Fiber has been introduced to average homes and businesses for a spell and it has different names from different service providers: Google Fiber, Verizon FiOS, AT&T GigaPower, UFiber, etc. GPON is one of the key technologies that are used to deploy these fiber-based access networks (FTTx). Though it is called GPON from its emergency to its prosperity, some details in utilizing GPON services have changed. Early GPON adopters may still remember the doubled devices the provider installed in their houses. But now things seem to be easier in adopting GPON for both the service provider and the end user. Optical Network Termination (ONT) or Optical Network Unit (ONU) GPON SFP module is the new kid in GPON applications and customers are not familiar with them enough.
ONT/ONU: From Optical Modem to GPON SFP Module
What is your ONT like? Previous ONT is an optical modem. It usually has an SC/APC port for connecting the SC fiber cable, some fast Ethernet or gigabit Ethernet (LAN) ports. Some has a phone port for VoIP service. Apart from a modem, the service provider also lends an IP access router to the customer. If there’s television service required, a Set-Top-Box or a video recorder is also needed. Some Internet service providers (ISPs) put an integrated ADSL router (modem + router).
ONT/ONU GPON SFP module is a bidirectional single-mode SFP module with a simplex SC receptacle. The adoption of GPON ONT SFP is considered a significant improvement in GPON optical networks. Compared with its predecessor, the SFP format has much smaller size than traditional ONTs/ONUs. Besides, it cut down the equipment that need to be provided by the ISP, which also make it easier for customers to connect their diverse data, voice and video devices.
Can I Use GPON SFP Module in My Own Switch?
Since the GPON ONT has been condensed with a small form-factor pluggable (SFP) packaging, can it be plugged into the end users’ switch/router as other SFP modules do? In most scenarios, the answer is yes. Several reasons can prove how it is possible.
Firstly, the GPON ONT module is in standard SFP format. Such a packaging allows the GPON ONT module to be plugged into any standard MSA-compliant SFP port. This is the basis for its use in other devices not provided by the ISP.
Secondly, it has been stated by the vendors of GPON ONT SFP modules that their ONT SFP can be used in a wide range of wired and wireless products with SFP port, such as Huawei MA5671A ONT SFP. The datasheet of this GPON ONT SFP says it can be plugged into the SFP port of any customer- or carrier-owned terminals, including switch and router. Also it can be used in WiFi access point (AP) with SFP slot and to transmit wireless traffic over GPON.
Thirdly and most importantly, there are home users or engineers who have tested PON ONT SFP modules in different networking devices. During the installation of GPON services, some users required to use their own routers instead of the router provided by the ISP. It was approved by the ISP and they whitelisted the users’ router so that it can interoperate with the OLT in the Central Office. What the users needed to do was just to plug the GPON ONT SFP in the SFP port of the router and then plug the SC fiber patch cord into the receptacle of the GPON ONT SFP. The only hard point in this process is to get the support from your ISP. (If you are interested, these using cases can be easily found on google.) In addition, the test of GPON ONT SFP modules from different vendors has been down as well. Most manufacturers’ GPON SFPs can be used in any switches/routers/gateways with SFP ports. But this is the ideal case, not given that some picky original switches/routers may refuse to or the GPON ONT SFP is not a quality one.
GPON SFP is a small transceiver module that allows effective and low-consumption transmission over GPON. And the use of GPON ONT/ONU SFP module at the customer side is even more convenient than previous installations. Theoretically and practically, a standard GPON ONT SFP can be used in any switches/routers/gateways/APs with standard SFP ports. The only question is to get the approval of your ISPs.