What is EPON?

Creating Network Solutions Through EPON

EPON (Ethernet passive optical network) enables computer network connections over telecommunications infrastructure. It is a “short haul” network that uses fiber optic cables, Ethernet packets (instead of ATM cells), and a single Layer 2 network with a single protocol to deliver internet access, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), and digital TV services in metropolitan areas, among other uses.

10G EPON is fully compatible with other Ethernet standards, and requires no conversion or encapsulation to connect to Ethernet-based networks on either the upstream or downstream end. This technology connects seamlessly with any type of IP-based or packetized communications, and, thanks to the ubiquity of Ethernet installations in homes, workplaces, and elsewhere, EPON is generally very inexpensive to implement.

EPON is quickly supplanting copper cable technology, DSL, and other traditional broadband access solutions. A standard EPON can currently support speeds up to 1.25Gbit/second; advanced 10G-EPON technology, providing speeds up to 10Gbit/second, is quickly becoming the benchmark.

Passive Optical Networks

A passive optical network, or PON, is sometimes referred to as the “last mile” between a data or internet service provider and the customer. These systems use fiber optic cables and passive components such as splitters and combiners; no active components, like amplifiers or repeating circuits, are required. The use of only passive components makes a PON significantly less expensive than a network built on active components. However, this also results in a shorter overall range of coverage due to limited signal strength—whereas active optical networks (AONs) can reach over 60 miles, a PON is typically limited to roughly 12 miles.

In most PON setups, a point to multi-point network (P2MP) is created using a central optical line terminal and multiple optical splitters to provide service for up to 128 users. An optical network unit, or ONU, terminates the PON at a user’s location and communicates with an optical network terminal (ONT) to connect the PON to a router, telephone, computer, and/or television.

Symmetric & Asymmetric 10G EPON

There are two types of EPON: symmetric and asymmetric. Symmetric EPON provides equal data rates in both upstream (from the user to the server/provider) and downstream (from the server/provider to the user) directions. Asymmetric EPON provides higher downstream data rates than upstream; asymmetric EPON usually operates at 10Gbits/sec downstream and 1Gbit/sec upstream.

Usable Bandwidth

EPON utilizes 25 percent of its bandwidth for encoding. That is, in a 1.25Gbit/second EPON system (for example), 1Gbit/second of bandwidth is used to transfer data, while the remaining 0.25Gbit/second is reserved for encoding. (Similar to Fast Internet.)

The Efficiency of EPON

EPON transmits data in variable-length packets of up to 1518 bytes, as specified by the IEEE 802.3 standard on which EPON is based. Other PON variations, notably GPON (gigabit passive optical network), transmit data in fixed-length, 53-byte cells, making them inefficient for transmitting data and traffic that is formatted according to IP. EPON’s variable-length packets are tailor-made for IP traffic and can substantially reduce overhead compared to other, similar technologies (EPON overhead is typically around 7.42 percent, while GPON overhead averages roughly 13.22 percent). Additionally, EPON’s higher data-to-overhead ratio allows for high utilization with low-cost optics.

Encryption & Network Protection

EPON utilizes an AES-based encryption mechanism for both upstream and downstream communications. It also provides vendor-specific and carrier-specific network protection, including support for vendor-specific and carrier-specific operations, administration, and maintenance (or OAM).

10G EPON Solutions from New Wave DV

New Wave DV designs, engineers, and manufactures a range of EPON and 10G-EPON solutions. Our 10G EPON technology is proven effective in network performance, telecommunications, cyber security, radar systems, and other applications.

Contact New Wave Design and Verification today to discuss a 10G EPON solution that fits your unique needs.