Paper explores when to use passive optical networks in government facilities

Document from CommScope examines GPON versus EPON, emphasizes the technology’s value in secure applications.

A white paper authored by CommScope explores the many considerations of deploying passive optical networks (PONs) in government facilities. Titled “Knowing When to Deploy PON for Federal Applications,” the 12-page document examines technological options such as EPON (Ethernet PON) versus GPON (Gigabit PON), emphasizes PON’s applicability to secure environments, and illustrates multiple applications for the technology.

In a blog post announcing the white paper’s availability, CommScope technical sales director for federal government solutions Kevin Gleason commented, “Federal IT managers must understand a few key issues when considering deployment of a PON network. They must conduct a thorough review of their critical needs as they relate to sometimes-conflicting objectives of doubling down on IT investments while at the same time providing for the emerging needs in both application and bandwidth. With a 2014 budget of $38 billion, IT infrastructure will account for nearly half of all funds the federal government plans to spend on IT. This really drives the ‘squeeze’ being placed on federal CIOs and CTOs to do more with less.”

Within the white paper, the EPON/GPON dynamic is detailed. It reads in part, “EPON is a native Ethernet solution that leverages the features, compatibility and performance of the Ethernet protocol. GPON, on the other hand, is fundamentally a transport protocol that leverages the techniques of a synchronous optical network (SONET), synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) and generic framing protocol (GFP) to transport Ethernet signals.”

The paper also describes and illustrates the deployment of PONs within a military base and a multistory, multiagency building. It addresses security issues by explaining, “Inherent security features include the elimination of electromagnetic emissions and resistance to radio frequency interference. In cases where network cabling is used to transmit unencrypted classified National Security Information (NSI) through areas of lesser classification or control, PON solutions can typically be used with either hardened or alarmed carriers.”

Under a heading titled “A practical perspective,” the paper says, “Many industry experts, including CommScope, believe that PON plays an important role in the evolution to more efficient, scalable high-capacity networks. But PON is not a panacea and should be viewed holistically as one of a range of potential solutions. For some applications, traditional copper- or fiber-based Ethernet local area networks may provide a better solution than a PON. For other applications, an integrated network with both PON and traditional distributed Ethernet may be applicable.” The document was developed to help federal CIOs, CTOs and IT managers make more-informed decisions when it comes to whether or not to pursue a strategy involving PONs, the company says.

You can download the white paper here.

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