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Topic # 142751 23-Mar-2014 17:47
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New things are happening and probably take time to become viable in NZ, so how far behind are we?

Passive Optical LAN is the latest trending type of LAN, which essentially is the GPON technology already installed for UFB being applied to internal networking projects. There are GPON-Ethernet "switches" or ONTs available that fit a standard wall outlet, so it can often look just like a copper LAN to the user except that phones need to be IP or go through an ATA on the desk. Its supposed to be especially economic for large multi-storey or campus networks (eg airports). Passive splitters connect shared 2.5Gbps to each outlet, instead of using several cabinets and distribution switches that would otherwise be required to overcome the 100m limitation of twisted-pair Ethernet, especially if Cat6A or higher is being considered. The split ratio installed depends on the services used and expected congestion, so WIFI might go on a smaller splitter than the office PCs.

All happens over Singlemode fibre but the cost is coming down due to the volume of OLTs and ONTs being manufactured for UFB-type projects around the world. The strategy is that contention on the network moves to OLTs at a single centralised comms cabinet, instead the common status quo of 1Gbps or 2Gbps backbone uplinks from each Gigabit switch around the network. The splitter tray and OLT port is apparently cheaper than a Gigabit switch with backbone setup for the same capacity. While the splitter doesn't need power and ONTs can be powered at the outlet, sometimes an area cabinet centrally powers each ONT over composite fibre/copper cables for POE with UPS backup.

Wondering if any such Optical LAN projects have made their way to NZ yet, and how did they go? Probably the costs are higher in NZ, so how does it compare to copper LANs. At what point does it become economic? Are NZ organisations willing to commit to a full IP network that can't take analogue phone or alarm devices?




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  Reply # 1011443 23-Mar-2014 17:51
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My school had an optical LAN. We had a 10Gbp/s in and then 10Gbp/s to each block.

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  Reply # 1011447 23-Mar-2014 18:04
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TimA: My school had an optical LAN. We had a 10Gbp/s in and then 10Gbp/s to each block.


This isn't what he's talking about - he's talking about optical all the way to the end point rather than optical for backbone which is the case now.

It will be interesting to see how this develops as I could see it potentially being lower cost. However unless those ONTs are like $5 each, is it really going to be cheaper? The other issue is that every ONT port is going to require power. What's the story with ways that is being addressed?





 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1011448 23-Mar-2014 18:06
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Zeon:
TimA: My school had an optical LAN. We had a 10Gbp/s in and then 10Gbp/s to each block.


This isn't what he's talking about - he's talking about optical all the way to the end point rather than optical for backbone which is the case now.

It will be interesting to see how this develops as I could see it potentially being lower cost. However unless those ONTs are like $5 each, is it really going to be cheaper? The other issue is that every ONT port is going to require power. What's the story with ways that is being addressed?


Optical to the class room switch. Ethernet to the PC's and WiFi AP.

From the main plant room. It was 10Gbp/s to each block from there is was down to 2Gbp/s fibre lines to each switch.


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  Reply # 1011461 23-Mar-2014 18:53
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Zeon:
TimA: My school had an optical LAN. We had a 10Gbp/s in and then 10Gbp/s to each block.


This isn't what he's talking about - he's talking about optical all the way to the end point rather than optical for backbone which is the case now.

It will be interesting to see how this develops as I could see it potentially being lower cost. However unless those ONTs are like $5 each, is it really going to be cheaper? The other issue is that every ONT port is going to require power. What's the story with ways that is being addressed?


You wouldn't use an ONT, you use fiber switches and fiber NIC

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  Reply # 1011472 23-Mar-2014 19:44
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essentially our whole network at work is over fiber the only part that isn't is the servers and some of the more specialist things, the switches, routers and clients are all fiber. we dont use it for the bandwidth we use it to minimize EMI and the reduce the ability to intercept the signal.

its a naval ship if you hadn't have guessed

the tech does cost a bit more to implement and some of the devices we use don't have fiber options so you still need Ethernet in there to achieve certain functions

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  Reply # 1011473 23-Mar-2014 19:45
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Sounds cool in a new technology way - though outside of Unis and a few large corporates not something that is going to catch on super quick. How does redundancy work?

Also this is the type of thing to be taken on during new builds/greenfields type projects. I doubt anyone is going to rip up their existing investment to put this stuff in.

Another side benefit - optical is not susceptible to interception through cable clamping. Useful in high security/defence environments.

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  Reply # 1011531 23-Mar-2014 22:27
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Fibre is in no way a new technology, I remember working on a portable desktop machine running Windows 3.1 that had a built in fibre NIC! My dad used to kit out splicing vans for what was then the post office in the 80's.

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  Reply # 1011578 24-Mar-2014 08:16
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10G SFP's are cheap as chips these days, I think anything based on GPON is going to be an inferior solution and lost a lot more.



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  Reply # 1011620 24-Mar-2014 09:52
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IMO fibre is only useful for long runs (over 100M cable length) or for it's resistance to data interception, otherwise copper is just as fast and it's cheaper (fibre terminations are dam expensive). and well for gaming a client only needs 10Mb @ full duplex. so going for 10Gb is like using a nuke to get rid of an ant-hill. even for leeching most storage systems struggle to get past a few Gb/s and a typical HDD can only achieve about 1Gb/s at best.

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  Reply # 1011621 24-Mar-2014 09:53
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We used optical to the node on the ships when I worked at the RNZN, and obviously between buildings on base (actually we used a Gigabit FDDI ring) and this was in the 90's.  I can see the appeal of using GPON or similar on a large campus but the challenges of running fiber within a building, ie. constraints wrt bend radius, and wrt the patch leads they are not as hardy as cat5e/cat6, also fibre NIC cost more, there is little benefit to be had for most LANs.  Also most buildings are powered so there's no issue with active gear (ie. copper switch with a single fibre interface) in each building.

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  Reply # 1014223 27-Mar-2014 22:36
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The technology is has been around for some time, most common way Ive seen it is using Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing(CWDM). Its good for fibre conservation in campus style networks, and metro ethernet networks. A single fibre ring might have 8 or 16 GE of 10GE links multiplexed on it, with one or 2 GE links dropped off around at each passive mux. Switching is usually done in the transitional way using a centralised Ethernet switch, or on optical cross connect ($$$$$$) As the muxs are passive they don't need power, and immune to EMR, and extremely reliable, so good in steel mills, power plants etc and also in street cabinets where power is limited. As its optical muxing you can mix Ethernet, fibre channel, ATM in to the same fibre which can be useful. With 10GE getting cheaper some of the requirement for this has diminished but its a useful technology to have sometimes where there is physical fibre and power constraints

There aren't many networks in NZ that would justify the solution, I've used it where running additional fibres was not an option, i.e. digging up a road, a runway.



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  Reply # 1014677 28-Mar-2014 15:34
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wasabi2k: Sounds cool in a new technology way - though outside of Unis and a few large corporates not something that is going to catch on super quick. How does redundancy work?

Also this is the type of thing to be taken on during new builds/greenfields type projects. I doubt anyone is going to rip up their existing investment to put this stuff in.

Another side benefit - optical is not susceptible to interception through cable clamping. Useful in high security/defence environments.


Definitely more attractive in a greenfields job but any job where lots of Cat5 is coming out would be a candidate. The scrap wouldn't exactly pay for the fibre though.... Apparently some OLTs can be setup to use redundant splitters perhaps a way of getting diverse cable routes but not sure how it works.

Cable clamping does work on fibre unless you try it with bend-insensitive fibre, but the people that do it are more specialist I guess.

lxsw20:
Zeon:
TimA: My school had an optical LAN. We had a 10Gbp/s in and then 10Gbp/s to each block.


This isn't what he's talking about - he's talking about optical all the way to the end point rather than optical for backbone which is the case now.

It will be interesting to see how this develops as I could see it potentially being lower cost. However unless those ONTs are like $5 each, is it really going to be cheaper? The other issue is that every ONT port is going to require power. What's the story with ways that is being addressed?


You wouldn't use an ONT, you use fiber switches and fiber NIC

Actually the passive OLANs do use an ONT (thats the whole point), but a normally specialised low-cost one designed for offices thats essentially a 2 port switch and looks just like a wall plate. They do require power, but you have power at the workstation anyway and theres an option to power them via composite cable (fibre with copper wires for power) for 48V DC. As already mentioned...

Its single mode fibre all the way to desktops, as opposed to the multimode fibre that a school etc would have going to its "classroom" cabinets where switches aggregate all the copper ethernet ports onto a backbone. The idea is that volume of ONTs being produced now has brought down prices of GPON chipsets. Ironically the new TIA building is now using GPON instead of its own Ethernet standard for its local network!





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  Reply # 1015208 29-Mar-2014 21:58
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TimA: My school had an optical LAN. We had a 10Gbp/s in and then 10Gbp/s to each block.


In 2005 my high school had gigabit fibre between buildings, to a gigabit switch in the computer labs or cat6 ports on the wall.

However the school ran on Windows NT4.
Around 2006, they upgraded to Windows 2000 Pro

The principal ("headmaster") thought this was something to be advertised.




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  Reply # 1015461 30-Mar-2014 17:05
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sbiddle: 10G SFP's are cheap as chips these days, I think anything based on GPON is going to be an inferior solution and lost a lot more.


That was my initial reaction, but the usual aggregation at an ethernet distribution switch probably creates about the same amount of contention. The theory seems to be that contention is managed centrally at the OLT so theres no need for a backbone network except perhaps dedicated links to your main server cabinets etc and your disaster recovery cabinet somewhere. At least with GPON you can easily change the splitters if you have a spare OLT port. Most of the OLT nodes would have a couple of 10G uplinks and a few Gigabit ports, and the chassis based ones probably have ethernet cards available anyway.

TimA: My school had an optical LAN. We had a 10Gbp/s in and then 10Gbp/s to each block.


Hmm just noticed your school had 10Gbps to each block... Even the really big schools I have worked in had used 10Gps only between core switch and blade chassis. You may have been at a bigger school?




Qualified in business, certified in fibre, stuck in copper, have to keep going  ^_^

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  Reply # 1015471 30-Mar-2014 17:27
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webwat:
sbiddle: 10G SFP's are cheap as chips these days, I think anything based on GPON is going to be an inferior solution and lost a lot more.


That was my initial reaction, but the usual aggregation at an ethernet distribution switch probably creates about the same amount of contention. The theory seems to be that contention is managed centrally at the OLT so theres no need for a backbone network except perhaps dedicated links to your main server cabinets etc and your disaster recovery cabinet somewhere. At least with GPON you can easily change the splitters if you have a spare OLT port. Most of the OLT nodes would have a couple of 10G uplinks and a few Gigabit ports, and the chassis based ones probably have ethernet cards available anyway.

TimA: My school had an optical LAN. We had a 10Gbp/s in and then 10Gbp/s to each block.


Hmm just noticed your school had 10Gbps to each block... Even the really big schools I have worked in had used 10Gps only between core switch and blade chassis. You may have been at a bigger school?


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