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GPON Network Inventory

28 September 2023
Melanie Gomersall

Trusted by:

  • Vodafone
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  • BC Hydro
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Gigabit Passive Optical Networks deliver significant advantages but to tap into their potential, effective inventory management is critical. What do you need to know to ensure the right outcome for GPON investments?

Passive Optical Networks (GPON or otherwise) deliver significant benefits to both the operator and the customer but in common with most network technology advances, deployment isn’t always straightforward. One of the challenges GPON networks present relates to managing inventory, and we’ll examine it in the blog.

First, let’s quickly remind ourselves about PON basics. PON uses a single fibre strand over the “last mile” to deliver services to multiple end-users. This means it’s inherently efficient as in so doing it reduces the infrastructure and material costs of the alternative, legacy active point-to-point systems.

PON also comes in different guises. They include GPON, APON, BPON and 10G-PON (XG-PON). In this blog, we’ll focus on the first of those. GPON (Gigabit PON) is currently the most ubiquitous version of the technology. Its principal characteristic is using one wavelength for downstream traffic and another for upstream traffic.

When it comes to GPON, the question for network operators (and the one we’ll consider here) is how to deploy it successfully and thus maximise its value. The answer, in large part, falls within the domain of Network Inventory Management. PON assets need to be operated and managed alongside legacy network infrastructure using a unified strategy in order to perform optimally. They also need to be deployed in an optimal manner, aligned with all ongoing network investments. This presents challenges for your network inventory. Let’s look at the issues in more detail.

GPON network inventory challenges

What to do about registration?

GPON network registration is far more complex than is the case for registration in legacy networks. Put bluntly, it’s difficult to do. This may seem counter-intuitive given that GPON technology is reasonably simple (it is, after all, passive) but fail to master the registration requirements and GPON networks won’t perform optimally.

The problem is essentially that registration requires multiple steps and GPON components including active network registration, passive networks registration, Physical Network Inventory registration, Logical Network Inventory registration, registration of relationships to other networks, Telephone number management, Network Auto Discovery and Reconciliation, and Service Fulfilment must all be tracked individually.

This presents difficulties for most operational platforms, which often can’t handle such complex PON registration requirements in a single system. The standard workaround, – more than one hard-to-manage point solution – just kicks the problem down the road. Centralizing Network Inventory Management can solve this.

Network activity is complex in Passive Optical Networks

In simple terms, workflow and order management in legacy networks are addressed by planning infrastructure that matches customer and service requirements. Not so with GPON. The sequencing of actions in GPON necessitates a far more granular management requirement which, in turn, needs a Network Planning and Inventory solution that can support integral work order management functions if the all the tasks in the network rollout and operational phases are to be handled effectively.

Keeping on top reconciliation is vital

Reconciliation of system data is another critical challenge in GPON. This needs to be updated regularly from the live and deployed network. If the correct processes aren’t rigidly adhered to, data quality will be compromised with knock-on, negative effects. To minimize this an interface can be built to the network elements to retrieve actual network information but regardless, it is critical to also for you to be able to access a Network Planning and Network Inventory system that can take a snapshot of the (NMS/EMS and NE) data and compare it to information stored in its database and updated daily according to scheduled reconciliation programs. This is critical to ensuring that accuracy is maintained.

Achieving a unified view is difficult

Achieving a unified view of operations is challenging at the best of times. All too often disparate elements and systems are not sufficiently synchronised with each other. This causes issues for process automation (where a project revolves around inventory and the accuracy of its data), a problem made worse by GPON build-out. Designing and activating a service, managing capacity, troubleshooting and more are difficult or even impossible to optimise without a clear view of the service path. Operators must have a clear, accurate picture of inventory in order to compare and reconcile inventory data with live network data as required.

Optimal performance with VC4-IMS Network Planning and Network Inventory

To successfully deploy GPON, a network planning and inventory system that can integrate with the GPON Network Management System (NMS) and/or Network Equipment (NE) to keep the GPON network performing optimally is table stakes. VC4-IMS Network Inventory does this.

VC4’s solutions help operators to plan and manage their network investments efficiently and effectively via solutions that span across their entire infrastructure and grow with the business. Built and deployed for over 20 years, VC4 has developed and delivers a complete OSS suite with all functionalities available in a single application. All the GPON registration functionality discussed in this blog is available in its VC4-IMS Network Inventory system.