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Being Passive Can Sometimes Be Better, Especially in Computer Networks

 The past week was hectic at work. I was assigned to design a site-wide network for an engineering camp, a camp containing housing compounds, offices, utilities and other facilities for engineers and workmen working on building a new city on the Red Sea. 

A0-sized infrastructure drawings are good for taking pictures with

But this time, things were different, no longer were we assigning a Telecom Room/Closet in each building, where we host the native equipment (access/distribution switches), we were just providing cables. Why you ask?

Well, in the past few years, the lighting technology (fiber optics) have become a more affordable technology for large scale projects than the normal copper-switched networks.  

Instead of providing each building with a Telecom space to host active equipment, the network is now mostly passive (fiber optic cables and passive splitters) swirling around, while each apartment/building/house/... gets its own ONT/ONU (small or large switches to service the needs of the space). Here is my first concept design:

Splitter ratio was not included since it depends on the PON technology required by the client

The beauty of this technology is that any future upgrade doesn't require any change to any core, distribution or access switch or even the cables, all you have to do is change specific ONTs/ONUs that need higher speeds in the future. And maybe even upgrade slots within the OLT (the bulky devices doing the light switching). That's it. GPON has basically eliminated the need for any form of data switching, and the cherry on top is that it is classified as military grade when it comes to data security/intrusion. 

However, here comes the one factor when it comes to choosing the GPON technology or not: scale. It's way too expensive for small projects, but when it comes to large projects, with site-wide connectedness or a high number of users within a large building/campus, the technology is definitely recommended and is even an insurance against any future upgrades unexpected large costs.