The industry is evolving to Optical LAN. It is like a tsunami that has been traveling unseen underwater for many miles, but as it nears, it quickly rises showing its full potential. This is seen in the rising tide for singlemode fiber (SMF), and OLAN, that is advancing across all the most popular initiatives of our industry, such as:
- Software Defined Networking (SDN) – SDN is progressing from the core WAN to the enterprise LAN. For a traditional switched LAN design, SD-LAN promises a bolt-on fix for inherent weaknesses of decentralized management, complex equipment with low reliability, high human touch and poor security. Yet, OLAN already enjoys centralized intelligence, and management. An OLAN simplifies the network, thus improving operations, LAN uptime and security. OLAN allows network resources to be defined in software (e.g. global profiles) and be dynamically allocated based on real-time needs – now that’s true OLAN SD-LAN agility and automation!
- Internet of Things (IoT) Smart Building – The IoT smart building movement, requires many devices to be powered and connected. A traditional network design is poorly equipped for cabling, connecting and powering in such high densities. To fix this short-coming, the traditional switch manufacturers built small form-factor Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches with 8-ports. Clearly this is a close facsimile of a remote powered OLAN 8-port PoE enabled ONT with LLDP, and OLAN provides a simplified management of virtual Ethernet port extension (refer back to first bullet!). You can read the ICT Today Sinclair Holding OLAN and IoT article to learn more about this.
- Wireless (Wi-Fi and 5G) – Wi-Fi is evolving rapidly and its bandwidth growing. When WAPs passed 1Gbps connectivity, the traditional switch manufacturers scrambled to ratify a standard for multi-rate 1G, 2.5G, 5G or 10G Ethernet. That was good, but how do you connect Wi-Fi v6 (802.11ax) that truly requires 2.5G per WAP? If you put more than five (5) WAPs on a single 48-port switch, you’re going to swamp its 10G uplink and strand 43-ports. However, with 10G OLAN, and 4-port ONTs using 2.5G multi-rate interface, you can efficiently connect Wi-Fi v6 along with other LAN endpoints without stranding ports. For 5G, the direct ties with OLAN are clear. 5G’s preferred infrastructure is SMF cabling along with NG-PON2. Whether 25G-PON or 40G-PON is chosen has yet to be determined, but all next gen PONs are compatible over current OLAN. Thus, an enterprise that adopts an OLAN design today is ready for 5G connectivity in the future – this topic is covered in our 10G OLAN online resources.
- Data Center – It’s not that OLAN is used for data centers (yet), but SMF cabling, and innovative HVAC practices are. First, SMF cabling is now the cable of choice. SMF’s advantages over multimode fiber cannot be denied in a data center, so the LAN should follow. Next, the data center embraces HVAC innovation that directly lowers operational costs. One way they lower A/C expenses is by using equipment with higher thermal tolerances and by using natural convection cooling to supplement A/C. Enterprise LANs can learn from these innovations by using OLAN OLTs, and ONTs, that have extended thermals allowing operations within reduced A/C or no A/C.
- The modern office space – Finally, there are huge benefits for Architects, Engineers and Consultants that find themselves building modern office space. Contemporary workplace limit walls, ceilings, closed offices, and have smaller data centers and perhaps no telecom closets. These updated offices maximize open space, high ceilings and natural light. This makes a flexible OLAN design the optimal choice for the modern office, since OLAN minimizes LAN cabling and equipment. Our Kraus-Anderson OLAN case study is a perfect example of this.
Tellabs is the leader of this wave of change for enterprise LANs. We challenge the industry to take a deep dive to explore more applications where Optical LAN is the more flexible choice. If change-fearing naysayers adopt a more positive mindset, they will quickly discover many examples of successful Optical LAN installments that buoyed customers from drowning in a flood of traditional LAN fatal flaws.