Verizon reported on Wednesday that it successfully completed what it believes is the first interoperability trial of next-generation passive optical network (NG-PON2) technology at Verizon Labs in Waltham, Mass. Overall, the testing ultimately aims at exploring best practices for increasing system capacity by adding wavelengths to meet demand for future traffic hogs like ultra high-definition (UHD) video, virtual reality (VR), and cloud services.

Interoperability is the operative theme in this announcement since the core of the testing revolved around using equipment from different vendors on either end of a single fiber – so, at the service provider's endpoint and the customer's endpoint. Before now, equipment from the same vendor was required on both endpoints, but Verizon says its trials show that the various companies’ solutions can be used to deliver service without affecting the end user. Participating vendors were Adtran, Broadcom, Cortina Access, and Ericsson (in partnership with Calix). The trial tested plans aligned with Verizon's Open OMCI specifications, which will be shared with the industry in the next few months, according to the company.

Verizon says it is evaluating NG-PON2 technology to provide increased speeds, functionality, and reliability to subscribers on its fiber access network, including Fios. This technology supports up to 40G of total capacity and up to 10G speeds per customer, both upstream and downstream, over a single fiber.

"Verizon has chosen NG-PON2, which is an ITU-T-developed international standard, for its next-generation network," Denis Khotimsky, distinguished member of the technical staff and Verizon's lead engineer on the trial, explains. "This technology is the foundation for providing services that deliver multi-gigabit speeds."

In a statement about the testing results, Adtran notes that the trial proved multi-vendor solutions for both the optical line termination (OLT) on the service provider end and the optical network terminal (ONT) on the customer end can greatly expand the bandwidth delivered without an impact on existing broadband subscribers on the same fiber line. It also says the trial further highlighted the improved service scalability and operational elasticity that NG-PON2 provides. “This includes the highest level of bandwidth flexibility, maximizing SDN/NFV network automation and allowing for the rapid creation and delivery of customer services,” Adtran’s statement says.

The trial reportedly featured the Adtran Mosaic Software Defined (SD-Access) solution that is said to be specifically designed to reduce the overall cost of operations when delivering converged 10G services through the scalable SDX network elements and SDN orchestration from the Adtran Mosaic Cloud Platform. The inherent scale and agility of multi-wavelength NG-PON2 access technology reportedly offers “unprecedented fiber distribution and network flexibility, supporting fiber network auto-grooming and reducing the need for expensive truck rolls.”

Back in 2015, Verizon announced it had successfully completed field testing of NG-PON2, and this latest trial is the next natural step toward the company’s plan to implement the technology, according to Verizon.

"Verizon and the participants in this trial are focused on establishing NG-PON2 as the industry's first PON standard that can be deployed in an interoperable fashion from Day One,” Vincent O'Byrne, director of technology at Verizon, observes.