5 Key Advantages of PON Internet, a.k.a. Shared Fiber
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Curious about the advantages of shared fiber or PON technology?
You should be, if you’re a business in rural United States. Shared fiber – or PON or Passive Optical Network – may be your best and most affordable chance for getting the fastest and most reliable connection to the internet.
Until recently, fiber internet has been out of reach for many businesses, particularly in small towns, due to the high construction and equipment costs of building new fiber optic cables in a community.
“It really is an exciting technology,” says Peter Hicks, director of Product Development for CableONE Business Services. “It combines the most favorable attributes from both coax and fiber, and just brings to the user so many advantages, along with the new opportunities that come to businesses and communities with access to high-speed internet.”
For example, like coax cable, shared fiber provides affordable access and can be purchased at specific speeds that fit your business. It also allows you to easily upgrade to more speed/bandwidth whenever needed. And it can be accommodate all your needs, including data, voice and video. And, as we’ve come to know of fiber, it’s as fast as the speed of light and ultra-reliable.
Shared fiber internet offers small business owners many benefits when it comes to cost, quality, reliability and scalability. Check out these five distinct advantages:
Lower Cost to You
Because PON technology uses a single-optical fiber to support multiple users, it costs less in infrastructure and material costs when compared to the costs of a dedicated fiber line for your business.
With its fiber-based architecture and shared bandwidth over a broader customer base, PON internet can be provided at a fraction of the cost of dedicated fiber-optic service. That opens up new opportunities for businesses and rural areas to have access to high-speed fiber internet.
Highest Available Speeds
Shared fiber technology transmits data at the fastest speeds available, supporting a gigabyte or more. Plus it’s symmetrical, meaning you get the same speed whether data’s traveling upstream or downstream. (Symmetric speeds are especially important for businesses that make heavy demands on downloads and uploads simultaneously.)
While shared fiber supports up to 2 Gbps of internet speed, you may not need it that fast. With shared fiber, you can choose the speed that’s right for your business. You can buy as little as 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps – still symmetrical – and scale up later to customize to your needs.
Shared fiber is the most expandable and scalable connection, says Dan Conrad, general manager of the CableONE Business shared fiber unit. Its “scalability” is a fantastic advantage for both users and providers.
One reason that’s even possible is the availability of unused fiber strands that are run in the initial infrastructure build. Should more capacity be needed, there’s room for expansion or “scalability” without having to lay new fiber.
“That means it’s faster and easier to change to higher speed,” Conrad says. “In most cases this can be done within hours if not minutes.”
Reliable & Adaptable
The superb reliability factor of shared fiber is a significant advantage for businesses. As you know, downtime on your connection can bring communications and productivity to a complete stop, and that can have a real effect on your business.
One reason it’s more reliable can be found in the fiber itself. Bandwidth is distributed to fiber internet users similar to current cable modem technology but, instead of using copper coaxial cable, data travels across fiber-optic cable, which is smaller, lighter, more flexible, and easier to route through ceilings or plenum returns.
Because it doesn’t use electricity to transmit data like cable and DSL technology, Conrad says, fiber is also impervious to electro-magnetic interference.
“It’s not affected by electrical lines that can cause static on copper cables,” he adds. “This also makes it more secure as it can’t be compromised as can electrical signals.”
PON offers higher speeds at a lower cost per megabit than copper-based services, and performs better than copper.
More Than Internet
Shared fiber can support multiple services on one line. For example, in addition to delivering the internet to your business, it can handle voice (phone service) and video data.
So basically, you’ll also be able to get your phone and video service through shared fiber but with higher quality and more reliability.
Flexibility: Potential To Grow
PON’s point-to-multipoint structure scales 32 times faster than the dedicated fiber-optic network. That’s especially important if you’re a growing business or already have an expansion plan that you know will change your bandwidth needs later on.
“Shared fiber can be expanded easily, and cost effectively,” says Conrad, “to better fit with your evolving needs or a growing population.”
Closely related: 6 Ways Shared Fiber is Transforming Rural Communities