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What’s wrong with running my campus network on Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology you ask?

Let me count the ways!

I was just reading a White Paper by Nick Lippis of the Lippis Report entitled, “GPON vs Gigabit Ethernet in Campus Networking” that lays out the issues pretty well in my opinion, and concludes up front that GPON is “suited to niche applications” and that “many GPON assertions and claims are overstated.”

Nick does a nice job of contrasting the two approaches, a last mile SP technology (GPON) that might be a good choice for the home & kids, with a Highly Available Ethernet Design that should be used to run a real business.

I’ll leave it to you to read the details, but he covers facts on all the key areas from power consumption and cabling costs to network scaling, single points of failure, and troubleshooting capabilites.

All this adds up to GPON being a poor choice in the Campus when you look at the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) even though the initial acquisition costs might be lower for the hardware itself.  When you look under the covers, the real price is quite high for GPON in terms of a “lack of flexibility, greater power consumption (certainly not green), limited network capacity, upgrades are system-wide events, troubleshooting tools and skilled technicians are limited and lacking, and multiple single points of failure exist.”

He goes on to say, with the Ethernet market being tens of billions of dollars, research and development is assured while competition privdes the motivation for innovation and feature enhancement.  An Ethernet campus network is a safe investment.

Caveat emptor!

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