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Will Bit-Interleaved Passive Optical Network (Bi-PON) Revolutionize Access?

Making networks more energy efficient requires optimizations at many different levels. One of those levels is the access layer for service provider networks that power millions of homes and businesses around the world.

The current method for deploying fiber delivery is not as energy efficient as it could be, according to research from the Alcatel-Lucent led Greentouch initiative.

"We realized that that the way protocols are designed today, actually 99 percent of the data is processed unnecessarily," Peter Vetter,Department Head at Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Labs, told InternetNews.com. "So this is a huge opportunity for efficiency improvements."

Vetter is also the wireline working group chief for the GreenTouch effort. Alcatel-Lucent and a consortium of partners launched GreenTouch back in January of 2010 as an effort to help reduce power consumption in networking technologies.

Today many service providers deliver fiber using a technology known as Passive Optical Network (PON). In a PON deployment, data is sent to all end points broadcast in a passive manner. As such, a PON Optical Network Unit (ONU) has to process all the data, for all the end points, in order to find the relevant data for a specific home or end point.

"The equivalent is as if the mailman came to your door and opens his mailbag and then asks you to go through all the mail, so you can select the mail that is for you," Vetter explained.

That wastefulness requires the ONU to draw more power, which is where the new research is looking to find efficiencies. One way to achieve better efficiency is by replacing the current PON standard with a new emerging approach call Bit-Interleaved PON (Bi-PON).

"With Bi-PON, instead of organizing the data in packets, we organize the data in bits that are spaced with properties that match the speed of the subscriber," Vetter said. "This allows us to drop the data right behind the receiver so only relevant data is processed."

Read the full story at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet:
New Standard Aims to Save Massive Amounts of Power

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.