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A review of XDMA-WDM-PON for Next Generation Optical Access Networks

Conference Paper · December 2012

DOI: 10.1109/GIIS.2012.6466763


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Politecnico di Milano Simon Bolívar University


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GIIS'12 1569677485

A Review of XDMA-WDM-PON for Next Generation

Optical Access Networks
Maybemar Hernández, Alfredo Arcia, Rodolfo Alvizu, Mónica Huerta
Networks and Applied Telematics Group - GRETA
Simon Bolivar University- USB

Abstract— Hybrid Wavelength Division Multiplexing-Passive Currently deployed standards for PONs are based on Time
Optical Networks (XDMA-WDM-PON) seems to be the solution to Division Multiplexing (TDM-PON). TDM is a multiplexing
tackle the requirements for optical access networks of the future. scheme that allows N users to share in time the bandwidth
This article presents the trending for Next Generation Optical offered by a single wavelength. However, the most employed
Access Networks (NG-OAN). In this work the requirements for nowadays are Ethernet PON (EPON- IEEE 802.3ah), adopted
optical access networks of the future are summarized in order to mainly in Asia, and Gigabit capable PON (GPON- ITU-T G.984)
compare several XDMA-WDM-PON proposed solutions. Time adopted in Europe and North America [3].
Division Multiple Access (TDMA), Optical Code Division Multiple
Access (OCDMA) and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple EPON transports Ethernet frames over PON. This combines
Access (OFDMA) covers the main requirements for future Passive the low costs of the Ethernet devices with the passive
Optical Networks. The results demonstrate that the future optical components of PON. Ethernet in the first mile (IEEE 802.3)
access networks will be supported by OFDM-WDM-PON established in 2004 the standard for symmetric traffic at a
architectures. transmission rate of 1 Gbps, for a 10 to 20 km link, with 16
Optical Network Units (ONU) per Optical Line Terminal (OLT).
Keywords— Next Generation Optical Access Networks, Meanwhile, GPON transmits TDM data frames at a transmission
Requirements, Passive Optical Networks, WDM, TDMA, OCDMA, speed of 2.5 Gbps for the downlink (DL) and 1,25 Gbps for the
uplink (UL).

I. INTRODUCTION With the increment in the services demand, a new 10Gbps

(10GE-PON) standard was necessary. However, as the
The exponential growth in the internet demand and high requirements increment the TDM-PON architecture will become
bandwidth applications is penetrating into the optical access insufficient. The requirements for OAN of the future cover a
networks. A recent Cisco’s forecast project shows that the wide range, from bandwidth and high transmission speeds
internet will increase 3.8-fold from 2011 to 2016. The video through costs and energy savings.
internet traffic will occupy the 55% of the global internet traffic.
It is expected that the average broadband speed will grow 3,8- A solution to fulfill with the current requirements is the
fold from 2011 to 2016, from 9,1 Mbps to 34 Mbps and the implementation of Wavelength Division Multiplexing PON
broadband connection should be faster than 5 Mbps [1]. (WDM-PON), in which a specific wavelength is assigned to each
ONU. This system is limited by the number of available
Next Generation Optical Access Networks (NG-OAN) should wavelengths that can be transmitted through the fiber. In WDM-
provide and fulfill the requirements of future services and end PON a bigger bandwidth than the needed is assigned to each
users. Several architectures have been proposed and analyzed user. Therefore this scheme presents an inefficient use of the
worldwide, however it is necessary for the NG-OAN to be capacity of the system [4].
compatibles with the Passive Optical Networks (PON) that are
currently implemented [2]. Hybrid WDM-PON networks (XDMA-WDM-PON) offers
the necessary capacity and flexibility to cover the requirements of
the future. Divergent options exist nowadays. TDMA-WDM-
PON transmits TDM frames over different wavelengths to
multiple users and offers a high ONUs capacity. However it has a
low transmission speed and requires a high synchronization.
Optical Code Division Multiple Access-WDM-PON (OCDMA-
WDM-PON) uses encoded data in smaller units (chips) for
different users to employ the same bandwidth without
interference each other. This system offers high ONUs capacity,
high transmission speed and security. However this scheme is not
yet affordable and requires passive optical devices that are not yet
feasible. Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access-WDM-

978-1-4673-5216-1/12/$31.00 ©2012 IEEE

PON (OFDMA-WDM-PON) uses orthogonal subcarriers over One of the disadvantages of increasing the wavelengths bit
WDM to transmit data in parallel at a lower transmission speed. rate is the cost. With each fourfold of bit rate the cost of the
Nonetheless it requires advanced digital signal processors and associated transponder increment by a 2 or 2.5 factor [6]. The
high speed components. main challenge of this option is the development of high speed
In this paper the requirements for future proof NG-OAN and
the state of the art of hybrid WDM-PON are presented. The paper 2) Increasing the number channels: Instead of increasing the
is organized as follows. Section II exhibits the requirements of bit rate, can take advantage of the fiber capacity by increasing
NG-OAN. Section III, IV, and VI presents the state of the art of the number of wavelengths, reducing the inter channel spacing
hybrid TDMA, OCDMA and OFDMA WDM-PON respectively. and possibly the bit rate. One approach to this methodology
Section VII contains a comparison of the three architectures could be achieved with WDM or/and OFDM.
based on the requirements of optical access networks of the
future and suggests a trending for NG-OAN. 3) Nonlinearity Compensation: The capacity of the fiber is
limited by the nonlinearities. In the absence of noise, a single-
II. REQUIREMENTS FOR OPTICAL ACCESS NETWORKS OF THE channel signal is limited by self-phase modulation (SPM),
FUTURE. whereas WDM systems are limited by cross-phase modulation
Due to the increasing demand in services by internet users, (XPM) and four-wave mixing (FWM) [8].
the optical access networks of the future shall offer the
capabilities to fulfill all the requirements. On the nearest future, The Nonlinear Schrodinger Equation (NLSE) is deterministic;
the optical access networks should support a major number of it means that SPM, XPM and FWM could be compensated with
users and deliver a higher bandwidth while lowering down the digital signal processing (DSP). As this capability improves, and
energy consumption. systems seek to achieve highest capacity, nonlinearity
The networks that have currently been implemented are compensation could become practical.
composed for many tiers: access, metro, backhaul, outer core and The NG-OAN should be faster, with increased bandwidth
inner core. These layers also have many IP routers and nodes that compared to existing standards (e.g., EPON, GPON). It is
are costly in energy and in packet delay due to the Optic- expected that the minimum bit rate required in NG-OAN for
Electronic- Optic conversions (OEO). The design of a multilayer downstream will be around 10Gbps, while the upstream
network compatible with Gbps access rates must be developed, requirement will be around 2,5 Gbps [9].
and should offer high scalability and flexibility, guaranteed end
to end performance and survivability, energy efficiency, and In the case that ONUs shares the same channel for
lower cost of ownership. Networks may move more functions to downstream or upstream, the bandwidth allocation will be
the optical domain to take advantage of the scalability of optics dynamic. This will allow operators to manage several kinds of
as the traffic levels and bit rate increases [5]. traffic and different transmission bit rates upon requests.

The Optical Networks of the future should be remotely Hybrid WDM PON architectures such as TDMA-WDM-
reconfigurable by a combination of hardware and software, this PON, OCDMA-WDM-PON, and OFDMA-WDM-PON allows
technology must allow to brought up, turn of, or reroute a higher bit rate transmissions and an effective use of the allocated
wavelength without affecting the existing traffic [6]. resources.

A. Higher Network Capacity B. Digital Transmitter and receiver

There are three approaches for increasing the network Next generation systems will continue with the trend that
capacity: increase the number of wavelengths supported by the enables the technologies of 100 Gbps. DSP is playing an
fiber, increase the bit rate of every wavelength (spectral important role in the transmitter and receivers of the optical
efficiency), and reduce the amount of signal distortion networks, where advanced algorithms can be used to compensate
accumulated per unit distance. These approaches may be useful fiber impairments. Digital coherent transmitter and receiver
in the nearest future, but in all of these cases advanced enables novel modulation formats, for example OFDM or
modulations formats will be required [6]. Some complicated OCDM [8].
modulations like Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (X-QAM), A software-defined optical system with DSP at both
Polarization Multiplexing (PM) and OFDMA are currently being transmitter and receiver enables the most agile platform. It allows
investigated. However Polarization Multiplexed Quadrature and channel impairments to be compensated by powerful DSP
Phase Shift Keying (PM-QPSK) with coherent receivers is the algorithms, and enables new signal (de)multiplexing paradigms.
main choice in industry [7]. In addition, the channel data rate, modulation format, and coding
1) Increasing the bit Rate of a Wavelength: One method to scheme can all be programmed by network management in
response to changing channel conditions. This enables network
increase the bit rate is to use larger signal constellations. Using a
flexibility since optical signals may be routed anywhere,
modulation format with low Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) irrespective of the distance, fiber type, or the number of
requirement increases the achievable capacity. Nevertheless, Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexers (ROADMs)
data rate cannot be increased indefinitely by higher-order transited in correspondence with adjusting the modulation format
modulation because of the nonlinear Shannon’s limit [8]. and coding scheme. Such network flexibility enables to provide

reliable end-to-end connection at the highest data rate possible management. The network must also be able to locate and
[8]. remotely provide a solution on the full extent of the network [10].
The systems must support heterogeneous access networks.
C. Space Division Multiplexing. The convergence of networks offers the possibility to optimize
Future systems could require space-division multiplexing the total costs and to provide several access technology solutions.
(SDM). The simplest SDM method is to use multiple fibers. This In this context, fixed access backhauling and mobile backhauling
requires parallel transmitters, fibers, amplifiers, and receivers. must be considered [10].
System complexity will scale approximately linearly with
capacity, so cost reduction per bit will only be achieved by Due to their point to multipoint topology, PON is susceptible
minimizing the cost of inline amplifiers and transponders [8]. to malicious attacks, the main security threats are; denial of
service attack, eavesdropping and masquerading of an ONU [13].
An alternative strategy is to have SDM within a single strand Future access networks must provide data security and integrity
of fiber. Two such schemes have been proposed. These are: to the customers. The terminal equipment should be simpler in
multicore fiber (MCF), and multimode fiber (MMF) [8]. In terms of administration and configuration as possible (Plug and
mode-division multiplexing (MDM), the spatial modes of an play) [10].
MMF are used as parallel channels. In a MCF a strand of fiber
contain multiple single-mode cores. Both technologies face a G. Long Reach Systems
major number of challenges, the practicability of these schemes
relies on future improvements in large-scale photonic integration Network operators are looking forward to simplify the
and in digital signal processors. network structure and reduce the number of access sites. Node
consolidation would satisfy this requirement improving the
overall cost efficiency of the network. Node consolidation is
D. Adaptation and Scalability. possible by increasing the reach at about 100 Km and the number
The massive deployment of fiber is limited by infrastructure of users supported by each access sites [10, 14]. This long reach
investment. Hence, it is required to ensure future adaptation and optical network could be though as a way to combine access and
scalability of the inversion. A major challenge for service backhaul/metro networks [14-15]. The consolidation will reduce
providers is to keep simple the operating procedures and ensure the number of aggregation nodes and the costs in network
convergence of different networks. A migration to packet traffic operation [13].
transport platforms and the tendency towards a common access
architecture facilitates the acquisition of new access technologies As a solution to cover the requirements of the OAN of the
[10]. future, hybrid architectures based on WDM-PON are being
widely investigated. Special interest is focused on TDMA,
The system must be flexible with the ability to be OCDMA and OFDMA, as schemes for hybrid WDM-PON.
incorporated in sequential and modular way. It must satisfy the Their advantages and disadvantages will be discussed.
needs of the operators in terms of network administration and
implementation costs. It must also allow different types of user III. TDMA-WDM-PON
(for example business user, residential users, etc.) where each
may have different requirements and subject to individual claims A logical and possible step from current 10 Gigabit TDM-
[10]. PON would be 40 Gigabit TDM-PON. Nonetheless at these data
rates, with Non Return to Zero (NRZ) modulation, the limitations
E. Cost and Energy Efficiency. start to appear, as penalties of nonlinearities and constrained
optical budget. Advanced modulation formats could be a solution
The cost is the current limiting factor for massive for nonlinearities. However, the implementation of these
deployments in optical access networks. There are different costs modulation schemes is very costly and difficult to implement in
to consider in the networks: implementation, maintenance, transmitter and receiver [16].
infrastructure, network improvement and environmental impact.
Energy efficiency has become an increasingly important aspect A combination of the techniques used in TDM and WDM
for network design. It is estimated that the internet currently result in a scheme where the resources offered by a wavelength
consumes about 0,4 percent of the total energy consumption in are shared in time by different users, as shown in Fig 1. Hybrid
broadband-enabled countries and consume 10000 more energy TDMA-WDM-PON is defined as a network in which a set of
than the minimum required [11]. Due to its low power wavelengths can be used to establish communication between the
consumption, PON is considered as a green technology. A OLT and several ONUs; each wavelength is shared by different
solution path in energy consumption in short term will be 10G ONUs [3, 9].
PON [12]. However for long term WDM-PON is the technology
For Next Generation Optical Access Networks, TDMA-
that has the lowest power consumption [12].
WDM-PON has been considered and widely studied. There are
two possible configurations, dynamic or static. In a static
F. Integrity and Security. network, a set of ONUs has a fixed wavelength with which
Redundancy includes automatic reconnection across communicate with the OLT. This is also called WDM stacking
redundant network elements, and should minimize the impact in [3, 9]. In a dynamic system the wavelength allocation may be
case of failure. The system must be able to provide mechanisms reconfigurable.
for fault detection as monitoring and diagnosis for proper

OCDMA over WDM PON is first introduced as a solution to
provide symmetric traffic in PON. In this scheme OCDM
channels are superposed over WDM channels. On each WDM
grid (Ȝ = 1, 2… N), M users may be added with a different
optical code. Hence, the total user capacity will be NxM. This
architecture could be seeing as M sub-channels that share the
bandwidth offered by a wavelength, where each code can be
repeated in every WDM channel (Fig 2). One of the many
difficulties with the implementation of OCDMA-WDM-PON is
the generation of the optical codes. In [19] a Superstructure Fiber
Bragg Grating (SSFBG) was used to develop the optical codes.
Although SSFBG is a passive device, the implementation costs
Figure 1. Hybrid TDMA-WDM-PON [18]. make the proposed architecture not yet feasible.
The design and implementation of this architecture represent A theoretical demonstration shows that a hybrid OCDMA
a challenge. The network shall be dynamic in the way that each architecture could support 16000 to 32000 subscribed users [20].
ONU must be able to tune in all the wavelengths shared by the This proves that OCDMA offers a high user capacity because of
OLT. The transmitters and receivers should be tune in time to the use of optical codes. To maintain the minimum interference
receive and send the data packets. The scheduling algorithms between the parallel transmissions, chaotic optical codes where
must be able to reconfigure the wavelengths and time slots implemented, this guaranteed a BER of 10¯¹².
depending on the load and demand, which is known as dynamic The record asynchronous transmission speed was achieved
bandwidth allocation (DBWA) [3]. with an WDM-OCDMA-PON architecture [21]. The data rate
In order to lower the implementation costs it is not convenient was 2,56 Tbps (48Gbps x 8Ȝ x 4Orthogonal Codes x 2
to implement a laser with a single wavelength at each ONU. Polarization modes), transmitted and received asynchronously
Therefore, colorless ONUs seems to be the best choice [17]. with an 8x8 multiport encoder/decoder (E/D) that
generate/process 8 chips length optical codes at a rate of 320
A proposed architecture, based on WDM -TDM -PON using GChips/s. This E/D allows the achievement of 2.56 Tbps data
dynamic bandwidth allocation and new modulation schemes was rate over a 50 km fiber.
demonstrated [3]. In the downlink, Quadrature and Phase Shift
Keying (QPSK) is used meanwhile On Off Keying (OOK) is Even though OCDMA-WDM-PON seems to be a good
implemented in the Uplink. These modulation formats decrease approach for NG-OAN, the complexity and costs of this system
the chromatic dispersion and interference during the make them difficult to implement in at short term [22]. It was
transmission. The data rate achieved was 10 Gbps for the DL and also demonstrated that the noise is incremented and the spectral
1.25 Gbps for the UL. For the implemented DBWA algorithms it efficiency is reduced compared with WDM-PON [22].
is demonstrated that WDM-TDM-PON presents a smooth
improvement over TDM-PON. V. OFDMA-WDM-PON
A high capacity and long reach DWDM-TDMA-PON system OFDM is an option that may offer a major capacity for the
was demonstrated [17]. The reach was 135.1 km serving 8192 NG-OAN. There are multiple variations for the implementation
ONUs with symmetric traffic at 320 Gbps. The network of Optical OFDM. Between these, in the simplest form, is the
configuration consisted on 64 wavelengths, 50 GHz spaced each, transmission of optical subcarriers directly over the network, this
half of the wavelengths for the UL and the other half for the DL, is known as OFDM-PON. A more complex scheme consists in
each at a transmission rate of 10 Gbps, and serving at 256 ONUs. offer multiple access, where subcarriers are not dedicated to a
The long reach was achieved with Erbium Doped Fiber
Amplifiers (EDFAs). The implemented ONUs where colorless
and reflective. With this architecture is demonstrated that the
node consolidation and network integration is possible, and is
shown as a good candidate for the optical access networks of the
With variation of the former architecture, a bigger ONUs
capacity was achieved [16]. The total ONUs capacity
accomplished was of 16384, over a 100 km reach, at a
transmission rate of 10 Gbps per wavelength. The main
difference between the architectures mentioned is the
implementation of External Cavity Lasers (ECL) in the ONUs
[16]. This upturn allows the ONUs to tune in to the different
wavelengths, creating a dynamic network. With this scheme is
also proved the node consolidation and metro access integration.
Figure 2. Configuration of Hybrid OCDMA-WDM-PON [20].

single user but can be used by different users. Wavelengths are A symmetric 1,2 Tbps transmission over 90 Km. for DWDM-
multiplexed in time slots depending on the resources demand; OFDMA-PON has been demonstrated [27]. The proposed system
this is known as OFDM-TDM-PON. Finally, a set of OFDM supports up to 800 ONUs with reduced complexity and is
subcarriers could be modulated and transmitted over a set of proposed as a solution for metro access consolidation.
different wavelengths to different ONUs as shown in Fig 3. This
last scheme known as OFDM-WDM-PON offers the biggest The symmetric transmission for colorless ONUs in Fast
capacity, higher spectral efficiency and applicability, and OFDM-WDM-PON has been reached [28]. To accomplish
compatibility with DSP for PON [23-24]. colorless ONUs, the wavelength used for the downstream (DS) is
re-used for the upstream (US). To achieve colorless and source
OFDMA-DWDM-PON is presented as an architecture that free ONUs, new techniques has been implemented, so high speed
offers high speed transmissions (Tbps) trough long distances and components are no longer necessary [29-30].
serving multiple users [25]. This makes it ideal for NG- OAN.
The principle for this scheme consists in generating OFDM VI. RESULTS
subcarriers that are then optically modulated by a continuous
wave (CW). All the different wavelengths are multiplexed and In order to fulfill the requirements of the future, new
transmitted through a Singular Single Mode Fiber (SSMF). After architectures of optical access networks has been proposed.
a few miles a local exchange (LE) is used to amplify and route However, some of them offer more benefits than others. The
the signals. Once the signals reach the ONUs, each one tuned to a Table I show a comparison for the different parameters that
wavelength, and an OFDM subcarrier. For the upstream the defines the Hybrid optical access networks.
OFDM subcarrier is mapped in the UL wavelength and then Even though the three mentioned technologies are based on
transmitted. In the LE all the wavelengths are combined and WDM-PON, there are some important differences between them.
amplified. The signals are then received coherently by the OLT. As is observed, TDM and OFDM exhibit a desired behavior for
This architecture supports Ȝ x N ONUs without compensation for NG-OAN; these architectures have a better performance in costs,
CD [25]. The main difficulties for the implementation of this reach and spectral efficiency with respect to OCDM. Besides, a
scheme is the requirement of advanced DSP in the transceivers, high data rate can be offered to a big number of users with these
high speed Analog to Digital-Digital to Analog converters two architectures, meanwhile OCDMA can offer the highest
(ADC/DAC) to achieve the sampling rates needed, and fast achieved data rate but to a lower number of users.
Radio Frequency (RF) components to generate the OFDM
signals [23]. Although, has been theoretically proven that OCDM could
support 16000 to 32000 users [20], practical demonstrations
A record 1.92 Tbps OFDMA-DWDM-PON over 100 km has show that currently 64 users can successfully transmit data at
been demonstrated [26]. The transmission was achieved in a high speed [21]. The low ONUs capacity, low spectral efficiency,
SSMF over 100 km, proven to be an architecture that allows node high costs and short reach makes OCDMA-WDM-PON an
consolidation. The main problems with the architecture, which architecture that is not yet feasible for NG-OAN. TDMA-WDM-
require high speed components, where solved using ONUs side PON offers much of the desired features, however for future
coherent detection. This feature allows the use of basic RF OAN is in disadvantage with OFDM since it offers a lower
components to generate the OFDM signals, and the use of spectral efficiency and will be limited in data rate because of the
common ADCs/DACs/DSP components in the ONUs. 40 synchronization required.
wavelengths with four subcarriers each at 12 Gbps were used,
resulting in a transmission of 48 Gbps per wavelength. It is The trending in investigation worldwide show that future NG-
possible with this architecture to offer data transmission at 1 OAN will be supported by OFDM [11, 23, 25, 31-32]. The
Gbps for 1000 users. These results prove the efficiency of spectral efficiency, long reach, compensation for chromatic
OFDM-WDM-PON [26]. dispersion, high transmission speed, high ONUs capacity,

Figure 3. OFDMA-WDM-PON architecture for heterogeneous service delivery [23].

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