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During the first phase of the NG-PON project, FSAN has also considered the
possibility of accessing the shred medium through wavelength division
A simple architecture of a WDM-PON is shown in Figure 11.11..The OLT, placed
in the local exchange, is constituted by an Ethernet switch managing a certain
number of PONs and allowing grooming and QoS protocol management, and by a
set of optical interfaces, one for each end customer. A different wavelength is
associated to each end customer, so that the OLT must have WDM-capable
In order to avoid problems with reflections from the fiber infrastructure,
unidirectional transmission is generally considered. Thus, a fiber pair is needed in
each branch of the PON infrastructure. A couple of athermal mux/demux is placed
in the branching point, and every signal is terminated at the final user site with an
ONU tuned on the user wavelength.
The wavelength plan used in this architecture depends on the adopted WDM
technique. If the CWDM standard is used, generally, no more than 16 wavelengths
can be adopted.
FIGURE 11.11 Architecture of a WDM-PON using unidirectional fiber
transmission. The CWDM wavelengths are assumed in the figure.

This is due to the fact that common fibers have an absorption peak around 1390 nm,
due to OH ions, and as shown in Figure 11.8, where the absorption profile of an
SSMF fiber (ITU-T G.652) is superimposed on the CWDM frequency standard.
Assuming a sensitivity of −18 dBm of the receiving PIN, a transmitted signal power
of 0 dBm and a loss of 5 dB from the mux/demux, an ODN attenuation smaller than
0.65 dB/km is needed in order to achieve a reach of 20 km. This requirement is not
fulfilled by the CWDM channels that are around 1390 and 1410 nm, thereby
reducing the number of useful channels to 16.
Adoption of the CWDM standard has several advantages, from the possibility to use
low cost, robust transceivers, which are produced in very high volumes mainly for
datacom applications, to the availability of low cost athermal mux/demux.
If a high wavelength number is to be used, DWDM is needed. In this case, it is easy
to reach the number of 32 or 64 wavelengths in the third fiber transmission windows,
at the expense of a higher interface cost.
One of the potential problems in deploying the WDM-PON architecture depicted
in Figure 11.11, is the presence of colored ONU optical interfaces. As a matter of
fact, every ONU receives and transmits a different wavelength. The management of
16 different ONUs during network deployment (in the case of CWDM-PON) can
increase operational costs, due both to spare parts management and in-field
Naturally, in this case also, the need of colored interfaces can be eliminated either
by using tunable lasers or by injection locking in FP Lasers.


At this point, it is interesting to compare the WDM-PON and GPON on one side,
where WDM-PON is based on CWDM and Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) channels on each
wavelength, and WDM-PON and XG-PON on the other side, where WDM-PON is
based on CWDM again, but each wavelength carries a 10 GbE channel, which we
will call XWDM-PON.
In this section, we will limit our analysis to an architectural and performance
comparison since an economic comparison is critically dependent on commercial
and industrial strategies, and it is quite impossible to do if on one side there is a
commercial product and on the other, a system under prototyping.
However, even without an explicit calculation, the main point driving the cost
structure of WDM-PON and GPON/XG-PON will be clear.
In order to correctly carry out the comparison, we have to concentrate our attention
on a single WDM-PON architecture; here we will consider in both cases the simple
architecture of Figure 11.11, where colored ONUs and unidirectional transmission
are used.
 Capacity: GPON versus WDM-PON
The capacity per user of a WDM-PON is easily evaluated: a single wavelength
is dedicated to each end user. In general, a GbE signal is transmitted on each
wavelength, assigning a capacity of 1.25 Gbit/s to each end user. It is worth
noting that the WDM-PON has no particular advantage if part of the signal is
constituted by pure broadcast (e.g., conventional IP-TV): the broadcast signal
has to be replicated by the OLT on every wavelength and independently sent
to each user.
The evaluation of the GPON capacity per user is not so simple as we have
seen in the dedicated section.
Using the example we have cited there when we calculated the GPON
expansion capacity, let us try to carry out the calculation also for the WDM-
Since we have to feed 400 customers through 32 ONUs placed in the
basements of the buildings of the area, we use the fiber to the building (FTTB)
configuration. In the case of WDM-PON, we will have 16 ONUs, thus every
ONU will have twice the traffic load.
Since the WDM-PON is symmetric, the evaluation is only for the
downstream, which is the most critical direction.
Repeating the traffic evaluation in this case, we will find that each ONU that
is served by a GbE channel has to manage a traffic constituted by 500 Mbit/s
of broadcast IpTV, and a total of 73.5 Mbit/s of point-to-point traffic
constituted by 18 kbit/s of Ip phone (this is naturally an average value since it
is lower that the base Ip phone rate), 17.5 Mbit/s of web browsing, and 56
Mbit/s due to individual video programs.
The total amount of traffic is about 574 Mbit/s.
We have to take into account that the efficiency of the GbE channel should
not be pushed to the limit as it might risk congesting the far end switch. Let
us image reaching a 68% efficiency of the GbE, which is a net capacity of
about 0.81 Gbit/s.
The free capacity per ONU is in this case 236 Mbit/s and globally 3.7 Gbit/s.
If we want to evaluate how many VoD channels we can allocate, it would be
misleading to divide 3.7 Gbit/s per 16 Mbit/s, since in this case it is not
possible to distribute in a dynamical way, the bandwidth among different
groups of users as is possible in the case of a GPON.
The only result that can be considered is that with the WDM-PON, it is
possible to open 14 VoD channels for each of the 16 ONUs. The result is that
the comparison between the two architectures is quite difficult.
If the service penetration is uniform, and corresponds to an area covered by
the uniform central office from a social point of view, the WDM-PON is much
more effective in delivering point-to-point services that have high activity. If
the penetration of the service is very inhomogeneous, the WDM-PON
advantage gets smaller and smaller.
 Capacity: XG-PON1 versus XWDM-PON
Under a qualitative point of view, the situation is exactly the same as we
described in the previous section. The relevant difference is that if such very
high capacity systems have been adopted, this means that the penetration of
high capacity and high peak bandwidth services are already here.
In this case, the much higher total capacity of the XWDM-PON gets, for sure,
a better result from a capacity point of view.
However, we must not forget that this is not for free, and whatever technology
solution will be found to decrease the cost of the XWDM-PON interfaces, a
certain price difference should always exist between the two categories of
 Security and unbundling: Both cases
WDM-PON assigns to each user, a dedicated wavelength. This is not exactly
the same as the dedicated physical carrier that is assigned to the user in the
copper network, but the situation is quite similar. Due to the presence of
mux/demux in the branching point, every ONU receives only its own signal,
so that a user cannot gain access to signals directed to other users. Moreover,
a wrong working of a single ONU cannot influence the signals of other users,
thus a good degree of security is guaranteed.
As far as unbundling is concerned, different wavelengths could be assigned to
different carriers if a suitable mechanism is implemented in the OLT. This is
not a physical separation exactly, because the physical layer is common
among different carriers and data security is guaranteed by wavelength
In the case of GPON, each user receives the signal directed to all the users so
that it is possible to gain access to the signal directed to another user by simply
working on the ONU. Moreover, if the ranging protocol of a single ONU does
not work, the wrongly synchronized signal interferes with the signals from
other ONUs in the branching point damaging other users.
As far as unbundling is concerned, it is practically impossible using GPON,
unless virtual unbundling is considered. In this case, an amount of bandwidth
in the shared downstream channel is assigned to a competing carrier under a
defined SLA.
 Fiber utilization: Both cases
Due to the fact that bidirectional transmission is used in the GPON case, while
in our example WDM-PON unidirectional transmission is adopted, the fiber
infrastructure is clearly better exploited by the GPON. As shown in Section
11.3, unidirectional transmission can be used in WDM-PON, but comes at
some cost. As a matter of fact, in order to achieve a sufficient branching ratio,
DWDM is needed, for example, 32 channels with a channel spacing of 100
GHz. A possible design can individuate two different bandwidths to be used
upstream and downstream. They can be separated by a gap of about 800 GHz
to prevent destructive interference from reflections. In this way, a branching
ratio of 16 can be achieved. However, 100 GHz channel spacing requires
cooled DFB lasers to be used both in the ONU and in the OLT. This fact,
besides the greater cost of the mux/demux, clearly influences the cost of the
system. In order to cope with this problem, the use of a WDM comb derived
from the filtering of a single broadband noise source [20].has been proposed,
but it is not clear yet if real cost advantage is achieved.
 Optical link budget: WDM-PON versus GPON
The transmission scheme of WDM-PON is quite simple: attenuation is given
by the loss of the mux/demux and by fiber propagation (taking into account
connectors, patch panels, and other signal losing elements that can be present
in the access infrastructure)
Focalizing on CWDM-PON, standard CWDM optics can assure a transmitted
power of 0 dBm, while the receiver sensitivity depends on the used detector.
Using a PIN, the sensitivity at 1.25 Gbit/s (assuming that a GbE is transmitted)
can be about.−18 dBm. This number increases to about.−28 dBm using an
Assuming the use of 16 wavelengths, the worst channel experiences an
attenuation of about 0.9 dB km. Adding the other contributions and a system
margin, we can assume a loss of 1.3 dB/km. Inserting these numbers in a very
simple link budget evaluation, we obtain 10 km using a PIN at the receiver
and about 22 km with an APD.
In the case of GPON, the link budgets are standardized in different GPON
classes and are reported in the GPON description section. In any case, classes
B and C power budgets are of the same order of magnitude as the budgets
evaluated in the case of the WDM-PON.
There is no relevant difference from this point of view, as it was intuitive from
the fact that fiber propagation and splitting losses are not strongly dependent
on the signal wavelength in the band relevant for fiber access.
 Optical link budget: XWDM-PON versus XG-PON1
Standardization prescribes for the XG-PON1, a link budget sufficient to have
a reach compatible with GPON B+ and GPON C. Taking into account the
slightly higher losses experimented by XG-PON1 wavelengths with respect
to the GPON wavelength and a set of other differences in the transmission line
between GPON and XG-PON1, a budget of 29 and 31 dB, depending on the
comparison with GPON B+ or GPON C, results.
A similar prescription does not exist for XWDM-PON, and a real power
budget will be available only after that the first industrial product is produced
in volumes.
Presently, Ethernet components and equipment implementing 10 GbE are
designed for top class Ethernet applications, if not for the carrier core network
as backhauling of the core machines. Thus, these systems can provide good
transmission performances. For example, a 10GbE XFP designed for the
switches placed at the core of the private network of a large corporate or for
the public Ethernet switches of the core metro network are equipped with APD
photodiodes and narrow line width DFB lasers, and generally assures a power
budget in between.−30 and.−34 dBm.
It is to be noted that an XWDM-PON equipped with interfaces that guarantees
a power budget of −32 dBm can cover a reach of about 25 km. This is not for
free naturally, since we have to remember that different from the XG-PON
that has a single transmitter into the OLT, an XWDM-PON has a maximum
of 16 transmitters of different colors.