PETER DYKES DISAGGREGATED PON
cost, because you’re driving more towards whitebox economics and finally, it’s the about the cloud. It’s about really being able to embrace the best of cloud scale-out, cloud tooling and running as much as you can in a cloud-like environment on a generic compute, rather than on proprietary devices.
We’ve been able to support it faster than most because disaggregation gives you a much more nimble, faster architecture. Operators are able to source new OLT’s that can support XGS PON more rapidly, because they don’t have to swap out their whole access architecture to do it. So if anything, XGS PON demonstrates the value and importance of leveraging an architecture like this.
work, which is predominantly built in SEBA. A set of both interested operators and vendors that really care about this space and are betting their businesses on it, are part of the project. We are actively looking at, working with and demonstrating more points of alignment with the Broadband Forum and the Cloud CO architecture, so that VOLTHA can be plugged into Cloud CO, so you can really use this next generation of disaggregated PON, but still work with the rest of the Cloud CO architecture. That integration was demonstrated at NetworkX in October last year. There’s more work to come there, but I think there’s a lot of good and important work to be had there as well. I think that there’s a ton of bandwidth in broadband access and cellular backhaul and it’s the unspoken hero of the last two years, because while mobile and 5G gets all the press, broadband and mobile backhaul is actually carrying all the data. Suddenly we’re seeing this spike in data growth, huge investments and big government backing in investments, and VOLTHA has run into the epicentre of it all, so it’s a very, very important project.
VOLTHA gaining traction in the industry?
What’s the relationship between SEBA and VOLTHA?
Yes. It’s being embraced and deployed by tier one operators and the community of vendors
The way it works is VOLTHA is the software project where there are open-source artefacts you
that are building compatible devices continues to grow. Now that it’s being deployed at scale, the feedback from operators is very positive. It really is achieving everything we thought it would on all fronts, especially with the supply chain problems we’ve had over the last year. It was a perfect example when it became hard to get certain devices, but operators were able to get other devices and substitute them in with relative ease. And, it seems, there were considerable cost savings in the order of, say 25% to 35%, as well as giving operators a cloud native environment for the next generation central office, versus legacy architecture.
can download and run and there’s an ecosystem of hardware that’s up and running and deployed. SEBA was two things. There’s the reference design, which is an architectural document that you can find on our website and which defines how you can plug VOLTHA into the larger end and put together all the pieces, for example. SEBA is and was an open-source project implementing a lot of the pieces but that work is not as active, although there are open repositories and components available. What we’re really finding is that VOLTHA is the thing that’s taking the world by storm. People are integrating it into their own versions of SEBA-like architectures in their own ways using other tooling or other vendor components. But VOLTHA is really the piece that as a software project, is where the traction is.
Is scalability an issue?
No, it’s not. In many ways, VOLTHA is more scalable than the most. It’s pushing a lot of
Is VOLTHA a completed project, or is there more to come?
this intelligence to the edge and you can replicate it as much as you want when you need to, so it’s very easy to scale. It’s being deployed by the likes of Deutsche Telekom and Jio and these are among the biggest operators in the world, so this is not a scale problem, if anything, it’s the major operators recognising its value that’s driving adoption. Scale is, in many ways, the least of our concerns. PD There are new PON architectures coming along such as XGS PON. Do they present any particular challenges for the VOLTHA project?
It’s definitely active and it’s reached a certain level of maturity, but that doesn’t mean
it’s finished by any means. There are active groups at work, and there’s an active Technical Steering team that guides the project. Members gather weekly and talk about new releases like the one coming out this month with new feature functionality. We test the releases against a suite of different hardware devices and load environments, and there’s a whole test and CI/CD [Continuous Integration/ Continuous Delivery] infrastructure that’s backing the project to support all the project consumers. There’s also an area board, it’s called the Broadband Area Board at ONF, that guides the project from a business perspective, and the direction of our open broadband
Those are opportunities, not challenges. We already support XGS PON, which is already being
deployed. We also support Combo PON which allows you to mix and match ports off individual devices.
Timon Sloane General Manager, ONF
ISSUE 32 | Q1 2023
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