FOA adds Optical LAN (OLAN) certification

Association has developed a curriculum of courses on the passive-optical-network technology, leading to the FOA’s CFOS/L specialist certification.

Sep 27th, 2013

The Fiber Optic Association (FOA) has added a new certification covering Optical LANs (OLANs), a network architecture sometimes referred to as “passive optical LAN” or “passive optical network,” and which the FOA describes as “one of the fastest-growing applications in fiber optics.” The FOA has worked with industry companies to create a curriculum for courses, which will be offered at FOA-approved schools and will lead to the FOA CFOS/L specialist certification. FOA-approved schools will begin offering OLAN courses and CFOS/L certification this fall.

When announcing the new certification, the FOA said, “OLANs are the next generation of LAN technology based on fiber-to-the-home networks. Typical LANs used today were developed 30 years ago based on premises telephone networks for PBXes. These LANs use unshielded twisted-pair wiring in a star architecture, with options for fiber optics in the backbone or directly to the desktop. The cabling systems for these LANs have struggled to keep up with Ethernet LAN speed updates for two decades.”

OLANs, on the other hand, are “based on singlemode optical fiber with virtually unlimited bandwidth,” the FOA said, and “are being adopted by users for their lower costs, increased security, lower power consumption and savings in the use of natural resources, especially the expensive copper used in LAN wiring.”

Related webinar: Passive Optical LANs Explained – delivered by FOA president Jim Hayes

They are based on the technology and products used in more than 100 million fiber-to-the-home installations around the globe, the FOA reminded. “OLANs use FTTH passive optical network [PON] or point-to-point [P2P] architecture on singlemode fiber covered in international communications standards. The PON architecture greatly reduces the cost of the network and, of course, the large numbers of installations worldwide create an economy of scale that reduces the cost even more. These two factors give OLANs a major advantage in cost and bandwidth for upgrades over conventional LANs.

“OLANs are based on a unique cabling architecture and singlemode fiber, which are new to many premises cabling installers. Plus, the PON architecture for POLs requires different design and testing processes. The FOA CFOS/L curriculum focuses on the unique aspects of OLANs to ensure that contractors and installers are properly trained for OLAN projects. Network owners and IT managers also will find the FOA OLAN program instructive to understand this new technology.”

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