A GROWING NEED FOR SPEED
Demand for fast, reliable broadband has never been higher.
In homes and businesses around the country, consumers and employees are streaming films, uploading files, watching high-definition television and using social media – all of which generates vast amounts of bandwidth-hungry traffic.
And as more and more businesses employ mobile technology and a mobile workforce, and migrate operations to ‘the cloud’, they are increasingly dependent on high-speed connectivity. A slow connection prone to outages can mean the loss of several business hours.
According to the Federation of Small Businesses, ‘too many small businesses in the UK are unable to access fixed and mobile broadband services that are “fit for purpose” and meet their commercial needs’.
In an attempt to meet these needs, which are growing particularly quickly in the media and creative industries, some providers are now offering speeds of up to 100 Gb/s.
Landlords leasing to business tenants could make their properties more attractive by installing them with systems infrastructure that is not only able to meet demand today, but can also accommodate the notoriously hard-to-predict technologies of tomorrow.
THE FUTURE IS FIBRE
Gigabit Passive Optical Networks, or GPON, is emerging as a solution to this demand.
GPON technology is already being used throughout the Far East to meet domestic demand for fast internet, and is also increasingly used on university campuses to accommodate the proliferation of digital media in academia.
HOW IT WORKS
GPON, which replaces a traditional copper ‘cat 5’ and network switching infrastructure, uses passive splitters to allow a single fibre to connect the provider’s central office to serve multiple businesses.
It harnesses optical fibre technology to provide security, stability and very high bandwidth.
GPON employs burst-mode (high-speed) transmission with statistical usage capabilities, allowing dynamic control and sharing of bandwidth, using committed and excess information rate parameters.
This means that users will receive a minimum guaranteed bandwidth at peak times and superior service during less busy times.
- GPON can provide users with speeds of 100 Gb/s and beyond.
- Encryption is used to keep each user’s data private and secure.
- Fibre creates a closed circuit, which cannot be hijacked or tapped.
- GPON can share bandwidth dynamically on a single optical fibre.
- Connecting each user to an external comms room eliminates the need for mess or cables in an office, freeing up space and tightening security. Bandwidth is not affected by the distance of the connection from the main comms room.
- Because GPON utilises a passive device, no active electronics are used on site, eliminating the need for cooling or powering, slashing operating costs and boosting stability.
- Optical fibre is unaffected by earth/ground loops, which can disrupt traditional networks and prove time-consuming and costly to eradicate. Neither is optical fibre affected by electro magnetic compatibility and radio frequency interference, which can disrupt traditional Ethernet networks, particularly at high speeds.
EASIER TO MANAGE
- GPON’s splitter technology provides effective bandwidth management, preventing network congestion, which causes errors and retransmitting. This makes it particularly effective for video and voice, which require a stable network with minimal switches to work well.
- Because of its passive nature and ‘street cabinet deployment’ design, GPON saves thousands of pounds per site by eliminating the need for IT management support.
- GPON speed is future proof to 1.6 Tb/s per fibre.
While the high cost of optical fibre technology has been prohibitive, a £1bn UK government scheme to install faster broadband in commercial properties has dramatically increased its affordability.
The Broadband Connection Vouchers scheme is part of SuperConnected Cities, which falls under the SuperFast Britain programme.
Until March 2015, small- and medium-sized enterprises and business landlords can apply for a grant of up to £3,000 to cover the cost of installing high-speed broadband. For a multi-tenanted property, this could amount to a substantial investment in infrastructure.