Fiber optic cables revolutionized internet service by allowing internet service providers to provide much faster upload and download speeds and higher bandwidth. Traditional phone lines and coaxial cables cannot match the data transmission capabilities of fiber optics.
If you are constructing, maintaining, or supporting a gigabit passive optical network (GPON) fiber optic system for a commercial or residential network, it is essential to understand how fiber optics works and its advantages compared to cable and dial-up connectivity. Knowing the science behind fiber optics provides a solid foundation for evaluating modern GPON fiber optic equipment.
In a passive optical network, end users access the internet and receive data via fiber optic cables. GPON is the most recent standard of passive optical networks that deliver data at gigabit speeds. Fiber optic cables in a GPON system efficiently transfer information via beams of light.
Laser technology gives manufacturers exquisite control over light production, allowing them to deliver pulses of light for short durations and at precise times. The transmission of information through a GPON network at gigabit speeds depends on the fiber quality and advanced signal processing by the processing units at both ends of the network.
Sending electrical current through wires and circuitry generates heat. The buildup of heat in electrical components shortens their lifespans, slows them down, and forces manufacturers to use expensive, bulky fans to keep parts cool. The laser light used for fiber optic cables does not generate heat, so they can transmit information at blazingly fast speeds without damaging the network or overheating.
Fiber optic cable would not be useful for internet connections unless it could reliably transmit a precise light pulse from one end of a long cable to the other. To achieve this engineering feat, the researchers who developed fiber optic technology had to discover ways to make light behave in new ways.
Fiber optic cables contain specialized materials that reflect light internally within the wire, preventing the light from dissipating as it does in the open air. The cladding consists of a material with a low index of refraction, such as polymethyl methacrylate, which is 95% more efficient than a standard copper wire. When light travels within the cable, it reflects off the cladding and continues to travel even if the wire bends or coils.
Fiber optic cable is the core element of a GPON fiber network, but it could not work without control systems to manage signals. The GPON handles incoming signals from the internet service provider (ISP), uploaded information from the consumers’ devices, and point-to-point transfer information.
The Optical Line Terminal handles information flow at the ISP’s end (or headend), together with the wireless digital multiplexer (WDM) and the amplifier. At the customer’s end, the Optical Network Terminal (or Optical Network Unit) directs information within the local network. Examples of ONT products include the Alcatel-Lucent 7342 ISAM FTTU ONT and the NEC ME200 Series ONT.
Each part of the GPON fiber system works together to provide information:
Fiber optic cables often carry signals to large networks that serve multiple terminals, computers, and other devices. The pattern of light that travels along the fiber optic cable includes a combination of different signals through multiplexing.
The medium of light makes multiplexing easier. While electrons are all identical, photons of light can differ in their wavelength or color.
In GPON fiber optic systems, multiplexing allows information to spread in both directions along the cable. Signals from the users’ computers (via the GPON ONT / GPON ONU) are one frequency, while signals from the GPON OLT are on a different frequency.
GPON network equipment connects the internet service providers to the local area networks or metropolitan area networks that serve individual customers or groups of customers. Look carefully at the features of each piece of equipment and compare them with the features that you expect the users of your network to need. Popular GPON fiber system brands include:
If you don’t have experience with networking technology, consult an expert with experience in the industry for help evaluating different brands and models before you buy GPON network equipment.
Setting up a top-of-the-line GPON network can require a considerable investment. If you need to keep costs in check, try to sell GPON network equipment that you no longer need. Not only do you offset some of your expenses, but you can also give others in the business community a chance to buy the equipment they need for their GPON networks at a lower price.
Starting in the 1980s, eNetwork Supply has developed a reputation for quality new and refurbished computer equipment. Our business thrived through the birth and expansion of the World Wide Web. Our experience gives us a deeper understanding of the technological underpinnings of modern GPON systems.
Our technicians can help you select quality cables, servers, boards, and other components for efficient, high-performance GPON systems. Whether you are building a GPON fiber optic system from scratch or upgrading your existing system, we can guide you through the process of choosing the right equipment for you. Visit our website or call (312) 283-5983 to buy from us or sell to us today.