Fiber to the premises has promised to increase the capacity in telecommunications access networks for well over 30 years. While it is widely recognized that optical-fiber-based access networks will be a necessity in the shortto medium-term future, its large upfront cost and regulatory issues are pushing many operators to further postpone its deployment, while installing intermediate unambitious solutions such as fiber to the cabinet. Such high investment cost of both network access and core capacity upgrade often derives from poor planning strategies that do not consider the necessity to adequately modify the network architecture to fully exploit the cost benefit that a fiber-centric solution can bring. DISCUS is a European Framework 7 Integrated Project that, building on optical-centric solutions such as long-reach passive optical access and flat optical core, aims to deliver a cost-effective architecture for ubiquitous broadband services. DISCUS analyzes, designs, and demonstrates end-to-end architectures and technologies capable of saving cost and energy by reducing the number of electronic terminations in the network and sharing the deployment costs among a larger number of users compared to current fiber access systems. This article describes the network architecture and the supporting technologies behind DISCUS, giving an overview of the concepts and methodologies that will be used to deliver our end-to-end network solution.
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Funding: European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under
grant agreement no. 318137 (Collaborative project “DISCUS”) and Science Foundation Ireland under grants nos. 12/IA/1270 and 10/CE/I1853