Paper weighs pros, cons of passive optical LANs

Aug. 1, 2012
Document from the Fibreoptic Industry Association confronts commercial/political posturing from both sides and provides technical detail on the uses, benefits and drawbakcks of POLs.

A paper authored by Mike Gilmore, technical director with the Fibreoptic Industry Association (FIA), weighs the pros and cons of passive optical local area networks (passive optical LANs). Gilmore begins the two-page paper by recognizing that despite considerable discussion of the topic over several months, "confusion abounds about exactly what a POL is and how it maps to the wider landscape of telecommunications infrastructure options within premises," later saying, "The purpose of this article is to describe POLs and to discuss some of the claims being made for them."

Gilmore sizes up the "pro" and "con" camps, saying that the former sees POL as "a logical extension of the FTTP [fiber to the premises] environment into commercial premises ..." and the latter sees promotion of POL as "a desperate need to sell products developed for the FTTx market into a different customer-base due to the failure of the FTTx market." The FIA is a U.K.-based organization and early in the paper, Gilmore remarks, "... not that we have much FTTP in the U.K."

With the commercial-political discussion put aside, the paper gets into technical detail about what a passive optical LAN is, what it is intended to accomplish, its benefits and drawbacks.

In his conclusion, Gilmore states, "When all is said and done, a POL is a system solution ... One has to look at the operational benefits and disadvantages at a system level and then, having been told the truth by all the suppliers, an informed decision can be made." One of the purposes of the paper is to equip potential POL users with enough information - and the appropriate questions to ask - to help ensure they get truthful information from suppliers.

You can download the Passive Optical LAN paper from the FIA here.

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