The Ethernet passive optical network (EPON) is one of the most viable optical access technologies for the provision of broadband services to users. However, the scalability of EPON has become a limiting factor in realizing network architecture with large coverage and a high number of subscribers. EPONs with longer reach and higher split ratios have been successfully demonstrated by researchers to overcome the physical limitations of reach and split ratio of the standard PON architecture. Nevertheless, the 1 Gb/s bandwidth that is shared among a larger number of users degrades the efficiency of EPON especially in terms of the data rate utilized by each user. In this paper, we propose a simple active remote node (RN) with a media access control (MAC) forwarding scheme for an EPON network to achieve improved network performance and overcome bandwidth limitations arising from higher split ratios. The scheme works in conjunction with EPON protocols and does not modify the underlying functionalities of the network. The simulation results show a large improvement in latency (up to of improvement) and up to 18% of enhancement in capacity or a 16% increase in the number of users with the use of the active RN structure.
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