google fiber triple playGoogle is seeking industry support for a new Google Fiber vision for a passive optical network (PON) fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) architecture that would increase the distance between the central office and the customer, said Claudio DeSanti, architect for Google, today.

The Google SuperPON architecture would support up to 1,024 customers  over distances up to 50 kilometers– a substantial change from today’s architecture that supports up to 64 customers over distances of up to 20 kilometers.

The goal would be to minimize the amount of fiber required to support FTTH and the associated labor.

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Google already has deployed the technology in one of its existing fiber markets, DeSanti said. That deployment supports existing GPON speeds but Google expects SuperPON to support speeds of 10 Gbps per customer.

The development is an important one in that it suggests a renewed interest in PON on the part of Google Fiber. Google a few years ago “paused” its PON deployments.

Asked whether Google Fiber would be deploying SuperPON in North America, DeSanti said “I would expect so” but stressed that he was involved in the technology side of the company, not the business side.

He also noted that Google Fiber does not want to build its own equipment but instead hopes to gain industry support for the SuperPON vision. He described how Google has explored how SuperPON could build on the efforts of existing standards bodies such as IEEE and the International Telecommunications Union to become an industry standard.

DeSanti made his comments at the Adtran Connect event in Huntsville, Alabama today.

Google SuperPON
The key technology breakthrough that made SuperPON possible is in the area of amplification, DeSanti said.

SuperPON’s extended reach could reduce the number of central offices required to support PON services in a metro area from 16 to three, he said.

Google Fiber
Google Fiber Network Locations

This approach also reduces the number of fibers required to support the same number of customers, DeSanti explained– and that means the network operator can deploy lower-count fiber cables.

“Smaller cables are easier to repair and easier to build” he said.

He noted, for example, that operators can use microtrenching when they deploy low-count fiber cables — a simpler and more economical alternative to traditional trenching methods.

Google has seen substantial interest in SuperPON in countries that have big fiber deployment plans such as Brazil and China. He emphasized, however, that all of Google’s own fiber deployments have been in North America and he hinted that he doesn’t expect that to change.

Network operators that already have deployed PON using the traditional architecture may view SuperPON as a means of “complementing existing solutions,” he said.

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