GPON technology: what you need to know…

“Broadband, convergence, flatness and mobility” have become priorities for the development of new technologies in the 21st century. Being closest to the end user, Access network (AN) must adapt to changes in technology, service delivery and user experience.

The global demand for access networks today revolves around higher bandwidth, longer transmission distance, lower cost and more environmentally friendly equipment. As such, GPON proves to be an excellent example. A concept that most have certainly already heard of, but which is still misunderstood by the majority. Hence the importance of looking at what this technology really means as well as its real advantages.

What is Technology GPON?
If Passive Optical Network (PON) has been around since the 90s, GPON is the next step in the evolutionary chain. It is a point-to-multipoint access mechanism consisting of a Gigabit ethernet passive optical network (PON). GPON uses Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) and proprietary encapsulation for voice and Ethernet for data. This means that it uses fixed-size cells, instead of variable-size data packets.

A GPON system consists of an Optical Line Terminal (OLT) that connects multiple Optical Network Terminals (ONT/ONU) together using a Passive Optical Distribution Network (ODN). Its main characteristics are the upload and download speed, of 1.25 Gbps and 2.5 Gbps. It protects user data securely and privately via encryption, offers triple play services (VoIP, Data and IPTV) and enables long-range coverage of up to 20 km.

How it works ?
So how does GPON work? It uses encryption to keep user data private and secure. The technology provides upstream and downstream data through the WMD. The operating wavelength there is 1480-1500 nm for downstream and 1260-1360 for upstream. It provides one of the best bandwidths in the industry and enables bandwidth-intensive applications.

GPON technology is also known to provide high QoS (Quality of Service), and manufacturers are working on devices that allow for 10Gbs bandwidth. Internet and voice/telephone services, provided by the ISP, are sent from this point. TV data travels along the single fiber optical distribution network (ODN) until it reaches the passive optical splitter.

Subsequently, the latter divides the light signal into several signals which will be distributed to individual ONT/ONU equipment at the home site or in the enterprise to provide seamless access to services.

What are the advantages from the GPON?
The main advantages of GPON, compared to other types of connection, come from its design which involves fiber optics. As such, it doesn’t have the same limitations as old school twisted pair connections. It has, in fact, several advantages. These include higher connection speeds, because fiber optics in Gigabyte PON networks essentially transfer light, and nothing can beat light, at least in our universe.

As such, gigabyte PONs are capable of transmitting data at very high speeds, up to 2.488 Gb/s, to be exact. The GPON is also energy efficient knowing that, for the signal to be transmitted, it must pass through several points.

However, all of these points are passive as they do not require additional energy to power them. This results in a final energy consumption of a Gigabyte PON much lower than that of an ADSL (0.5 Watts/user against 1.8 Watts/user). This not only makes gigabyte networks less polluting, but also easier and cheaper to maintain.

A typical gigabyte network involves less equipment and components than an older standard network. Since the components are passive, they are more reliable and less expensive to maintain or replace. However, this does not mean that Gigabyte PONs are completely fault proof. They sometimes require the intervention of experts to guarantee optimal operation.

Sanae Raqui / ECO Inspirations

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