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One of the most promising technologies for high-speed access to the Internet are Passive Optical Networks as they provide high data rates at low cost. The paper integrates network coding into the Ethernet Passive Optical Network architecture to increase downlink throughput by up to 50% without changing the hardware. In contrast to previous work, the authors' suggest to code packets not only between pairs of nodes but also between an arbitrary number of nodes forming a cycle. The paper characterizes the expected gain analytically and by means of simulations and investigates the trade-off between queuing delay, traffic variability, and throughput gain. The paper shows that in practical scenarios, a simple scheme already achieves a reasonable amount of the maximum possible coding gain.
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