Gigabit-speed passive optical LAN on the menu for food maker Marzetti Company

Feb. 4, 2019
T. Marzetti Company implemented the DZS FiberLAN system for a GPON-based passive optical LAN during construction of its new headquarters.

When renowned food producer the T. Marzetti Company constructed a new headquarters facility in Westerville, OH in 2017, it decided to implement a new campus facility to house all employees and operations in one building. Among the many design considerations, a significant one was to find a local area network (LAN) to implement across a four-story building as economically as possible. The ideal solution would enhance performance and security, reduce capital costs, and supply reliable, high-speed internet access for all its department.

T. Marzetti called on Columbus, OH-based UberData Networks, a full-service system integrator, to help select the best solution for the company. UberData provided a proposal for a copper-based LAN and a proposal for a passive optical LAN (POL). The POL proposal presented a 40-percent cost savings versus the copper LAN.

“Another key consideration in the process was the longevity of the network,” the company explained. T. Marzetti Company is no stranger to infrastructure updates; over the years it has undergone multiple recabling processes. For this new-headquarters project, the company’s IT leadership wanted to find a future-ready solution.

“Since I joined T. Marzetti in 2009, we’ve recabled buildings several times,” recalled Kyle Van Buskirk, IT operations manager for T. Marzetti Company. “The more we discussed GPON and talked with UberData Networks about space savings and future bandwidth requirements, the more GPON made sense for our new headquarters.”

“GPON, or Gigabit Passive Optical Network, is a compact, high-performance, fiber-based solution that requires less space while providing greater growth opportunities, decreased power consumption and less time to implement than traditional copper-based solutions,” Marzetti Company further noted.

UberData Networks suggested using the DZS FiberLAN as the backbone for the corporate headquarters.

Jeff Van Horne, UberData Networks’ founder and president, stated, “When we began designing the company’s network, we recommended FiberLAN from DZS because it’s a cost-effective and flexible solution. With DZS products, we streamlined a once-fragmented infrastructure for the entire company’s operations, quickly and efficiently while providing more space for employee work areas and storage.”

“An important factor is space,” DZS stated. “Since the company consolidated its headquarters into one building instead of three, finding creative ways to save space was paramount.”

FiberLAN is DZS’s flagship POL solution. It’s a high-density, high-performance GPON-based POL. “With FiberLAN, T. Marzetti Company has a flexible solution to meet the high bandwidth demands of a corporate headquarters and improve its infrastructure lifespan,” DZS added.

Working with UberData Networks, the T. Marzetti Company’s IT team designed a solution based on DZS’s 10-Gigabit MXK-198 Optical Line Terminal (OLT). The aggregation platform supports several optical network terminals (ONTs) from DZS including 62, 2608T ONTs; 41, 2804D ONTs; and 8, 2804P ONTs. Each ONT model supports a specific application.

  • A majority of T. Marzetti employees work in cubicles. Every cubicle technology panel houses DZS 2608T ONT modems. Each ONT supports four desk and provides a voice and data port for each employee.
  • In large enterprise environments like the T. Marzetti Company headquarters, several WiFi access points are needed. The plenum-rated DZS 2804D ONTs are mounted in the ceiling with beam clamps and provide more than 40 access points throughout the building.
  • T. Marzetti executives have their own open-office spaces, each of which is equipped with a DZS 2804P ONT (pictured, top of page). These ONTs house four Gigabit Ethernet ports to connect to printers and deliver voice and data services to each desk.

Using the FiberLAN network, T. Marzetti Company was able to eliminate two intermediate distribution frame (IDF) closets, on the second and fourth floors. Employees now can use these areas for printing and workspaces, as well as additional storage. In addition to cabling consolidation benefits, the FiberLAN solution offers Power over Ethernet (PoE) to edge devices, which is especially beneficial in powering access points and other equipment without having to locate devices near power or run separate dedicated power to the device. This reduces the amount of cabling in the building by 80 percent, compared to the cabling required for a traditional copper LAN architecture.

Because the IT team had recabled or adapter their infrastructure multiple times over several years, the T. Marzetti Company had existing hardware that was viable to use, such as Ethernet switches. The FiberLAN network supports the Ethernet switches the company already owned, saving them resources.

On the topic of downtime, Van Buskirk observed, “With a POL network in place, our employees and visitors have 24/7 access to reliable, fast internet services from anywhere in the building. The reliable, futureproof network combined with our employees under one roof, making our business more efficient.”

All ONTs throughout the headquarters are powered using power distribution units in the IDF closet. This design ensures network uptime in the event of a power outage, because all equipment can run on battery backup until power is restored.

The FiberLAN GPON from DZS provides T. Marzetti Company with an affordable, future-resistant solution that saves space and improves infrastructure lifespan so that the company can continue to do what it does best—provide delicious food and superior service to its customers.

*Case-study disclaimer: The information published here was provided by the Association for Passive Optical LAN (APOLAN). The APOLAN provides third-party content for educational and general informational purposes only as a service to its members. The information and views are presented in the third-party content are solely those of their respective authors, and do not represent the positions or views of APOLAN.

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