The historical key driver for optical networks has always been convergence. Fiber-based networks offer volumes of bandwidth, allowing us to bind all connectivity across a single infrastructure. This convergence has been the backbone of the fiber success story for years.
When Passive Optical LAN made its debut in enterprise networks over a decade ago, it was like the unexpected twist in a well-crafted story. In those days, enterprise networks had disparate networks for voice, data, video, safety, and security systems. Optical LAN entered the scene just as the digital transformation began (e.g., Smart Buildings, Internet of Things), making it the perfect plot twist. It enabled networks to migrate from analog to digital and simultaneously from copper to fiber, establishing a gripping plot for its page-turning chapters.
In the following chapters, the enterprise IT and networking professionals embraced converged networks for mission-critical, confidential, and highly secure communications even over the same fiber optic cable (e.g., transmission over a single cable with services separated by VLANs or wavelengths), and the plot thickened. With confidence in converged fiber-based networking growing, it seems like a happily-ever-after future for Optical LAN.
But wait! There is a new thrilling twist to this story – the reverse is true too!
It turns out that there are still situations where one-off networks are necessary, and Optical LAN unexpectedly plays the lead role in this plot twist. Readers should already know that sometimes these overlay networks occur simply because different groups (e.g., IT vs OT) are responsible for different services. Furthermore, LED lighting, multicast digital audio, building management systems, and security video surveillance networks are often required to be built and run separately. When these parallel networks are desired, Optical LAN is still the better way to build and operate overlay networks.
How is this possible? Let’s explore the backstory of why Optical LAN is the best choice:
- Better scalability while using less space
- Longer reach to cover greater distances
- Ubiquitous indoor and outdoor connectivity
- Simplify operations, especially for non-technical staff
- Tighter security with a smaller attack surface and Zero Trust Architecture
- More network uptime, thus greater reliability for mission-critical connectivity
- Lower costs – less equipment, material, cabling, and ongoing operational spend
When you consider all these facts, the flexibility of Optical LAN allows it to shine for both converged and separate network design. It’s like a plot with multiple story arcs that come together in a brilliant conclusion. Truly, Optical LAN is the better way to build and operate all types of networks – converged and not converged.