Ethernet Optics for Access Networks

Secure High-Speed EtherOptics




Nebula has been at the forefront of fiber optic product design since the initial days of fiber deployment.

In the early 1990s, telcos were evaluating strategies for broadband services and viewed fiber as the ‘holy grail’, but could not find a successful business case to support FTTH deployment. Yet, even then, they could see the potential for a bandwidth-rich environment to radically transform the services their customers would use, and in turn, the telecom business.

Working closely with a major carrier, Nebula recognized the challenge telcos faced: how could they begin the transformation of their access networks, ahead of service demands and the cost curves for fiber technology? In 1995, even before local competition was introduced in the United States, Nebula introduced the 10 Mbps Ethernet/Fiber product family—designed to let service providers deliver Ethernet services to business, running over available fiber links. With the Nebula 10 Mbps Ethernet system, carriers could fund fiber deployments with high-bandwidth services to business customers. The flexible Nebula EtherOptic platform let them deploy revenue-generating services, even for a single customer, incrementally deploying cost-effective VFAST customer premise and central office cards as customers subscribed to the service.

As competition was introduced into the local communications markets, Nebula gave service providers an easy way to increase the capacity of their Ethernet services by introducing the VFAST 100 Mbps Ethernet /Fiber cards. Built on the same Nebula EtherOptic platform, VFAST 100 offered a nondisruptive upgrade. Nebula also saw the challenge faced by service providers who needed a cost-effective way to carry traffic between service areas. VFAST Interconnect products let service providers interconnect Ethernet services across another carrier’s territory using leased DS3 or OC3 facilities.

Today there is broad deployment and adoption of broadband services. Now, to remain competitive, carriers and service providers must move beyond fast to gigabit Ethernet speeds. They need to be able to support voice, data, and video services, with unpredictable service mixes, and increasingly two-way communications. However, as we have seen over the first decade of fiber deployments, massive overhauls in advance of service demands is a highly risky business proposition. Service providers need a better alternative.

As service providers are facing the same challenge and the opportunity that telcos first began evaluating in the early 1990s, Nebula is introducing the newest member of the Nebula EtherOptic family – GFAST Gigabit Ethernet solutions. The GFAST GigE system continues Nebula’s track record of timely delivery of cost-effective fiber access solutions that can be deployed, incrementally and profitably, as customer demand dictates.


The 1990’s

  • 1991 First optical amplifiers demonstrated by Bell Labs
  • 1995 Nebula launches their first EtherOptic access product —10 Mbps Ethernet over Fiber for point-to-point Ethernet /IP service delivery. Innovative service providers offer high-speed internet access using Nebula products
  • 1996 US Telecommunications Act —opens local markets to competition

End of the 1990’s

  • Businesses have ‘got’ the internet
  • Service providers rushing to increase access network capacity
  • CLECs proliferating
  • 1999 Nebula increases capacity of EtherOptic products with VFAST100 Mbps Ethernet over fiber system, lets service providers offer Fast Ethernet services

The 21st Century Begins

  • 2003 Nebula introduces 100 Mbps Ethernet over OC3 and DS3 in response to customer demand for solutions that support growing Canadian Interconnect market
  • 2004/2005 FTTH starts to look like more than wishful thinking—Bell, Verizon and SBC announce major, long term projects. But high per-subscriber costs leave ROI in question
  • 2006 Nebula further increases capacity of VFAST 100 Mbps solution with VFAST8x—supports up to 800 Mbps over a single fiber pair.
  • 2009 Nebula scales the capacity by an order of magnitude—launches GFAST Gigabit Ethernet point-to-point and multidrop solutions that take advantage of new GE PON standards.