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Making PON interoperability issues a thing of the past

Now to test the age of our blog’s readers. Do you remember the days before plug & play when you needed to configure a printer to your PC? And every Windows update messed it up and you had to reconfigure it? And a new printer needed a new configuration? Which likely didn’t work until you’d wiped the old configuration? And two different printers together? Well, that was more pain than it was worth.

Apologies if I’ve brought back some old nightmares. But this world still exists in telecoms. In fact, in passive optical networks, one of the biggest headaches broadband providers face is that Optical Networking Units (ONUs) do not “just work”. Interoperability always gets in the way.

Introducing a new ONU to a network can take 3 to 6 months to get it right. That’s why multi-vendor interoperability is the most important ONU selection criteria for operators after price. 53% of operators report increased internal testing or performance issues whenever a new ONU comes along. That seriously hinders an operator’s agility and ability to innovate. They just want ONUs to work, in a plug & play fashion.

We’re solving these problems with another one of our judicious applications of software-defined access networks. Central to it all is the ONU Management Control Interface (OMCI).

OMCI is the common language that keeps ONUs and OLTs talking happily together… except different OMCI implementations are like different dialects. It means that ONU features depend on the OLT’s interpretation and vice-versa. With so many options and interdependencies in OMCI, no wonder it takes months to introduce a new ONU!

But all of that complexity? Now gone.

Through our cloud-native Altiplano open framework, we have created the world’s first virtual OMCI solution guaranteeing PON interoperability. vOMCI decouples the ONU management software from the OLT and moves it to the cloud. This means you can have multiple versions of OMCI running in parallel – it doesn’t have to be one OMCI continuously modified to manage all possibilities and the Altiplano framework knows which OMCI stack to use for which ONU.

With Nokia Multivendor ONU Connect, as we’ve called our solution, one of the biggest and costliest headaches of fixed network operators disappears. ONU selection becomes risk-free: operators can choose any ONU from any vendor, throw its OMCI code into the cloud, and off they go. This flexibility reduces costs and lets operators deploy new services and innovations much more quickly.

SDN/NFV is a brave new world, and it takes a brave operator to jump into it. But it’s these truly beneficial, practical applications of virtualization that make it worth it and will lead the way.

Come and talk to us at BBWF and we’ll show you how you can use virtualization to make your network truly open for business.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokia and @nokianetworks using #fiber #SDN #cloud

Filip de Greve

About Filip de Greve

As product marketing manager at Nokia, Filip focuses on new market strategies for innovative copper and fiber based access solutions. He holds a Ph.D. in telecomm and has over 10 years experience in the ICT & telecom industry with broad expertise in hardware, software and services. He loves road cycling and thrives on thinking outside the box to explore new ideas and concepts.

Tweet us @nokianetworks

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