Motorola Pulls for POL

3:20 PM -- Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) came out today with a PON for enterprises -- the passive optical LAN (POL), as they call it. (See Moto Says Hello to Passive Optical LANs.)

I've always wondered if someone would pursue this idea. In years past, we were told that financial companies -- being rich, impatient, and not yet bankrupt -- were building their own carrier-grade fiber networks, and that hospitals had need for such networks, too.

The POL sounds like Motorola's GPON on a smaller scale. A spokeswoman tells me it's intended to be sold to carriers, which could then offer PON services -- presumably over the carriers' own leased fiber; I can't imagine digging up the ground just for one enterprise's LAN. Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) will be reselling the POL to enterprises.

The handicap is obvious: You can't do this without fiber. And as the Ethernet services camp will tell you repeatedly, fiber doesn't reach most buildings yet. I'd assume POL has a fiber-to-the-node model available, using DSL as PONs do in regular life.

UPDATE: Frank's comments, below, are correct: I did misunderstand the nature of POL. It's an in-building product. The PON's customer premises box, the optical network terminal (ONT), is renamed a "workgroup terminal" here, and has four Gigabit Ethernet ports and power over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities, among other features. The optical line terminal (OLT) is called an "enterprise aggregation switch," as it contains switching functions you wouldn't need in the residental PON case. It's all about eliminating wiring-closet switches, not about broadband access.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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Frank 12/5/2012 | 4:04:30 PM
re: Motorola Pulls for POL


It appears that you are viewing this from the wrong perspective. The PON in this case can arguably be situated "on-prem", OLT and all. It's not a first mile solution, per se, although it could be extended as such. From another angle, think of this as fiber to the desk, albeit through an OLT/ONU, but even these can be incorporated in a NIC card, if the right ecosystem ever sprouts up around the model.

In-building PONs, incidentally, were once popular among certain niches prior to Category 5's standardization by the EIT/TIA (c. '90-'91). During the Eighties Codenoll Inc. of Mt. Vernon, NY and CANStar, out of Canada, were two popular passive optical power splitter choices by many in the financial services area. It's no suprise that they are coming back at this time, given the hands-down efficiency gains they portend over the 100 meter-constrained copper model that's been in use for the past twenty years.

Verizon and other service providers (including a partnership between VZ and SAIC) and a number of smaller, independent cable operators are also using PONs (some EPON and GPON, some even using RF-over-glass-based) to service SMBs and SoHos, and some of those are extending the functionality of the PON (along with its reach) inside the customer premises, as well.


Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:04:28 PM
re: Motorola Pulls for POL

Ah, ok.  You're right; i was thinking more of a spread-out enterprise feeding multiple locations in one region (a bunch of offices around NYC, for instance).  Thanks for the clarification.

Frank 12/5/2012 | 4:04:28 PM
re: Motorola Pulls for POL

You're actually correct on that score, too, since, generically, at least (and no longer necessarily referring to the specifics of Motorola's POL model), PON is an apt solution for the creation of virtual campuses as well. When combined with WDM (WDM-PON), other things become possible too, as FT and DTK also seem to think: http://tiny.cc/mwpsj

Frank 12/5/2012 | 4:03:42 PM
re: Motorola Pulls for POL


This white paper on the subject of Enterprise PONs (URL below) is from Network Strategy Partners, LLC. I think it will interest you and your readers. Inside you'll find additional discussion on connecting multiple buildings in a virtual campus fashion.


I jotted some addtional thoughts (FAC:) on the matter here:


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