December 20, 2015

A Physical Layer Perspective on Access Network Sharing

  • Pfeiffer T.

Unlike in copper or wireless networks, there is no sharing of resources in fiber access networks yet, other than bit stream access or cable sharing, in which the fibers of a cable are let to one or multiple operators. Sharing optical resources on a single fiber among multiple operators or different services has not yet been applied. While this would allow for a better exploitation of installed infrastructures, there are operational issues which still need to be resolved, before this sharing model can be implemented in networks. Operating multiple optical systems and services over a common fiber plant, autonomously and independently from each other, can result in mutual distortions on the physical layer. These distortions will degrade the performance of the involved systems, unless precautions are taken in the infrastructure hardware to eliminate or to reduce them to an acceptable level. Moreover, the infrastructure needs to be designed such as to support different system technologies and to ensure a guaranteed quality of the end-to-end connections. In this paper, suitable means are proposed to be introduced in fiber access infrastructures that will allow for shared utilization of the fibers while safeguarding the operational needs and business interests of the involved parties.

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