What is a Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON)?
A gigabit passive optical network (GPON) is currently the leading form of Passive Optical Networks. GPON is a point-to-multipoint access network enabling one single fibre connection to serve multiple end-users with multiple technology.
The basis of GPON is that a single fibre connection can be “split” and shared between multiple end points. It achieves this with a passive (not electrically powered) optical splitter in a junction box, usually in the pavement/road manhole around a cluster of potential end customers.
Think of this main fibre link from the exchange to the splitter as a “trunk line” to a business-park, street or housing estate. Once it reaches the park or estate, and a cluster of potential end customers reside, a splitter is connected. From here, multiple ‘drop’ fibre cables that run to each end customer fan out of the splitter. The quantity of fibres connecting to a single splitter/trunk cable depends on the architecture of the network. We’ll explain more below. In some networks, such as Openreach, there is also an “aggregation node” which is where multiple fibres are spliced together between various splitters and the local exchange.