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How PON Can Benefit from Robotics

November 15, 2017

Connected robotics is being used in everything from jet engine inspection to manufacturing to surgery. So why not leverage it in the broadband networks that sometimes help connect these robots too?

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that such efforts are already under way.

A company called Wave2Wave offers a solution called the Robotic Optical Engine, or ROME. It can be used to manage physical optical connections related to fiber-based passive optical networking services. ROME leverages automation and remote control to make networks more cost-efficient, dynamic, profitable, and reliable.

photo courtesy of Pixabay

In a November Datacenter Dynamics byline, Joseph Lias of Wave2Wave explains how ROME might come into play. He says remote personnel could issue commands to connect a splitter to a distribution fiber cable. The telco would ship an optical network unit to the subscriber for self installation. And the network would auto discover the ONU when it’s connected.

This process would allow for zero-touch provisioning. That would save the telco on human resources and truckroll costs. This would be particularly beneficial in multidwelling units where entry rights can create hassles, Lias indicates. It would also provide the network operator with faster time to revenue due to reduced provisioning times. Plus it would allow for remote testing and troubleshooting, and eliminate database mismatches due to human error.

All of that is increasingly important for telcos as they’re working to manage their network costs amid requirements to invest in technologies that deliver ever-larger bandwidth services. This has become a business imperative in light of the proliferation of the Internet of Things, the upcoming need for 5G backhaul, and the popularity of video and other rich media. Plus, they need to remain competitive with other service providers, like the cablecos.

Passive optical networking technology, or PON, is one of the tools in the telcos’ toolbelts to support higher bandwidth connectivity. Lias notes that XGS-PON delivers symmetrical 10 gigabit-level connectivity and NG-PON2 can do 10gbps (or, using multiple wavelengths, get up to 40gbps). He adds that PON works on fiber to the building, fiber to the cabinet or curb, fiber to the home, fiber to the node, and fiber to the premises architectures.

Edited by Mandi Nowitz

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