Network Communications News (NCN) June 2017 - Page 24

ENTERPRISE NETWORKS APOLAN breaks the Status Quo for Enterprise Networks At the start of the third millennium, the planning, building and operating of an enterprise local area network (LAN) was largely stagnant, says John Hoover, senior product manager at Tellabs, and marketing committee chair at the Association for Passive Optical LAN. R acks and stacks of power hungry and heat generating Ethernet switches were positioned every 100 meters throughout buildings and across campuses. IT staff ran around the extended facility doing their daily provisioning of moves, adds and changes by directly connecting and individually provisioning each switch along a connection path. All the switches had the same full functions, and complexity, thus network troubleshooting was difficult. This operations model of high human touch introduced its own negative impacts of human error leading to network downtime. Plus, both negligent and malicious human activity resulted in security issues. The cabling infrastructure was copper based with poor security, reach, capacity and known obsolesces horizon. It seemed like every couple of years the building’s walls and ceilings were being disturbed by the rip and replacement of old copper cabling for the promise of newer, bigger and more expensive copper cabling (i.e. CAT3 to CAT5 to CAT6). Association for Passive Optical LAN Alternative Approach This was the status quo mentality of the enterprise network industry at the inception of the Association for Passive Optical LAN (APOLAN). When APOLAN officially launched in August of 2013, new enterprise technology advancements were in full swing relative to the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, wireless, cloud and hosted/managed services, but there was little constructive dialogue framing up 24 | June 2017 the best choices for IT architecture to support a truly modern high performance network other than keep ripping-and replacing the copper cable and keep racking- and-stacking those switches. The APOLAN was formed as a non-profit organisation composed of manufacturers, distributors, integrators, and consulting companies who were actively involved in the Passive Optical LAN marketplace. The APOLAN members band together to support the growth and education of the Passive Optical LAN industry and focus on formulating solutions on how best to market, install, educate, and support this burgeoning field. Our founding member companies consisted of industry giants such as; 3M, Corning, IBM, Leidos, CommScope, Tellabs and DASAN Zhone and since have grown to a formidable group of 30 active members. So, what is Passive Optical LAN? A Passive Optical LAN is a Layer-2 transport medium, built with Passive Optical Network (PON) technology, that provides converged video, data, wireless access and voice services at gigabit speeds over a single strand of fibre. Comparing the configurations of a traditional copper based active Ethernet LAN and a Passive Optical LAN architecture helps to illustrate more clearly the similarities and differences between the two technologies. In a Traditional Active Ethernet LAN, a router in the top-most layer (Core Layer) links to the campus or building aggregation switches (Distribution Layer) below. The distribution switches connect down to the Access Layer switches in the communications closets. Copper cables extend from the communications closets to the users [Figure 1]. In a Passive Optical LAN solution, the router is retained in the top most layer and the Optical Line Terminal (OLT) serves the same purpose as the campus aggregation switches. Today’s OLTs are based on Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology (ITU G.984) that can reach 20 kilometers with no powering nor management. The building aggregation switching is accomplished by the 1x32 (or 2x32 for equipment redundancy and fibre route diversity) optical splitter, which is a passive device, so there are no power requirements and no management while being highly reliable. Single Mode Fibre (SMF) connects the OLT to the optical splitter and out to the Optical Network Terminals (ONT). Currently, the SMF cable has capacity measured in terabytes while copper cable capacity is measured in gigabytes. The ONTs provide connectivity to the users, services and end devices – including supporting Power over Ethernet (PoE). A Passi fRF6( 2@2bFR&WV&VBW" gV7FƗG'VBFR76fPF6&fFW2FVw&FV@WFW&WB'&Fvrd6&ƗG&WV&VBf"WGv&6VvVFFBW6W"WFVF6F@6V7W&GfFW&rfwW&R%vFFR76fRF6&6FV7GW&R6RVFW'&6PW6W'27&72vFRf&WG`GW7G&W2fRF7VVFVBFPfvr&VVfG3