What’s EPON?

Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON), defined by IEEE 802.3ah, is a point to multipoint (Pt-MPt) network topology implemented with passive optical splitters, along with optical fiber PMDs that support this topology. EPON is based upon a mechanism named MPCP (Multi-Point Control Protocol), which uses messages, state machines, and timers, to control access to a P2MP topology. Each ONU in the P2MP topology contains an instance of the MPCP protocol, which communicates with an instance of MPCP in the OLT. On the basis of the EPON/MPCP protocol lies the P2P Emulation Sublayer, which makes an underlying P2MP network appear as a collection of point-to-point links to the higher protocol layers (at and above the MAC Client). It achieves this by prepending a Logical Link Identification (LLID) to the beginning of each packet, replacing two octets of the preamble. In addition, a mechanism for network Operations, Administration and Maintenance (OAM) is included to facilitate network operation and troubleshooting.