• Posted on Sep 15, 2022

Many internet users never think about what goes on behind the scenes when they get information “from the web.” If you are building, upgrading, or fixing a Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) network, you need to understand how fiber optic systems work.

What Is a Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON)?

A GPON network is a system of interconnected devices that provide a high-speed fiber-optic connection to the internet. Different GPON systems serve residential and commercial customers and contain different features to suit particular needs.

Types of GPON Equipment

The first step in finding the GPON system that is right for you is to understand the function of each part of a GPON network and how they benefit end users.

The Headend

The headend is a central control element that manages the flow of information for a local access network or a metropolitan area network. The headend provides internet service for a large number of customers.

The Optical Line Terminal

The Optical Line Terminal (OLT) is part of the headend that connects the passive optical network to the headend. It contains a router and hardware for converting fiber optic signals from the headend into a format that internet service customers can use.

Wireless Digital Multiplexing

The passive optical network needs to handle multiple signals to and from multiple customers at the same time. The GPON system relies on multiplexing to combine the different signals into a single composite signal.

Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier

Erbium-doped fiber amplifiers strengthen the signals from internet service providers to homes and businesses. Internet users often think of “the web” or “the cloud” as abstractions that exist outside of space or reside within their computers. However, GPON fiber optic internet connectivity depends on the practical need to transmit clear signals from internet service providers.

The Passive Optical Splitter (POS)

The POS splits the light signal from the headend so that the GPON network can transmit the signal to multiple optical network terminals that serve customers in different locations.

The Optical Network Terminal

For Fiber to the Home internet, the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) or Optical Network Unit (ONU) is a computer system on the customer’s property that communicates with the OLT. Different brands of ONT, such as the Alphion AONT series, the ETI Telecom B-FOCUS, and the Comtrend GPON SFU CT-402 are available.

  • Single-Family Unit terminals serve the needs of family homes along with Fiber-to-the-Home internet connections.
  • A Home Gateway Unit supports networks that allow different users within the home to communicate.
  • Mult-Dwelling Units (MDUs) provide network connectivity to complexes such as apartment units that include more than one internet subscriber.

Business consumers can connect to the internet using Single Business Units and Multiple Business Units.

Essential Features of GPON Equipment

If you are buying a Home Gateway Unit or Single-Family Unit for your home internet or their business counterparts, consider the variety of components available and how the different alternatives compare with one another on features that impact the quality of your internet service.

Gigabit Internet

Gigabit internet means internet service with download speeds that are consistently above one gigabit per second (or 128 megabytes per second).

How to Buy GPON Network Equipment for Fiber Optic Systems

The GPON system depends on the interaction between components at the internet service provider’s office (the headend) and the network terminal at the customer-facing side of the network. Each part of the system should be compatible with the other elements for the network to work well.

Optical Line Terminals

When you consider an optical line terminal for your GPON network, keep the following considerations in mind.

  • Does the OLT provide encryption and authenticate data to ensure secure data transmission?
  • Does the OLT provide a usable interface, including a command-line interface?
  • Does the terminal have dynamic bandwidth allocation so it can handle changes in demand?
  • Is the unit reliable and low maintenance to minimize downtime?
  • Does the unit offer a range of connectivity options, including Ethernet and voice over internet protocol (VoIP)?

Optical Network Terminals

A GPON ONT (or GPON ONU) should have the necessary features to satisfy the end user while being easy to service and maintain. Before choosing an ONT, assess the needs of users in the following categories.


Will the ONT support fast connection speeds? For modern networks, Gigabit connection speeds or higher are ideal.

Multiple Dwellings

Will your GPON provide internet to single-family homes or larger networks that include apartment complexes, condominiums, offices, and networks that include more than one internet subscriber? Some GPON components, such as the EchoLife HG850 by Huawei and the Tellabs 1600-70X, do not support MDUs.

Connection to Multiple Devices

If network users need VoIP phone service, plain-old-telephone service (POTS), and television, choose a model of ONT that offers these features. The number of POTS ports varies from 2 (the Adtran Total Access 360) to 48 (the Alphion AONT).

Small Form-factor Pluggable

Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP) design means that equipment has a modular design that easily plugs into the system. GPON SFP components give you a hassle-free way to maintain and upgrade your GPON network.

How to Sell GPON Network Equipment for Fiber Optic Systems

If your old network suffered damage or is out-of-date, you can save money on renovation costs by selling equipment you no longer need. Selling your old equipment for refurbishing and resale reduces costs to other businesses that provide GPON services and supports the business community.

Get New and Refurbished GPON Network Equipment with eNetwork Supply

Don’t rely on guesswork when you need to buy GPON network equipment. Trust eNetwork Supply, the company with a track record of success that spans four decades. Our in-depth knowledge of technical specifications for GPON network technology allows us to help our customers find high-quality products that suit their needs.

Call (312) 283-5983 or fill out our request form online for more information if you want to buy GPON network equipment. Ask us about our buyback program if you want to sell GPON network equipment you no longer need. We look forward to working with you to make your GPON network project a success.