Next-generation optical access networks are envisioned to evolve into a converged, high-speed, multiservice platform supporting residential, business, mobile backhaul, and special purpose applications. Moreover, bandwidth demand projections suggest that terabit aggregate capacity may need to be reached in such next-generation passive optical networks (PON). To satisfy these requirements while leveraging the large investments made in existing fiber plants, a wavelength division multiplexed (WDM)-based long-reach PON architecture combined with a multiple access technology that features a passive last-mile split, large per-λ speeds, and statistical bandwidth multiplexing can be exploited. In this paper, the first terabit PON based on hybrid WDM orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) technology is proposed and experimentally verified. To enable high-speed, long-reach transmission with simplified optical network unit (ONU)-side digital signal processing, multiband OFDMA with ONU-side sub-band selectivity is proposed. Design challenges and tradeoffs between analog and digital domain sub-band combining and selection are also discussed. Finally, the experimental setup and results of the first 1.2 Tb/s (1 Tb/s after overhead) symmetric WDM-OFDMA-PON over 90 km straight single-mode fiber and 1:32 passive split, featuring multiband OFDMA, digitally selective ONUs, and a coherent-receiver OLT are presented and analyzed. By supporting up to 800 ONUs with 1.25/10 Gb/s guaranteed/peak rates and exhibiting a record rate-distance product achieved in long-reach PON, the demonstrated architecture may be viewed as promising for future converged terabit optical metro/access.
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