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xPON Powers the Smart Grid

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xPON Powers the Smart Grid

2013/8/5 14:52:00


Beijing Electric Power Corporation (BEPC) is a provincial subsidiary of the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC). It provides service to 4.8 million customers in Beijing and surrounding areas, covering nearly 10,560 sq. miles (17,000 sq. km).


BEPC has been striving to build a Smart Grid and urgently needed to add related systems, particularly distribution automation and smart metering. Their distribution automation system has stringent requirements for network reliability and latency, while smart metering systems call for high network reliability, wide network coverage, and multiservice support. Services include:

  • Real-time power consumption data collection
  • Tariff control

  • Telecontrol

  • Abnormal power consumption analysis

  • Electricity quality analysis

  • Smart meter archive management

  • Data submission to the marketing service management system

However, BEPC faced big challenges.

Network reliability

Conventional wireless public networks (GPRS/CDMA) were not reliable enough. They did not meet requirements for network bandwidth, wide network coverage, and high reliability.

Four-network convergence

China is enthusiastically encouraging “four-network convergence” (smart grid, data, video, and voice networks) and BEPC found it difficult to respond because its existing networks could not support Gigabit Ethernet (GE), Fast Ethernet (FE), Voice over IP (VoIP), Wi-Fi, and Radio Frequency (RF) video interfaces simultaneously. As a result, BEPC’s network was not prepared to meet network requirements in the future.


Huawei offered a field-proven xPassive Optical Network (xPON) solution with all-service interfaces that embrace the Internet of Things (IoT) era. xPON makes it possible to transmit collected data securely, efficiently, and in real time. Huawei’s solution also provided various service interfaces (such as RS232, RS485, GE, and FE) for the user side to accommodate present and future service demands.


Huawei helped install several Optical Line Terminals (OLTs) in the 10 kV power distribution room of each residence building where the OLTs upload data to the control center.

Each OLT provides 16 to 32 Passive Optical Network (PON) ports. Optical fiber composite low voltage cable (OPLC) runs from the PON ports through optical splitters to Huawei MA5621/MA5621A Optical Network Units (ONUs) in each building. The ONUs collect real-time metering information through RS485 cables from meters on each floor.

To support Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) service, other types of OLTs were installed. Each OLT provided 32 to 48 PON ports with OPLC cables running through optical splitters to the Optical Distribution Frame (ODF) before eventually ending at the household power distribution box. A flat-drop cable leads from the household power distribution box to the in-home ONU for broadband Internet, telephone, and TV.


  • Dedicated electric power terminals featuring high security, easy scalability, and easy maintenance
  • Industrial-grade ONUs using a sealed-casting aluminum shell to protect against water, dust, and corrosion that can operate at temperatures as high as 185° F (85° C)
  • ONUs that support 6 kV surge protection for both user-side ports and power supplies
  • ONUs that provide two uplink ports with Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) optical modules. The uplink ports auto-adapt to an Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON), Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON), or GE mode
  • OLTs support GPON, EPON, 10G GPON, and 10G EPON simultaneously and allow a smooth bandwidth evolution to 10 Gbit/s
  • A unified OLT platform and 1+1 redundancy for main control boards and power supplies
  • OLT service boards that are fully compatible, significantly reducing the number of spare parts
  • xPON supports Type B/C/D protection and hand-in-hand protection. Huawei is the first to use dual-uplink (hot backup) technology, in which dual ONU uplinks are connected to upstream devices to eliminate link switchover and ensure service continuity
  • OLTs with Bi-directional Forwarding Detection (BFD) in the upstream direction work with routers and switches for redundancy


Huawei’s xPON solution had many benefits.

  • BEPC optimized its power consumption data collection system into an IP-based one. The new IP-based system streamlines data collection, facilitates metering, and offers two-way communication to remotely manage power consumption, enable automatic smart grid marketing, and enhance service
  • With xPON FTTH, BEPC can gradually implement “four-network convergence,” for bundled services
  • xPON uses an efficient Network Management System (NMS) that does not require a large number of maintenance personnel. As a result, BEPC can easily manage and maintain the entire network


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