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Calix, with new Gbit ONT, sings praises of GPON

Mon, 09/24/2007 - 7:55am
Brian Santo

Calix announced the general availability of its 700G optical network terminals (ONTs), a new member of the company’s 700 series of products. The key distinction of this one is the addition of a Gigabit Ethernet interface.

While it’s unlikely that any residential customer will need, want, or be willing to pay for a Gigabit Ethernet connection any time soon, telcos deploying these ONTs will have undisputed bragging rights when it comes to broadband speeds, even after the cable industry deploys DOCSIS 3.0, sometime in the future.

Telcos could offer peak downstream rates of up to 1 Gbps, compared to 160 Mbps for DOCSIS 3.0.

Measured in terms of average, or sustained, bandwidth, which Calix argues is a much more meaningful comparison, telcos can deliver up to 80 Mbps per subscriber in typical configurations, versus “a pedestrian 640 kbps for DOCSIS 3.0-enabled cable operators using 250-home nodes.”

Calix is apparently assuming that all 250 homes on a node would be using broadband services simultaneously, but it is the case that cable broadband is a shared resource.

The point is not the potential superiority of telco versus cable, however, said Calix marketing VP Kevin Walsh. The issue is fiber versus copper, and Gigabit Ethernet and GPON are just as accessible to cable operators as they are to telcos.

“It’s extremely short-sighted not to do GPON,” Walsh said. “Verizon’s been hammering the price down. If I’m a cable operator, I can just get in and take advantage of what Verizon’s done.”

GPON, he said, is fully compatible with cable set-tops. “We have RF,” Walsh said, referring to the RF interface (with RF return) that could be built into Calix’s ONTs. “A cable operator can just plug in to their set-tops. And cable modems? Throw them away.”

In addition to the optional RF interface, service providers can choose from the following configuration options with the 700G:

10/100/1000 Base-T Gigabit Ethernet interface
Optional additional 10/100 Base-T Fast Ethernet interface
Optional Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HPNA) interface
Optional dual DS1 interfaces for business applications

Calix said that provider Bloomer Telephone is among the early adopters of the Calix 700G ONTs.

Separately, Calix said it has now shipped more than 200,000 GPON ONTs to service providers throughout North America.

More than half of them are 2.5 Gbps GPON ONTs that have shipped in the last 12 months, and a significant number of those are the newly-introduced Calix 700G ONTs. The company claims 450 customers. Most are small rural communications companies, but the company also has Embarq and CenturyTel on its client list.

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