Networking is a real problem for all IT departments struggling with cables and an increasing number of devices. Each of these cables need to be routed end to end to satisfy the platform base through layers of switches and routers. The multiple levels of aggregation are a big challenge for businesses that have been prevented in the business having an alternative option of Passive Optical LAN (POL). POL has been around for many years, but organizations have always considered it as too much based on their current needs and reluctance to replace the existing cabling system.

The year 2020 might just be the right year for the change from traditional cabling to POL. The prime driver of change from copper to optical is that the demands on the network have evolved. Every company considers its network to be business-critical, while just a few years back, it was just considered as the best effort in nature. Network congestion and downtime can cost a business dearly, losing not only clients but even future business opportunities by damaging its reputation.   

Currently, there is a rise in trends driving the evolution of POL,

1. Internet of Things (IoT) will demand Wi-Fi 6, and 5G using POL will enable more devices to be connected in more places providing better bandwidth on the network connection. The wireless network, for the first time, will be able to match the wired network.

2. Cloud service is going through a drastic change, and it’s leading to large scale disruption in the network. As the data centers have evolved into a modernized system, East-West traffic was superseded by North-South. Businesses are connecting directly to the cloud for hybrid-cloud deployments driving more traffic to North-South; hence, traditional networks can’t really fulfill such aggressive demands.

3. Videos of all kinds are on a rapid rise when it comes to need of different types of video recording being transferred; the high-quality will demand low-latency, and POL will be the right solution.

Why is copper cabling all set to die?

Currently, most of the organizations are using Cat5 cabling; the speed it offers is close to 1 Gbps. If Cat6 is deployed, it reaches the speed of 10 Gbps, but only for 55 meters. If the company wants to reach the complete 100 m length, then it would need Cat6A or higher. POL is completely passive and currently requires no electronic equipment to boost the signal. Optical cabling can carry petabytes of data over the longer distance. Changing the speed is even more simple, just the optics need to change rather than the complete cabling.

A POL consists of an Optical Line Terminal (OLT), an optical splitter, and Optical Network Terminals (ONTs) to transmit voice. An optical splitter splits downstream signals and combines then the upstream signals to and from the connected devices, and all this happens on a single strand of single-mode fiber. Since ONTs can support multiple devices, POL requires less cable to support the network.

How effective is POL?

Recently at the Huawei conference in 2019, the company showcased the Dubai Creek Harbor project, which is being built currently by the Emaar Properties. The complete city is a 6-square-mile development, including residential houses, offices, retail facilities, and cultural centers. The complete complex is being designed to support digital technology, and the network will be able to support IoT, cloud computing, and AI-based analytics. The project features are being developed on the Huawei’s Campus OptiX solution to simplify the network as the architecture moves from a 3-tier hierarchical design to a 2-tier.

The design will even demand less equipment and reduce power and cooling requirements. The 10 Gbps network completely eliminates the need for a parallel network, making it easier to manage, giving complete future-proofing as the network can be easily upgraded. The all-optical network is all set to result in a 60% improvement in operational efficiency, and deployment time is almost cut down to half compared to the Ethernet.


The biggest challenge when it comes to the adoption of POL is the general lack of awareness and a complete misunderstanding of the cost. If businesses can go ahead and compare the cabling cost, it’s much higher for the copper cables as the installation cost and maintenance cost multiplies with time. Optical cables aren’t even affected by electromagnetic interference; therefore, businesses can be flexible with the installation.     


POL solutions will be disrupting the market in 2020, but the businesses need to be bold and innovative enough to take a step forward toward the new networking technology. To know more about networking technology, you can download our latest whitepapers on networking.