The Future Looks Bright for Passive Optical LAN (POL)

Posted in: Blog | March 10, 2016 | 0 comments

ABcom participated in the recent 2016 Tellabs Partner Conference held near Washington D.C. The location of the conference was appropriate given the concentration of Passive Optical LAN (POL) installations in the D.C. area.

Passive Optical LAN (POL) is based on the proven network access solution implemented in Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) deployments nationwide. While currently only 1 in 11 homes in the United States of America benefit from fiber optic cabling delivering High Speed Internet Access (HSIA), High Definition Television (HDTV), and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony, the maturity of the hardware and software makes it ideal for implementation in the enterprise space.

Components of the POL Network (refer to the POL diagram attached courtesy of the Association for Passive Optical LAN;

Optical Line Terminal (OLT) – Typically installed in the data center or near the core network switch and outputs each Passive Optical Network (PON) port via a single strand of singlemode fiber optic cabling.

Optical Network Terminal (ONT) – Edge device that converts the PON signal to the traditional copper Ethernet interface (PC, VoIP Phone, printer, etc.)

Passive Optical Splitters – Placed between the OLT and ONTs to replicate downstream traffic and combine upstream traffic.

POL technical advantages compared to legacy Local Area Network (LAN) solutions:

  1. Flattens the LAN
  2. Simplifies Moves, Adds, and Changes (MAC) to the LAN
  3. Can extend up to 20 km (12 miles)
  4. Is inherently secure

POL financial advantages:

  1. Can reduce floor space by eliminating Telecommunications Rooms (TRs)
  2. Can eliminate dedicated electrical and Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning(HVAC) for TRs
  3. Eliminates midspan network equipment
  4. Singlemode fiber optic cabling is smaller and lighter which reduces pathway consumption
  5. Singlemode fiber optic cabling costs less than comparable copper cabling
  6. Structured cabling is essentially future-proofed; technology advancements will only require active endpoint upgrades

Major POL installations today:

  1. Sandia National Laboratory – over 100,000 POL ports
  2. 95% of US Department of Defense
  3. 80% of US Federal Agencies


While the conference speakers included representatives of the United States military, worldwide hospitality providers, medical facilities, assisted living communities, and education, the market update provided by industry analysts indicated that POL is still in the early lifecycle of adoption and is moving toward the early growth phase on the technology adoption lifecycle curve. ABcom is pleased to be an early adopter with a Tellabs active and CommScope/TE physical layer POL network access solution serving our daily network and VoIP telephony needs.

ABcom is proud to be a Tellabs Integration Partner and a CommScope/TE Certified Design/Installation Partner. As the adoption of POL continues to increase, ABcom is uniquely qualified to support our valued clients’ migration to a POL network architecture.


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