What You Need To Know About Passive Optical Network (PON) Technology

What You Need To Know About Passive Optical Network (PON) Technology







Facts You Should Know About Passive Optical Network (PON) Technology

In a business world where wireless internet connection is in demand, IT solutions companies like House of IT started to rise and offer their services to the public. With their help, more and more companies enjoyed the benefits of passive optical network (PON) technology.

Generally, PON is considered by experts as a significant class of fiber-optic access systems. This technology is classified into two standards: Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON) and Ethernet Passive Optical Networks (EPON). Over the years, its capabilities have helped it gradually acquire a dominant position out there in the market.

More PON technology will be discussed thoroughly below. But before that, let’s get to know the difference between GPON and EPON first.

Difference Between GPON and EPON

  • Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON)

Many businesses today implement the utilization of GPON in their business sites. This is often because of its capacity to upstream and downstream data with the use of a single fiber. This technology’s optical wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) enables it to transmit downstream data on a wavelength of 1490 nm while transmitting upstream data on a 1310 nm wavelength.

Two clouds labelled GPON and EPON side by side

Aside from that, many organizations prefer this technology because of its ability to divide bandwidth among each user depending on the service provider’s allocation.

  • Ethernet Passive Optical Networks (EPON)

Just like GPON, EPON also utilizes WDM with the same optical frequencies. It also uses the downstream wavelength of 1490 nm and the upstream wavelength 1310 nm. What makes it different from GPON is EPON’s full compatibility with other Ethernet standards. That said, it eliminates the need for encapsulation or conversion if your organization wants to connect to Ethernet-based networks.

The Evolution of GPON

When it comes to the adoption of technological advancements, it’s important to see to it that it can still be expanded or upgraded to any next-generation technologies. By doing this, you will be able to avoid the mistakes of past IT professionals like when they initiated the minor deployment of Broadband PON (BPON). During that time, they were unaware that the BPON-based optical distribution network can’t be integrated with advanced innovations. Hence, they wasted much of their resources only to find out that installing a parallel PON upgrade was prohibitive.

Through this experience, experts considered the technology’s capacity to make incremental next-generation upgrades on one optical distribution network (ODN) a part of the requirements. Later on, the economics of real deployments led ITU-T to start working on a GPON reach-extension standard that’s provisionally designated as G.984.re.8.

With this specification, optical amplifiers or signal regenerators are allowed to do the following:

  1. Extend its reach to 60 km.
  2. Raise its split ratio.
  3. Achieve the combination of the two.

The Long-Reach PON

If you take a look at the basic GPON systems available at present, you will see that it can support a physical reach of 20 km at max on a 32-way split. Meanwhile, on a 64-way split, the technology can support a maximum physical reach of 10 km.

Although this may seem sufficient for a lot of deployment cases, industries still look for an extended link budget for longer reach and increased the split ratio. For this reason, the long-reach PON started to gain popularity in the business world.

Here’s why industries are looking for these characteristics:


“..this technology is a great help for companies that respond to customers remotely.”


  • Longer Reach

Reach-extended PONs enable you to simplify your company’s network infrastructure and minimize your operational expenses. Business organizations that make use of PONs that support 100 km maximum physical reach enable central offices to be integrated into a lot of huge metro nodes. With that said, it is clear that this technology is a great help for companies that respond to customers remotely.

  • Increased Split Ratio

It is undeniable that PON technology is driven by the prevalent demand for higher bandwidth. According to experts, the split ratio of 64 or 128 that PON systems deliver can reduce the cost of its subscribers. Although this is the case, it has been renowned that this innovation often makes high rate services as a future promise rather than a present fact. Because of this, operators tend to serve a large number of end-users from each PON through common equipment.

Fundamental Requirements of Reach Extenders

  1. You should see to it that you have a business case that can support the deployment of the reach extenders. Through that, you will be able to get the assurance that your purchase of this technology is cost-effective.
  2. It’s vital that your reach extenders are transparent to the existing GPON OLTs that are situated on the network’s side and the optical network terminations (ONT) on the users’ end.
  3. The reach extenders must be available for early deployment of GPON.

The Optically Amplified PONs

In the present time, it’s a common practice across organizations to make use of optical amplifiers (OA) in GPON. Through this, they can boost their technology’s transmit power and receiver sensitivity. Aside from that, there are also some cases where this action works as an in-line amplifier of the reach extenders’ mid-span.

To help you understand optically amplified PONs better, here are the typical GPON RE business owners encounter:

  • This technology usually has a wavelength filter that can separate upstream and downstream signals.
  • It has an amplifier for every direction.
  • It performs noise limitation by providing bandpass filters in the upstream and downstream directions.

The Remote Protocol Termination

According to experts, the G.984 protocol was designed by experts for a TDM-shared optical tree—not to compete with other robust protocols on point-to-point links. As a matter of fact, the reach extension is just an additional long point-to-point trunk line connected to a point-to-multipoint GPON ODN. Although this is true, the point-to-multipoint specialization on the trunk line of the GPON protocol brings some disadvantages in terms of dynamic range, receiver synchronization, jitter budget, etc. That’s why the remote protocol terminator (RPT) rose up to circumvent these issues.

It is without a doubt that the RTP was designed to host next-generation access technology like high-speed TDM-based PONs and WDM-based PONs. RTP uses the right tools needed for each delay, split ratio, maintenance, existing silicon, existing optical components, software, and budget. With that said, it’s clear that RPT is based on current technology, standards, and components that can be delivered within the usual product development time frame.

Getting to Know the Next-Generation Access

As you can see, the GPON available today has been standardized by professionals all around the world. For this very reason, the optical access community is now talking about technologies that have the potential to revolutionize next-generation access.

These are the high-level requirements for next-generation architecture (NGA) systems prevalent at present:

  1. The coexistence of a working GPON on the same ODN or what experts also call the fiber-lean scenario. In this, it is a must that the NGA supports upgradeability one subscriber at a time.
  2. The improvement of GPON performance in terms of rate, reach and split. This can also include the shared capacity of at least 10Gbps downstream and 2.5 or 5Gbps upstream.
  3. The NGA is required to be flexible and adaptable when it comes to coexistence, support for special-purpose overlays, and upgradeability to higher split ratios.
  4. The volume cost must be comparable to GPON. To explain this further, it’s important that it’s in possession of these characteristics:
  • Its wavelength ranges must be saved for future use.
  • It should have the wavelength-blocking characteristics that enable it to filter and protect the GPON downstream signal from new band interference.
  • Plenty of options should be given for the GPON upstream wavelength reduction. This way, it will be easier to free the spectrum in the future service’ O-band.

Conclusion: What you get with PON Technology for your Business

Man holding a small house labelled PON on one hand and raising a wire connected to it with the other hand

Ever since the year 2009, PON technology has been present in corporate networks. In the early days, this technology was designed by experts to provide millions of homes with telephone, internet, and TV services connections. But in the present time, this PON has been adopted by organizations for its benefits. To name a few, companies that made use of this innovation were able to enjoy a network that’s cheap, power-efficient, fast, and easy to manage.

To delve into detail, here are the main benefits that PON offers to its users:

  • It helps lower your corporate network’s operational costs.
  • It eliminates the need for network switches within the company network.
  • It deters the recurring costs associated with your network’s fabric of Ethernet switches.
  • It reduces the installation cost for a new or upgraded network.
  • It lowers the network energy costs.
  • It simplifies the required network infrastructure.
  • It enables you to reclaim your wiring closet real estate.
  • It allows you to replace large bundles of copper wire cables with small single-mode fiber optic cables.
  • It increases the allowed distance between the data center and desktop.
  • It makes network maintenance cheaper and easier.
  • Unlike copper cables, fiber cables are harder to tap. Hence, the latter is more secure than the former.