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A P P L I C A T I O N

N O T E

Converging Voice, Data and Video in the Enterprise


Using GPON

Abstract
As businesses contemplate how to increase bandwidth, enhance security and provide multiple
services requiring different levels of priorities, they are faced with tough decisions on what to do
with the existing cabling within the building. As speeds increase to a gigabit to the desktop, new
Category 6 copper cables are often recommended for better transmission characteristics. Replacing
the cables with new Category 6 cabling is a labor intensive and costly undertaking. As a network
architect you understand that bandwidth requirements will continue to grow and eventually exceed
a gigabit and drive toward 10 gigabits per second.
The logical alternative is to install a fiber-based distribution network that can handle speeds well
beyond a gigabit. But even as you make that decision you have to choose the best optical technology to serve the many applications now being used by the modern workforce. There are a couple
of alternatives, such as optical Ethernet switches or gigabit passive optical network (GPON) based
technologies. This application note introduces the concept of using GPON-based optical technologies to serve the needs of the modern-day business while providing a view of cost-effective evolution
as speeds continue to increase.

Table of contents
1

Introduction

A little about GPON

GPONs advantages

Robust security

Lower OPEX

Higher bandwidth

What does an FTTD network look like?

About Alcatel-Lucent GPON

Alcatel-Lucent 7342 OLT

Alcatel-Lucent ONTs

Alcatel-Lucent Indoor ONT I-020 model

Alcatel-Lucent Indoor ONT I-040 model

What is unique about Alcatel-Lucent GPON?

Continuing evolution

Summary

Acronyms

Introduction
Todays corporate networks, government facilities and military installations are built using two, and
sometimes three, separate copper architectures. One to carry data typically a Category 5 copper network, a second to carry voice typically a Category 3 copper network, and in some cases a
third where coax delivers video. New technologies such as GPON are fully capable of supporting all
of these services on a single fiber distribution architecture. The copper deployment model creates
an environment that in todays technology is wasteful and inefficient to maintain. GPON allows
an operator to effectively deliver all of these services with the right user experience. Its Quality of
Service (QoS) and high bandwidth capabilities are the mechanisms needed to converge voice, video
and data all onto the same fiber network allowing more efficient maintenance, cabling and overall
performance.
In addition to the installation of more switches and routers to address the continuous rise in
bandwidth, redundant networks and equipment requirements have led to crowded equipment
rooms, complex wiring closets and increased high-volume air conditioning (HVAC) requirements.
Converging all of these services onto a single GPON distribution platform provides the bandwidth
needed while significantly reducing the equipment, cabling and power required.

A little about GPON


Already deployed by many of the worlds largest Tier 1 telecommunications carriers, GPON has
quickly established itself as the worldwide standard for delivering voice, data and video. Among
other benefits, GPON provides an enormous amount of bandwidth 2.5 Gb/s downstream and
1.25 Gb/s upstream over a single strand of glass.
The technology consists of an optical line terminal (OLT) in the data center and a series of optical
networking terminals (ONT) at or near the users desktop. Starting at the OLT, voice and data are
transformed from an electrical format into optical signals. This traffic is then sent over the fiber
network to the appropriate ONT, where it is separated back into electrical voice and data (see
Figure 1). This architecture uses purely passive components such as splitters between the OLT
and ONT, further reducing the chance of equipment failure.
The core underlying technology is still Ethernet, with GPON Encapsulation Mode (GEM) as the
packaging format. GEM packages the IP packets efficiently with minimum overhead as they transit
between the OLT and ONT. Each fiber can be shared by up to 64 ONTs, minimizing the amount
of fiber required. Although multiple users share the passive optical network (PON), robust QoS and
bandwidth mechanisms ensure that the traffic is correctly prioritized and that each user gets the
required bandwidth.
Figure 1. GPON architecture
ONTs

Fiber in data center


1310 nm

OLT

1490 nm
Wavelength
splitter/combiner
Subscribers

Converging Voice, Data and Video in the Enterprise Using GPON | Application Note

GPONs advantages
GPON for fiber to the desktop (FTTD) offers some key advantages over Ethernet and current
voice networks.
Robust security
Fiber is inherently harder to tap into than a copper-based circuit. A fraudulent ONT cannot be
spliced onto a fiber network, because the GPON system identifies each ONT based on pre-defined
serial numbers and operator settings. Critics of fiber highlight the fact that all users receive the same
downstream broadcast, creating the potential for eavesdropping. However, to counter this threat,
PON employs a 128-bit advanced encryption scheme. The scheme incorporates a two-way key
exchange, making it virtually impossible to intercept another users data. As well, any device used
to tap into the fiber must be able to decipher GPON GEM ports and Traffic Containers (T-CONTs),
which is not a typical function in standard Ethernet devices. All of these inherent capabilities make
GPON a very secure environment for transporting sensitive data.
Lower OPEX
Two different distribution networks are used in most corporate environments: one carries voice and
the other carries data and video. In large enterprises this has led to congested wiring closets and
equipment racks with daisy-chained switches. In addition, the mass of copper cables reduces air flow
and necessitates increased cooling system requirements. With GPON, the voice and data network can easily be collapsed into one fiber infrastructure for all services. GPON technology offers
tremendous economies of scale. One GPON chassis can support up to 4608 users on a 1:64 split of
fiber. Typical deployments use a 1:32 split with 2304 users per chassis.
In most deployments, Ethernet switches are stacked in daisy-chains in an equipment closet. This
creates a concentrated point for significant heat dissipation, requiring HVAC within the closet. With
GPON systems a passive non-powered splitter is placed in the closet and removes HVAC concerns.
In addition, overall power requirements for an optical Ethernet solution equivalent to the GPON
solution will be much higher. A typical Catalyst 388 port Ethernet switch with Gigabit Ethernet
(GE) optical ports will have a minimum power supply of 1400 watts1 or 3.6 watts per port. A
typical 12 port optical Ethernet switch is even less efficient at around 4.58 watts2 per port. A typical
GPON OLT system serving 2304 users will have around 0.6 Watts per user between nearly 6 to
7.6 times less power consumption.
Higher bandwidth
In most deployments, Ethernet is limited to 1000 Mb/s shared among many users. In one of the best
case scenarios, 24 users are connected for an average of 41.7 Mb/s per user. More commonly, the
switches are stacked in daisy-chains, significantly reducing true bandwidth per user for applications
such as e-mail, access to graphics/video or databases. In GPON, the full downstream line rate of
2.5 Mb/s across 32 users delivers an average of 78 Mb/s per user a 90 percent increase in available
sustained bandwidth. When needed, an ONT can deliver up to the 1000 Mb/s.
In recent years, fiber has come to the forefront of communications as a secure, economical and
scalable alternative to copper for enterprise and government applications. In particular, GPON has
been widely adopted in North America as the leading fiber networking technology. It has typically
been deployed for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) applications, but it can equally serve large corporate
environments in FTTD applications. For its part, FTTD can collapse the voice, data and video
networks into one and has the potential to deliver virtually unlimited bandwidth while escaping
the security constraints and operating expenditures (OPEX) of copper.

1 Based on Cisco Catalyst WS-C4510R-E Chassis


2 Cisco ME 3400G-12CS DC

Converging Voice, Data and Video in the Enterprise Using GPON | Application Note

What does an FTTD network look like?


In a campus environment, the typical approach is to locate the OLT shelf in the main building
and then run fiber to the individual satellite buildings. In this case, the fibers reach splitters placed
inside the buildings. The fibers in turn fan out at the splitters, reaching individual ONTs or users.
To connect voice, data and video traffic back to the network core, the OLT offers multiple 1 Gb/s
or multiple 10 Gb/s uplinks, providing bandwidth that can scale as your traffic demands rise. For a
campus scenario, GPON is especially effective because it eliminates the need for active power consuming equipment in the closets or basements of many of the buildings (see Figure 2).
A slightly different approach can be used for large buildings. In this environment, the OLT shelf
is located in the basement with the fibers running up the elevator shaft or riser pipe. Splitters are
located on each floor where the fibers fan out to individual users. The OLT uplinks are connected
directly to edge routers in the basement (see Figure 3).
In either scenario, the GPON system can allow each PON to easily support up to 64 ONTs.
Figure 2. GPON in campus deployment

Core
router
Splitter
OLT

Splitter

IP PBX or
Softswitch

Splitter

Figure 3. GPON in large enterprise or building deployments

Core router
OLT

IP PBX or
softswitch

Converging Voice, Data and Video in the Enterprise Using GPON | Application Note

About Alcatel-Lucent GPON


Alcatel-Lucent is recognized worldwide as a leader in networking. Our flagship GPON platform, the
Alcatel-Lucent 7342 Intelligent Services Access Manager Fiber to the Unit (ISAM FTTU), consists
of an OLT and corresponding ONTs located at or near a users desktop.
Alcatel-Lucent 7342 OLT
The Alcatel-Lucent 7342 Optical Line Terminal (OLT)
aggregates optical traffic and provides interfaces to edge IPnetwork switches and routers. Voice, data and IP video are
delivered using a single fiber with two wavelengths (receive
and transmit) multiplexed together. An optional third wavelength can be multiplexed for downstream radio frequency
(RF) video over the same fiber. Each four-port PON line card
can connect up to 256 ONTs, using 64 splits on each PON
line. With support for 128 splits, Alcatel-Lucent can offer an
unprecedented amount of capacity in a very small footprint,
up to 512 ONTs per PON line card. This capacity minimizes
the upfront capital investment because each GPON shelf
can scale to support up to 4608 ONTs today and 9216 ONTs
in the future.
To ensure maximum reliability, the Alcatel-Lucent 7342 OLT is designed with a redundant architecture and load-sharing switch matrix. Moreover, the system enables granular control of bandwidth, dynamic bandwidth allocation and rate limiting features. Services are prioritized based on P-bit marking,
with up to eight QoS classes and traffic schedulers. Through these unique features, each user can get
the service quality they need whether it is bursting up to the full line rate to send graphics, or having
the right QoS for realistic video conferencing.
Alcatel-Lucent ONTs
Alcatel-Lucent carries the largest portfolio of ONTs in the GPON industry over 25 different
types. Not only are these ONTs field-proven, but they support a wide range of services, even fax
and modem. Below are two example models from the portfolio that are typical for business applications. Many more may be applicable depending on the services and types of interfaces required
(T1, POTS, RF, and so on.).
Services supported:
High-speed Internet
Voice over IP (VoIP) using SIP or Media Gateway Control (MEGACO)
Video, including IPTV, RF video and video on demand
TDM services such as Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) and T1 service
T.38 fax support and modem
VLAN tag and priority bit manipulation

Converging Voice, Data and Video in the Enterprise Using GPON | Application Note

Alcatel-Lucent Indoor ONT I-020 model


The Alcatel-Lucent Indoor Optical Network Terminal (ONT) I-020 model is
a compact and cost-effective ONT that offers both cost savings and minimal
space requirements. The Alcatel-Lucent Indoor ONT I-020 comes with two
10/100/1000 ports and is powered through a DC adapter. The ports can go to two
different PCs or one port can be assigned to a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)
phone and the other port to a PC. The Alcatel-Lucent Indoor ONT I-020 can
be wall mounted or placed near or on the desktop.
Alcatel-Lucent Indoor ONT I-040 model
The Alcatel-Lucent Indoor ONT I-040 model is an ONT with four 10/100/1000
ports and is powered through a DC adapter. Individual ONT ports can be
bridged to create a LAN or can be shared between separate users. The
Alcatel-Lucent Indoor ONT I-040 can be wall mounted or placed near
or on the desktop.
What is unique about Alcatel-Lucent GPON?
Market leadership: Alcatel-Lucent supplies the majority of GPON equipment needs for the
worlds largest Tier 1 carriers; the company has shipped more GPON ports than any other
vendor. A variety of customers, including telephone providers, municipalities, utilities and
real estate developers, rely on the Alcatel-Lucent 7342 ISAM FTTU for their private and
public networks.
Enterprise experience: In addition to GPON, Alcatel-Lucent also offers a wide range of equipment
for the enterprise market, such as Ethernet switches, routers and IP-Private Branch Exchanges
(PBXs). All of these products have been designed and tested to work as an integrated solution in
a private network. Depending upon individual requirements, customers can choose an end-toend solution or individual components without worrying about reliability and integration issues.
Unparalleled ONT portfolio: Alcatel-Lucent has the extensive range of ONTs (over 25 models)
for various applications, from business and residential to outdoor or indoor use. Unique performance management features such as Receive Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI), make maintaining and troubleshooting ONTs easier.
Extensive service support: Whether it is traditional voice, IP voice, IP video, RF video, T1 or
fax or simple Internet access, Alcatel-Lucent GPON delivers. Alcatel-Lucent GPON supports
nearly any service demand with the right QoS through its sophisticated traffic prioritization and
management capabilities.

Continuing evolution
As the bandwidth continues to expand, GPON technology is also expanding. Ten gigabit per second GPON standards are being developed now. These standards will allow the smooth evolution of
todays GPON systems to 10 Gb/s symmetrical GPON systems. Alcatel-Lucent is in the forefront of
these technologies and working with the standards bodies to ensure that Alcatel-Lucent can bring
the best 10 G GPON products to the marketplace.

Converging Voice, Data and Video in the Enterprise Using GPON | Application Note

Summary
In large institutional settings and campus environments, an FTTD architecture using GPON makes
a compelling network alternative. FTTD offers a wide range of cost and power saving opportunities
compared to copper and optical Ethernet networks. A GPON-based FTTD solution collapses voice,
data and video networks into one while overcoming the security constraints and evolution issues associated with copper networks. The Alcatel-Lucent 7342 ISAM FTTU is a feature-rich product that
has earned the endorsement of users and network administrators alike.

Acronyms
7342 ISAM FTTU

7342 Optical Line Terminal

ONT I-020 and I-040

Indoor Optical Network Terminal I-020 and I-040 models

CAC

connection admission control

E-line

Ethernet line

FTTD

fiber to the desktop

FTTH

fiber to the home

GE

Gigabit Ethernet

GEM

GPON Encapsulation Mode

GPON

gigabit passive optical network

HVAC

high-volume air conditioning

MEGACO

Media Gateway Control

OLT

optical line terminal

ONT

optical network terminal

OPEX

operating expenditures

PBX

Private Branch Exchange

PON

passive optical network

POTS

Plain Old Telephone Service

QoS

Quality of Service

RF

radio frequency

RSSI

Received Signal Strength Indicator

SIP

7342 Intelligent Services Access Manager Fiber to the Unit

7342 OLT

Session Initiation Protocol

VoIP

Voice over Internet Protocol

Converging Voice, Data and Video in the Enterprise Using GPON | Application Note

www.alcatel-lucent.com

Alcatel, Lucent, Alcatel-Lucent and the Alcatel-Lucent logo


are trademarks of Alcatel-Lucent. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
The information presented is subject to change without notice. Alcatel-Lucent assumes no responsibility
for inaccuracies contained herein. Copyright 2009 Alcatel-Lucent. All rights reserved.
CPG9718090103 (04)

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