This paper reviews the future directions of next generation passive optical networks. A discussion on standardized 10 Gb/s passive optical network (PON) systems is first presented. Next, new technologies that facilitate multiple access beyond 10 Gb/s time division multiple access (TDMA)-PONs will be reviewed, with particular focus on the motivation, key technologies, and deployment challenges. The wavelength division multiplexed (WDM) PON will be discussed and in combination with TDMA, the hybrid WDM/TDMA PON will be reviewed in the context of improving system reach, capacity, and user count. Next, discussions on complementary high-speed technologies that provide improved tolerance to system impairments, capacity, and spectral efficiency will be presented. These technologies include digital coherent detection, orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA), and optical code division multiple access (OCDMA).
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