Why passive optical LANs are the IT backbone to future proof today’s enterprise networks
As businesses undergo digital transformations to remain competitive, they need to provide an IT backbone that is fast, secure and reliable, while exceeding growing bandwidth needs. What they are finding is that existing copper cabling cannot keep pace.
IT executives are constantly being challenged with the need for greater performance and bandwidth in their enterprise networks. The demand for more elaborate security coupled with superior scalability and reliability at lower costs is at an all time high. The cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, connected cars and mobile devices are all driving the need, not only for wireless capabilities to be enhanced, but also for stronger wireline technologies.
To support this massive influx in technology applications, enterprises must look at installing a state-of-the-art IT backbone – one that is fast, secure and reliable, with the future in mind. The Association of Passive Optical LAN (APOLAN), a non-profit organization comprised of individuals and companies driving the education and implementation of passive optical LAN, is the champion for Passive Optical LAN (POL) technologies. This next generation networking is the answer to the headaches IT executives in enterprises are facing, and will continue to face as technological progress advances.
POLs provide an abundance of advantages over traditional copper cabling, and below are ten key benefits outlined by APOLAN that will help enterprises move more effortlessly in to the digital age and beyond.
Passive optical LAN (POL) technology reduces both capital and operational costs because less equipment is involved, and there are lower energy and cooling needs. This makes the technology easier to deploy and maintain than traditional copper-based LANs. In addition, POL requires less frequent upgrading (about every ten years or so). Compared this to every five to seven years with copper and the numbers begin to add up, in the long run.
Powering it down
POL technology eliminates the need for workgroup access switches, which in turn reduces or eliminates the impact on power and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) in the wiring closets. It also gets rid of the high maintenance costs associated with switches and reduces those costs for power and cooling.
A network space saver
Copper-based LANs demand telecom rooms, but POLs – with their reduced equipment and cabling requirements as well as lower power and cooling needs – take up very little space in buildings. This reduces or in some cases eradicates the need for wiring closets, which translates into valuable space savings.
More scalable and available
Given the changes that an increasingly digital world demands, network backbone technologies will have to be highly scalable to address bandwidth needs and must do so with no unplanned interruptions. POLs offer higher rates of scalability and availability compared with copper-based LANS.
Up and running faster
Passive optical LANs require fewer components and are essentially less complex than copper-based LANs, which means they can be deployed faster and maintained more easily. This is a real boon for IT teams where time is a precious commodity.
Faster path to certification
Another time-saver when compared with copper-based LANs relates to the certification for POLs. Certification for copper-based networks can take several weeks, while it normally only takes just over three days for POLs.
Getting ready for 5G
The new mobile networks emerging, such as 5G, hold the promise of significant improvements on the current 4G standard, including as much as 1,000 times the bandwidth, 100 times more connected devices and five nines availability (99.999 per cent). This move will impact both wireless and wired networks, and expected gains from the migration to 5G will rely on efficient and reliable optical networks.
More future proofing
POLs also help enterprises future-proof their infrastructures. One way is that as technology evolves, it’s the active endpoints that will need to be refreshed, not the network itself. The lifespan of a POL solution is predicted to be as long as 30 years, compared with five to eight years for Ethernet solutions. This is a significant improvement.
The long run
Passive optical LANs can reach much further than copper wiring – more than 12 miles compared with around 300 feet for copper. Eliminating distance constraints provides tremendous improvements in the design and deployment opportunities for both large and small campus networks or multi-story buildings.
Making it green
With minimal power consumption and air-conditioning needs and reduced equipment demands, POLs can help drive environmentally friendly green initiatives. The technology supports both Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Green Globe certifications.
As APOLAN and its members continue to educate enterprises, as well as organisations in the health, hospitality, construction and education sectors, about the substantial benefits that POL brings, they begin to understand why the future of networks is only going one-way – optical. All the technological advancements in the world will be of little significance if networks are unable support them, so it's no wonder that POL is being implemented, or at least thought about, by those that require a reliable, scalable, cost effective and secure LAN solution. It’s the only way to future proof your network.