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Update on Shaw's FTTH trials

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 10:09am
Mike Robuck

Shaw Communications is refining its RFoG and FTTH strategies through four trials that are currently underway.

Shaw lit the torch on a 100-Gigabit trial is to an MDU for a "fiber-to-the-suite" service in March, with an undisclosed community getting its own fiber-to-the-home trial later this year.

Shaw's Dennis Steiger, vice president of engineering, said his company has been working on designing a PON that will allow it to overlay RFoG in the short term, with existing CPE equipment, and then down the road deploy Gigabit Ethernet services.

According to a story in Onsight Data, Shaw has slated Gigabit Internet trials in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

"The trials are progressing," Steiger said in a recent interview with CED. "We have four different trials. We have a trial in single-family dwellings, multi dwellings, and commercial trials into businesses. The only thing I can update right now is that we've defined a strategy around RFoG.

"RFoG gave us some real challenges around multiple DOCSIS channels on different chassis transmitting upstream simultaneously in terms of optical interference on the lasers. So what we've done now is we're taking a strategy of moving all of our Internet services on to their own wavelength. We'll provision into your home with the same piece of equipment, anything from our Lite Internet service (with a download speed of 1 Mbps) all the way up to our high-end Gigabit service, and not require the use of DOCSIS to deploy those services in fiber."

Steiger said Shaw will keep its RFoG technology focused on the digital cable services and its private network services, which include digital phone and "what we're doing with tru2way set top boxes that use the DOCSIS channel."

"It's basically driven us to separate Internet data onto its own wavelength and use IP-type delivery rather than actual modems in that environment," Steiger said. "This could be a temporary thing while the industry tries to overcome this OBI (optical beat interference) problem that exists in RFoG or it could be a permanent solution.

"This could be a stepping-stone to the all IP service environment. We're not sure about that yet, but even with this small wrinkle we're really bullish on what we're doing with fiber-to-the-home. It's going to create a lot of opportunities for us to create new services like Gigabit Ethernet.

For more on cable operator's IP-related plans, check out what some of the leading cable CTOs had to say at The Cable Show earlier this year.

For more information on lessons learned related to RFoG, including OBI, read this CED feature.


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