Explosion of the Internet traffics coupled with emerging multimedia applications, such as video on demand, high definition TV, e-learning and interactive online games, has created tremendous bandwidth demands in access networks. Legacy copper wire technologies (e.g. DSL and cable) bridging users and the Internet have been stretched to their bandwidth limits, and become the so-called first/last mile bottleneck. To satisfy ever-increasing bandwidth demands and support multimedia applications, passive optical networks (PONs) are currently being deployed worldwide with the potential to serve millions of users. Meanwhile next generation PONs are being investigated to provide better services for triple-play (voice, data and video). To support more users and more bandwidth, next generation optical access will move toward higher bit rate and more wavelengths. The first part of this talk will provide a technical overview of current PON technologies, discuss the future evolution of optical access, and present an prototype implementation of an industry-first 10G PON prototype.
Even though PONs can alleviate the first/last mile bottleneck, their fixed infrastructure and limited coverage can not fulfill the requirements of flexible access and mobile services. Due to recent advances in wireless technologies, wireless access networks such as WiFi and WiMax becomes a promising solution to serve the growing number of mobile subscribers. In the future, convergence of optical and wireless technologies is inevitable in the access segment for quadruple play (voice, data, video and mobility). However, as the traffic behavior and channel quality of these two technologies are far from each other, seamlessly integrating passive optical networks and wireless mesh networks presents a very challenging task. The second part of the talk will present a converged optical and wireless network for broadband, ubiquitous access services. The hybrid network combines the advantages of both optical and wireless technologies – the high capacity of optical fibers and the flexibility of wireless mesh, and an integrated routing algorithm is developed to achieve load balancing and improved network performance across optical and wireless segments.
Finally, this talk concludes with a discussion of research issues in future optical and wireless access networks.