Today, the most efficient way of transporting data is over fiber optic networks, which can deliver gigabit speeds over hair-thin strands of glass. Not only can optical networks deliver much more data, much more quickly than any other available technology, they do so using far less energy and space, making it the greenest option to support data networking needs. Traditionally this technology was limited to large-scale data transport and broadband access networks, but now – after the introduction by Nokia of its Passive Optical LAN (POL) product – fiber has become an option for local area networks (LANs) in office buildings, campuses, hotels and other venues, which have historically been wired up using traditional copper Ethernet cable.
Nokia always knew that POL would offer enormous benefits for companies of all kinds in terms of meeting fast-growing bandwidth demands, while reducing power consumption overall. But now we also have some outside validation from a small team of researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia, who documented just how great the power savings from POL can be. In their paper entitled Energy-Efficient Passive Optical Local Area Network1 researchers Chien Aun Chan, Ka-lun Lee and Jie Li from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering conducted a battery of measurements coupled with network modeling comparing POL to conventional copper Ethernet LANs. Through this effort they determined that POL (based on Nokia’s G-PON technology), could deliver power savings of up to 82%, which, put simply, represents enormous savings.
Why is this important? Bandwidth demands on business campuses, hotels and other facilities are increasing dramatically and there is no sign of that trend slowing. At the same time, electricity represents a very large chunk of the cost of operating any network. Reducing the amount of power consumed will naturally have a substantial bottom-line impact on any organization.
In fact, the energy efficiency benefits of Nokia’s POL is among the reasons that Environment Canterbury, the government agency responsible for air, water and land management in and around the city of Canterbury, New Zealand, opted to deploy it in their new headquarters. Following a devastating earthquake in 2011, several facilities that housed Environment Canterbury’s staff were destroyed. They decided to build a new facility to bring several hundred of their employees together, and wanted it to reflect their commitment to sustainability. As you can imagine, finding a greener alternative to traditional Ethernet LAN was among the design criteria for the new building. In Nokia POL, they found a solution that aligned perfectly with their environmental mission.
Of course energy efficiency is just one of the benefits POL provides for enterprises of all kinds. In the case of Environment Canterbury, they were able to converge a host of services onto one network, including IP Telephony, 100% Wi-Fi coverage throughout the facility, a building management system, closed circuit television and door security, digital signage and Internet of Things (IoT) services such as smart lighting and heating management. In the past, these kinds of services were typically supported on individual, dedicated, purpose-built networks for each service.
The broader benefits of POL, energy efficiency included, have not just attracted the attention of current and potential customers, they’ve also drawn the interest of analyst firms tracking the market for ICT solutions. For instance, just recently Frost & Sullivan recognized POL with its 2016 European New Product Innovation Award. Frost & Sullivan noted that the POL solution is secure, versatile, and ideally positioned to accommodate the bandwidth requirements of enterprises, hospitals, media and entertainment, and sports industries.
So, if you are looking for a better way to build a new LAN, you will find that glass is always greener with Nokia POL.
Read the full Environment Canterbury case
Watch our POL animation on how to enhance your business performance with Nokia Passive Optical LAN
Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia using #innovation #sustainability
1 Please note this research is pending publication in an academic journal and will be available online at a later date.