Verizon’s Network Roadmap includes NG-PON2 and Open Daylight

Lee Hicks, Vice President of network planning  at Verizon said the carrier is focused on a single core MPLS network supporting wireless, residential and business services that will use NG-PON2 as an access method for all three.  Mr. Hicks made those remarks at ADTRAN Connect 2018 in Huntsville, Alabama.  Hicks said that an important goal is to reduce the cost per bit by 45% while also providing low latency to support services such as augmented and virtual reality and telemedicine, he said.  Speaking about the company’s fiber investment, Hicks said: “This has become the base for what we do in the industry. We are big believers in taking fiber all the way.”

In comparison with other 10 Gbps PON options, Hicks said, “It’s not the easiest to go from GPON to NG-PON2, but it’s the best long-term step.”  NG-PON2 initially will have four wavelengths, each operating at 10 Gbps.   “In the future, we have a roadmap to be able to bond these wavelengths,” Hicks said. “We have a built-in ability to go beyond a 10-Gig to 20-Gig, 30-Gig, even 40-Gig down the road. Today with 1-Gig service becoming common place, it’s only a matter of time before 10-Gig and beyond become important. You need to be thinking about that. We are and we’re trying to pick a platform that could help us do that. Having multiple wavelengths available is important.”

Hicks said that tunable optics for NG-PON2 will allow operators to assign different subscriber types to different wavelengths. Using dynamic load balancing, a service provider could move a data hog to a separate wavelength via a provisioning command to the optical network tuners.  He touted the enhanced reliability that multiple wavelengths and tunable optics will support.  Verizon has demonstrated pulling a fiber off of a PON and having the optical line terminal automatically switch to a backup wavelength within a few seconds. “Having multiple wavelengths available helps when you have to take a PON card out of service,” he said.

NG-PON2 also will enable network operators to load balance traffic, Hicks noted. If one customer on a PON is a wavelength hog, other customers could be moved to a different wavelength.  NG-PON2 equipment currently uses a separate broadband network gateway and gateway router but Verizon is working with Adtran to incorporate BNG functions into the optical line terminal.

“Broadband is no longer a want to service; it’s a have to service.  We’re at 40%, 50% per customer growth in consumption every year. But what’s coming on top of that now is the demand for low latency. Whether it’s augmented reality, virtual reality, or telemedicine, all these things require very low latency. We’re looking for solutions that continue to help with that.

What can we do is simplify our network by driving the costs per bit down,” Hicks said. “We’re very focused on that. We have an internal goal to every year to reduce the cost per bit by 40%. That’s what I charge my team with figuring out how to do, that’s what I charge Adtran and all of our suppliers to do. Our goal is to continue to develop a roadmap on how to reduce the cost per bit so that we can give good value to our customers.  That’s our vision. And so now how do we think about meeting that, especially on a fiber network? We believe that NG-PON2 is the right platform to do that.”


Verizon’s Lee Hicks talks about some of the telco’s networking goals at Adtran Connect. (Photo by FierceTelecom)


Other elements of the Verizon network roadmap:

  • The company will consolidate real estate across its wireless, residential and business networks into what Hicks called “shared hub sites” for the “aggregation and service edge.” These could be central offices, points of presence or C-RAN huts, he said.
  • Verizon currently has more than 40 platforms and 200,000 network elements, including some that are up to 30 years old, that will be decommissioned.
  • The company’s platform “allows us to do circuit emulation” to support customers currently using DS-1 or Sonet services, which will be converted to Ethernet at the central office
  • Services such as FiOS, virtual private networks and others will share an uplink
  • The company will manage the network using a base network controller (BNC) that will use standard interfaces to an orchestration and abstraction network in place of traditional vendor-specific element management systems


On Network Automation, Telemetry and Control, Hicks said Verizon is using OpenDaylight for its Base Network Controller (BNC), which is the focal point for gathering streaming telemetry from network elements.

“The model there is we’re going to create standard interfaces to our orchestration and extract the network,” Hicks said. “Southbound from the BNC, we will use industry standards, things like NETCONF and YANG models for provisioning, and then we’ll use OpenFlow to do network control. We’re going to be using this to do telemetry.”

In the past, Hicks said every Verizon service had its own set of network probes to gather data, which was then put into separate data lakes with their own set of analysis tools.

“We’re not going to be buying probes anymore,” Hicks said. “We’re going to be using the intelligence that’s in the network elements themselves and using streaming telemetry to gather all that. We’re going to be bringing it to a single data lake and then doing analytic engines on top of that with closed-loop automation.

“Our vision is on this new network where I have a single data lake, without probes, that I can then do closed-loop automation,” Hicks concluded.

5 thoughts on “Verizon’s Network Roadmap includes NG-PON2 and Open Daylight

  1. NG-PON2 characteristics:

    -NGPON2 (TWDM ) expansible from 40Gbps: 4 wavelengths @ 10Gbps per wavelength today moving to 8x80Gbps in future
    -Bonding capable: Multiple wavelengths may be channel-bonded to provide > 10Gbps services with standards work in progress
    -Symmetrical and asymmetrical bit rates to fit any service – Supports 10Gbps down per wavelength and 10Gbps up or 2.5Gbps Up per wavelength
    -Tunable: ONU’s utilize tunable optical to dynamically tune to provisioned wavelength(s)
    -Coexistence: wavelength mux to combine NG-PON2 wavelengths to single fiber, and co-existence
    element to combine other technologies to single fiber with NG-PON2
    -Point-to-point WDM capabilities on the same infrastructure (4-8 wavelengths)

  2. Earlier this week at the Adtran Connect conference in Huntsville, Alabama, Verizon’s Lee Hicks spoke about the need to have more fiber and fiber equipment installed deep into its network.

    “We are dramatically expanding our fiber equipment in support primarily of C-RAN and densification for wireless, 5G is going to require deep fiber, but as well as for our wireline access,” said Hicks, vice president of network planning for Verizon. “To have fiber deep in the network is clearly the way to go.”
    “Recently at Verizon we started a program that we call One Fiber. It’s not rocket science, but for us, it was big. The idea was that we were going to take all of our different business units—whether it’s a wireless business unit or wireline business units—and we were going to plan for our fiber needs as one. Like, ‘Good idea,’ right? But believe us, for us, this was a big thing to do.”

    Hicks said Verizon is going through the effort of bundling all of the fiber assets it had built with Fios, all of its wireless fiber assets and all of its Verizon business assets that were formally under MCI into one inventory.

    “We’re making build and buy decisions now as one in terms of where we go,” Hicks said. “It all starts with a deep base of fiber. And then we looked ahead and said ‘What’s needed for the future of access on fiber?’ Obviously, we have fiber deep in the network; we’re not looking to change our direction and go with fiber to the node or any of that kind of interim steps. We are believers in bringing fiber all the way to the customers and that will continue. Our future needed to build upon that fiber investment that we already have.”

    Hicks said Verizon has had some great vendor partners over the years with its fiber deployments, but there’s more work to be done on things like driving down the overall cost of installing fiber and making splicing easier.

    “We worked really hard to figure out what are the best ways to deploy fiber,” Hicks said. “We’ve had some great partners that have helped us figure out ways to drive down costs in the ODM (original design manufacturer.) We’re seeing a lot of those today. That innovation continues and needs to continue. We’re very focused on doing that.”

    Hicks said Verizon has thousands of real estate locations around the globe and that the telco is looking at sharing those assets. “Whether it’s wireline or wireless, our goal is we’re going to share our sites together,” he said. “We used to have separate wireless sites, separate wireline sites, and we’re now bringing those altogether. We can go deep into the network. We have COs, we have POPs, we have C-RAN huts, let’s use these all as a common asset for our network, whether we’re serving wireline or wireless customers.”

    “And then we’re going to create shared hub sites. These are higher in the network. This is where you do your aggregation. This is where your service edges are. I have shared access sites and shared hub sites. It’s dramatic for us, a dramatic simplification in how we look at our real estate.”

    Hicks said Verizon was working on the age-old problem of modernizing its transport platform in order to get rid of legacy equipment. He said Verizon probably has more than 40 legacy platforms and 200,000 network elements, some of which are at least 30 years old.

    “We can’t get rid of them because customers have service on them,” he said. “This platform that we’ve developed with our partners allows us to do circuit emulation. I’m going to be able to decommission probably 200,000 network elements and over 40 different platforms, and be left at the end of the day with just a couple of different platforms that you’ve got to support.

    “You think about the operational simplicity of that, of being able to do that. It’s like we’re going to be able to operate the network with a fraction of the people that it takes. Our maintenance contracts are going to be dramatically simplified. And we’re going to be able to convert our core network to 100% Ethernet. No SONET or TDM left at the core of the network. So it’s a big deal for us.”

  3. Next-generation PON: The next step for GPON

    Nokia’s universal next-generation PON approach converges several key NG-PON technologies into one solution. It lets you connect XG-PON1, XGS-PON or TWDM-PON optical network terminations using one line card and a platform that is already widely deployed for GPON. With our solution, you can make simple, flexible and efficient network upgrades to 10G and beyond.

  4. Verizon touts NG-PON2 tech after 8-gig Tampa trial 10/31/2018

    Verizon says it has achieved speeds of 8 gigabits per second with NG-PON2 technology on its Tampa, Fla., fiber network using Calix gear. Vice President Lee Hicks explained to attendees at a Calix conference this week why Verizon will switch all its business units to the fiber-based platform.

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