When it comes to meeting the increased demand for bandwidth in schools, some IT managers are learning a valuable lesson in network architecture. To increase speed and consistency, a gigabit passive optical network, or GPON, may be the solution. This technology consists of unpowered (passive) optical splitters for network connectivity, which lowers network costs and energy consumption. Schools considering methods to speed up their network should consider the possible advantages and disadvantages of using GPON.
GPONs offer less costly connections than a standard Ethernet. By using a single fiber cable to serve up to 32 users, the need for hardware decreases. This reduces cost and space necessary to host larger amounts of hardware to support the network. The technology has fewer electrical and moving parts than in the standard network, which lowers the risk of downtime that might cripple productivity of administrators, teachers, and students. With a GPON installation, students and faculty members can take advantage of faster digital communications, making their studies and interactions both inside and outside the school more productive.
For all of these benefits, however, there are a few drawbacks to a GPON. One downside is that there is more of a challenge to pinpoint a failure when one does occur. A GPON also has less range than an active optical network, requiring users to be closer to the source of connection. Data transmission speed can slow during peak usage time, which can create challenges for audio and video streaming.
With the push for classrooms to become more modern and technology-inclusive, schools employing GPON will have the chance to will grant students, teachers, and faculty access to wireless networks, connecting schools and communities like never before. GPON is transforming collaboration in the classroom.