) in cable access networks.

As the cable industry has begun to deploy multiple gigabit service, there’s a growing current of enthusiasm and interest for the efficient deployment, management and maintenance of those access networks. Furthermore, the speed at which technology is moving is impressive and expensive. It can be difficult for cable operators to keep pace with these advancements, which require a matrix of expertise and decision-making.

PON is one of the technologies that keeps marching forward. CableLabs has been developing PON-based specifications for over a decade, and we’re continuing in that vein to help operators lower barriers for deploying and operating fiber networks.

Common Provisioning and Management of PON

Common Provisioning and Management of PON is another working group that CableLabs recently launched. This group will focus on provisioning and management solutions for PON technologies. With the support of operators and vendor partners, CableLabs previously developed specifications to support DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON (DPoE). The new working group will be laser-focused on 10G Symmetrical PON (XGS-PON), with applicability to 25GS-PON and higher-speed next-generation ITU PON technologies.

To develop a common provisioning framework, this group will be tackling several assignments that will support the provisioning and adjacent solutions needed for various deployment requirements. All this work will be folded into the target objectives. These will include (but are not limited to) complete provisioning of XGS-PON, common service and device configurations, and vendor neutrality.

What the Work Entails

So, how will we accomplish these objectives? Through various operator presentations and vendor proposals, we’ve determined that our near-term work plans will include the following:

  • Identifying operator use cases.
  • Analyzing existing cable modem configuration files to support a DOCSIS translation layer.
  • Building an ONU Management Control Interface (OMCI) cable profile to support the use cases.

Operator use cases. Operator use cases will include residential and commercial service offerings — for example, identifying triple-play services (e.g., HSD, voice, video), backhaul and other necessary services. This identification will be the easy part, considering the fact that we must include many of the service offerings that operators deploy today.

DOCSIS translation layer. You’re probably asking yourself, “Why is DOCSIS in this list of activities?” Some cable operators would like to leverage their existing DOCSIS back office to support the provisioning of non-DOCSIS technologies. Think DPoE, which CableLabs released in 2011. For those operators that want to leverage their DOCSIS back-office investment, DOCSIS configuration files will be analyzed to better understand those use cases. The configuration will include Type Length Value (TLV) parameters and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) Management Information Base (MIB) objects to satisfy the use cases. This configuration can then be translated to OMCI Managed Elements (MEs) to configure and manage the ONU.

OMCI cable profile. PON technologies based on the International Telecommunication Union’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) use OMCI to configure and manage an ONU. Although the G.988 standard contains a large set of managed entities (MEs), this working group will determine what’s necessary for cable ONU configuration and management. As such, this effort will build an OMCI “cable profile” that will support a common set of managed elements. These MEs may be grouped together or adjusted to include the appropriate configuration required for the various identified use cases. The OMCI cable profile would be a superset of all MEs across the list of uses cases but a subset of the entire G.988 Recommendation. The OMCI cable profile can be used to support both the DOCSIS and non-DOCSIS back-office infrastructure, and in this respect improve the interoperability of OLTs and ONU in any case.

Interoperable Solutions

In its entirety, this work will create a complete process to provision and manage XGS-PON (and future ITU PON flavors) in a cable access network. It will allow vendors to incorporate interoperable solutions in their product portfolios that operators can then leverage with their service offerings.