Optical networking

10 key benefits of passive optical LAN for enterprise connectivity

Cemil Canturk from Nokia
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Cemil Canturk from Nokia, Senior Marketing Manager Optical LAN

7 min. read
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Connectivity is king in the challenging and fast-paced world of enterprise computing. The ongoing digital transformation within enterprises and the supply chains to which they belong is putting increasing pressure on CTOs, network engineers and IT security managers to get better performance, but also more bandwidth, scalability and reliability.

Increased internet speeds pose quite a challenge and sometimes even create a predicament for many companies, especially since the number of devices requiring network connectivity also continues to increase. Reaching long distances and maintaining high internet speeds at the same time often requires new cat cabling. The solution? Fibre-based optical LAN. Read on to find out more about the benefits of passive optical LAN for enterprise connectivity.

What is passive optical LAN?

Passive optical LAN (POL) is a relatively new and innovative way to structure telecommunication networks. The traditional model, in which data was transmitted and dispersed to desktop computers using layers of switches, cables and routers, is replaced by a more cost-effective and energy-effective architecture. Passive optical LAN uses single-mode fibre extended closer to the user and electronic devices that flatten the local area network (LAN). This eliminates distance constraints and reduces the quantity of cable used to reach the workstations.

The 10 benefits of passive optical LAN

Now that we know a little more about the technology behind passive optical LAN, it is time to delve deeper into the key benefits that this solution provides for enterprise connectivity.

1. Cost reduction

Passive optical LAN reduces both capital (CAPEX) and operational (OPEX) costs. You need less equipment to realise and maintain a steady, secure and high-speed connection. Because you need less physical hardware (POL allows you to get rid of maintenance costs associated with switches), you can also save serious money on cooling costs. In comparison to copper, passive optical LAN also allows you to cut maintenance costs.

2. Saving space

Passive optical LAN technology saves space. Copper-based LANs need telecom rooms due to the massive equipment and cabling demands. POL uses a limited amount of space, which eliminates the need for wiring closets. This allows you to cut back on office space (and rent) or reserve additional space for other revenue-generating activities and purposes.

3. High capacity and security

Optical LAN is currently the smartest and most powerful LAN technology on the market. This means that passive optical LAN provides a premium service experience. It is able to deliver speeds of 10 GB per second and beyond, and it is equipped with built-in, military-grade security features. As a result, sensitive information is well protected and never up for grabs. Passive optical LAN also provides excellent scalability, which is essential in modern, changeable, fast-paced and highly dynamic enterprise environments.

4. Future-proof

The world of enterprise IT is subject to constant change. Today’s next best thing can be outdated in a couple of months or years. Passive optical LAN allows you to more easily anticipate future technological innovations. A good example is the expected emergence of 5G as the dominant network standard in the near future. 5G holds the promise of significant improvements over the familiar 4G networks (about 1,000 times the bandwidth, roughly 100 times more connected devices and much higher availability). Optical networks like POL are much better suited to dealing with these increased performance challenges than traditional copper wires.

POLs can also help enterprises future-proof their infrastructures. The fibre networks have an impressive lifespan (about 30 years) that greatly exceeds the longevity of enterprise switch solutions (generally less than 10 years). This means that you only have to periodically refresh edge devices, not the network itself. POL also provides a future-proof path to new technologies, such as Wi-Fi 6, video analytics, etc.

5. More environmental-friendly

POLs consume modest amounts of energy, and cooling is also not a big issue due to the reduced equipment demands. Considering the total power consumption of all active components in a LAN, ventilation and air conditioning for equipment, optical LAN power savings can be as much as 50% if you make a comparison to traditional LAN solutions. Unlike a traditional distribution or workgroup switch, the passive optical splitter requires no special environmental considerations and requires zero kilowatt-hours of annual energy usage. It also produces zero carbon footprint during operation.

And the extra good news: continuous efforts to even further improve its power efficiency are constantly being made, having the potential to stimulate exciting green initiatives in the realm of enterprise connectivity.

Placeholder for Passive optical LANPassive optical LAN

6. Minimal business disruption

Time is money, and downtime equals business disruption. Passive optical LAN allows different technologies to coexist on the same fibre infrastructure without the need to pull new cables or replace connectors. If technology changes, you only have to replace the endpoints of the POL. This allows you to keep your operations and business processes running and limit the business disruption to the bare minimum.

7. Ease of use

POL networks offer users a streamlined and user-friendly management interface. This eliminates many of the complexities that pose problems for less tech-savvy customers and employees. The increased self-reliance in the field of enterprise connectivity and performance management translates to increased organisational flexibility. It also makes your company less reliant on third-party service providers.

8. Superior security

Passive optical LAN is inherently more secure than traditional copper-based LAN. Why? Because optical fibre does not conduct electricity in the same way as copper does. The technology is not affected by electromagnetic interference. For example, tempest radiation is a non-issue when it comes to passive optical LAN.

POL technology also supports sophisticated security mechanisms and technologies, such as AES (advanced encryption standard), 128-bit (military-grade) encryption and 802.1x authentication. Passive optical LAN also comes with built-in identity management.

9. Easy installation

Passive optical LAN provides significant installation benefits. Copper cables are heavy. Additionally, every endpoint needs its own cable that connects it to the switch it is attached to. The result? A lot of heavy cabling in risers, raised floors and suspended ceilings. This weight puts a lot of pressure on many buildings, whilst installing new devices and endpoints becomes a hassle. Fibre is much thinner and lighter than copper, making the installation and expansion of POL networks a lot easier.

10. The total cost of ownership (TCO)

Apart from the many technical advantages, passive optical LAN also offers remarkable TCO benefits. These include:

  • Significant long-term power savings. It is possible to lower your overall power costs by about 50 percent compared to traditional LAN solutions.
  • Optical LAN has significantly fewer active electronics, resulting in huge maintenance cost savings.
  • Fault management becomes easier and less expensive due to the lower amount of active components.

Passive optical LAN by Nokia

Nokia Optical LAN is one of the best POL solutions available on the current market. This fibre-based solution meets the needs of modern-day businesses while at the same time providing a cost-effective evolution as internet speeds continue to increase. It supports all of your voice, data and video services on a single fibre distribution architecture that delivers the right user experience. The Nokia Optical LAN blueprint covers interoperability with various other ecosystem components, like VOIP phones, Voice PBX, Wi-Fi access points and authentication servers.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the defining features of Nokia Optical LAN that separate this solution from the rest.

Multiple security schemes

The Nokia solution has multiple security schemes. Prime examples are advanced encryption with two-way key exchange, advanced intrusion detection and ONT unique identification. Furthermore, Nokia’s POL provides protection mechanisms and proactive monitoring features (link protection, logical layer protection, controller and line card redundancy) to ensure high availability.

Scalability

Nokia’s POL solution allows you to effortlessly extend the network with more endpoints or to reach new buildings from the existing OLT. You can also seamlessly upgrade your capacity using the same cabling, splitters and OLT.

A strong and centralised access point

The 7360 Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) serves as a central access point for the entire LAN, capable of serving hundreds to thousands of users and devices. It has market-leading capacities, such as a backplane architecture that delivers up to 200 Gb/s to each slot, 2.5 Tb/s switching capacity and 360 Gb/s uplink capacity.

Gradual evolution

Nokia’s approach to passive optical LAN allows organisations to evolve their LAN in a gradual and cost-efficient way, using the same access node and in-building cabling.

Advanced management

The 5571 PCC is the beating heart of the Nokia Optical LAN solution. It provides a highly intuitive environment for configuration, auto-activation, fault reporting, troubleshooting, maintenance and much more. The 5571 PCC shields the network manager from the network’s complexity and functions as an efficient tool for every aspect of your day-to-day operations.

More information

Rethink your LAN and go for higher performance, capacity and eco-sustainability with passive optical LAN. Would you like to know more about this technology? And are you looking for a knowledgeable and trustworthy partner that has the necessary experience and expertise to help you with the implementation and adoption of POL?

Then Nomios is happy to help you. We are a certified Nokia partner and can help you get the best out of Nokia’s passive optical LAN solution.

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