Tellabs Finds New PON Frontier: The Desktop

By converting its GPON platform into an enterprise switch, manufacturer claims to have leadership role in new market

September 29, 2012

2 Min Read
Tellabs Finds New PON Frontier: The Desktop

DALLAS -- FTTH Council ExpoTellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) has a long and colorful history in the passive optical network (PON) business, dating back to its 2004 acquisition of Advanced Fibre Communications (AFC) for $1.9 billion. But its latest PON move is in the enterprise, taking fiber to the desktop. (See Tellabs & AFC: Together at Last!.)

The manufacturer claims to be the first company to convert its GPON platform into an enterprise switch, back in 2009, to enable enterprises to take advantage of the bandwidth capacity and lower costs of passive optics, and considers itself a global leader in optical LANs. Tellabs is getting competition in the field from Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and newer fiber-to-the-desktop players such as Zhone Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ZHNE) are also exploring how to use their PON expertise in what is expected to be a growing market. (See Moto Expands PON Family.)

Other companies capitalizing on this market are fiber management firms, such as 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) and TE Connectivity (NYSE: TEL).

The drive behind optical LANs is simple, says Jeff Van Horne, staff marketing manager for Broadband Access Products at Tellabs.

"They have 70 percent lower cost, 80 percent lower power consumption and use 90percent less space" than traditional Ethernet solutions delivering the same bandwidth, Van Horne says.

That savings results from using far fewer active electronics, due to the nature of PON and to fiber's ability to overcome the 100-meter limit faced by copper connections. A PON OLT can aggregate more than 8000 Gigabit Ethernet ports, says Van Horne, and that bandwidth can be delivered to ONTs mounted within the wall, similar to regular data ports. Only passive elements -- PON splitters -- are deployed between an OLT that can service an entire campus and the distributed ONTs, which can serve multiple desktops. (See Tellabs Shrinks the ONT.)

The data is delivered via Ethernet, so no changes on the client end are needed, Van Horne says, but converting a GPON system designed for a telecom network into an optical LAN does require the addition of many new security protocols, as well as dynamic network control capabilities.

Tellabs has had success selling its optical LAN technology into enterprises through Value Added Resellers, and into federal government agencies. One of its new pushes is to encourage telecom service providers, especially those in rural areas, to look to optical LAN technology as something they can sell to their business customers, as part of a hosted or managed service they deliver, says Van Horne.

If you are interested in tracking Tellabs' earlier adventures in PON land, check out these pages from the LR Archives:

  • Analysts See Tellabs Win at BellSouth

  • Tellabs Unveils ONT Initiative

  • Tellabs Trips at Sprint

  • Tellabs Edges Into GPON

  • Tellabs's Access Biz Under Fire

  • Tellabs Kills Its Verizon GPON Efforts

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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