The Informa view: 2014 will be an important year for G-PON interoperability

Informa's survey suggests service providers and vendors are confident that they can derive mutual gains from G-PON interoperability and certification, especially in terms of reducing time-to-market. A number of major service providers are in the process of moving towards multivendor networks, while challenger vendors see interoperability as a way to get a foot in the door of existing deployments. Skeptics may say they’ve heard it all before, but more pieces seem to be in place to make it happen this time around.

Extend interoperability, educate about deployability

There will always be a trade-off between the how much time and money certification can save service providers and how much it costs vendors to conform. The BBF is right to extend G-PON certification to cover wholesale, multicast and mobile backhaul and other emerging service models, but it also needs to help ONU vendors to spread the cost of certifying the growing number of products in their portfolios, say by allowing variants to be granted certification if a vendor’s flagship product passes. The industry should also focus on promoting guidelines about deployability based on realworld case studies.

The industry needs to rebalance the multivendor business case

Some vendors might question how reasonable service providers’ calls for greater G-PON interoperability are, but they are likely to grow rather than abate. Informa believes the industry should innovate in order to capitalise on, rather than resist, the transition to multivendor networks. Service providers need to collaborate more to create scale for their requirements, while OLT vendors should restructure their offerings to offset potential lost ONU sales with revenues from implementing and managing interoperability and bettersegmented ONU portfolios.

Success will depend ultimately on marketing, not technology

The majority of executives Informa interviewed were satisfied with the Broadband Forum's certification schemes and test plans. The greatest challenge the organization faces is getting its message across to the skeptics, the undecided and the plain unaware. Key to this effort will be understanding and explaining how multivendor deployments can drive innovation and reduce the total cost of ownership of G-PON, and not just the per-unit cost of ONUs.

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