TP imageWe sometimes get into arguments over the most minute topics. For instance, people argue whether the toilet paper roll should feed over the top or from underneath.  In the grand scheme, does it really matter?

There has been a lot of buzz lately about using PON (Passive Optical Network) in the enterprise. While I am not going to get into the pros and cons of using PON versus point-to-point Ethernet, it warrants mentioning the two main PONs in use today—EPON (Ethernet Passive Optical Network) and GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network). Many of you will be scratching your heads asking, “EPON, what’s that?”

Most of you have only heard about GPON since that has been the PON technology chosen by cable television service providers; however, EPON may be a better choice for enterprise applications. Without getting into the nuts and bolts of the differences, suffice it to say that GPON is based on International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standards and is optimized for service provider use. EPON is based on familiar Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards and is better suited for Enterprise use. Some will argue about the efficiencies of the framing, packets and payloads of each transport protocol; however, at the end of the day end users will not notice a difference.

PON Solution imageWhat can make a difference are the implementation options. With EPON, if you choose optical line terminations (OLT) and optical network units (ONU) that are DPoE (DOCSIS provisioning of EPON) compliant, then you can mix and match equipment from multiple vendors and thus avoid vendor lock in.

Normally in a PON installation you rip out all the Ethernet distribution and edge switches, but if you use an EPON ONU that is small form pluggable (SFP)-based, then you can keep those brand new Ethernet switches and run PON on their uplinks.

And if you are contemplating the “need for speed” and require something faster than the relativity slow 2.5 gigabit per second downstream maximum bandwidth available on GPON, then you need to look at the 10G EPON products shipping in volume today.

Which way does the toilet paper in my house go? You’ll just have to visit me and find out.

About the Author

David Hall

David Hall is a global solutions manager within the Enterprise division at CommScope, a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks. Located in Claremont, North Carolina, he manages the team responsible for growth of fiber solutions and pre-terminated solutions, as well as expanding thought leadership in data center architectures and applications.

Mr. Hall joined CommScope in 2005 as global product manager for fiber cables, where he was responsible for product management of CommScope fiber cables sold throughout the world. As fiber applications manager, he and his team aided customers when expertise in fiber optic applications, design, product identification, and product positioning was required. While holding the position of manager of application design services within the Global Services Business Unit, his team provided infrastructure design and engineering services for CommScope Enterprise customers as well as high level pre-sales technical consultation services for the CommScope sales team.

Previously, Mr. Hall worked for Corning in various roles including product development, product management, technical support, marketing and applications engineering. He holds the designation of Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD), holds several patents in the field of fiber optics and has authored several articles in industry publications.

Mr. Hall earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Dallas.

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