Residential GPON last mile for network engineers (Telus AS852 and others)

With the growth of gigabit class single fiber GPON last mile services, I imagine a number of people reading the list must have subscribed to such by now.

Something that I have observed, and shared observations with a number of colleagues, is that very often a person who works for ($someAS) lives in a location where you are effectively singlehomed to ($someotherAS). Maybe you bought your house before you got a job with your current employer, or maybe the network you work for doesn’t do residential last mile service at all. Perhaps you work remotely for a regional sized entity that’s a long distance away from where you live.

Therefore necessitating a choice of service from whatever facilities based consumer-facing ISP happens to service your home.

For example, in Seattle, a number of people discovered that they could keep the Centurylink GPON ONT, and remove the centurylink-provided router/modem combo device. Provided that they were able to configure their own router (small vyatta, pfsense box, mikrotik, whatever) to speak a certain VLAN tag on its WAN interface and be a normal PPPoE / DHCP client.

I’m sure there are a lot of people who prefer to run their own home router and wifi devices, and not rely upon a ($big_residential_isp) provided all-in-one router/nat/wifi box with opaque configuration parameters, or no ability to change configuration at all.

Any insights as to what the configuration of the Telus AS852 GPON network looks would be helpful. Or other observations in general on technically-oriented persons who are doing similar with other ILECs.

I don’t have any particular insights for Telus, but there is a huge thread about bypassing Bell ONTs on DSLReports:


Very interesting. Looks like the intention is to bypass the ONT entirely and use a GPON ONT SFP in ones own choice of small home router. If the ISP wants to do some weird TR069 provisioning or other stuff it could be seen as interfering with the proper management of their network if you remove the CPE entirely.

In an ideal world, personally I would be totally fine with keeping a telco provided small ONT configured as a dumb L2 bridge, with one optical interface single strand (SC/APC) going to the ISP, and 1000BaseT to my own router.

I have heard rumors that Telus's GPON deployment is a little bit different depending on when the location was connected to GPON, although I think they've been working towards having a single unified provisioning system. I'm unclear if there are user-impacting differences, I haven't noticed any.

I deal with several sites that are connected to Telus's consumer GPON network. Here are three samples:

1. Telus GPON is terminated to a Telus-provided media converter that provides a copper gigabit ethernet switch. The Telus-supported deployment involves some magic wifi gateway that speaks both DSL and Ethernet for WAN connectivity. Removing the magic box and using standard DHCP from my own networking equipment works fine. This site was amongst Telus's very first GPON deployments.

2. Telus GPON is terminated to a magic GPON SFP. The Telus-supported deployment involves an SFP being provided to CPE they deploy which has an SFP port (in addition to the DSL & Ethernet WAN uplink ports which are also present on that CPE). That SFP instead goes into my own equipment, and standard DHCP works fine. I specifically requested an SFP-based deployment when I ordered the service, and again from the technician that did the install. While the tech was confused why I would care, he was happy to oblige.

3. For a site that was deployed after I was familiar with how it went, I had my equipment at that site pre-configured to do DHCP on my SFP port prior to the technician arriving. The technician was quite happy to dash off to his next appointment when after plugging in the SFP I was able to confirm that everything was working. At that site I don't have any Telus-owned CPE other than their SFP, the technician had reason to provide any.

I have heard rumours that if you want their "Optik TV" service that it simply requires standard-but-undocumented VLAN tagging, but I've never had reason to care to find out.

Telus happily provides >1 IPv4 over DHCP to multiple devices on the interface, and their equipment also happily allocates a /56 in IPv6 land. While there's lot to be unhappy about with Telus, they do a very good job with some of the important basics.


Daniel Dent

I have a Bell Canada gig fibre connection. My first attempt was to bridge their all-in-one box (disaster, unreliable as all hell), second was to set a bunch of rules for inbound traffic. Apart from inbound access being *very* iffy, their device was s_l_o_w.

So I pulled the fibre GBIC, used a small switch to grab the correct VLAN and pointed that at a small Cisco box. Way more flexible, faster and more reliable than Bell’s box. DSLreports had all the info needed to get the correct VLANs