Fiber Optic Standards: What Are They and Why Are They Important?


No matter where we go, standards affect us. Why? Because standards are helpful for the widespread use of products. Take electrical power specifications for example,  not only the frequency and voltage need to match each specification, but outlets and plugs also are unique to each system. Then how about fiber-optic standards? Luckily, you are in the right place. Here is what you should know!

Table of Contents

Understanding the Fiber Optic Network

Each fiber optic network consists of optoelectronics and physical components. The network usually goes from the provider’s central office to the end user’s facility via the external network. Standards like ITU-T assist in deciding the structure’s extent. Since passive optical networks are most common, this article focuses on them. Therefore, we’ll discuss the main components of a PON regulated by the G.984.2. standard.


Generally speaking, this is an abbreviation used for the optical line terminal. And its task is to send the traffic from the backbone network to the PON’s structure and suitable wavelengths.

An OLT has multiple components, including:

  • Gateway router
  • CPU
  • Network cards
  • Transceiver form the fiber line

Fiber Optic Standards–PON Optical Splitter

Passive fiber optical splitter

Caption: Passive fiber optical splitter

You only need one fiber for the network to reach multiple points. On the other hand, this project will require an optical splitter. You can split the PON at almost any point if you use the right equipment.

The first option is to split the network at the main office. The problem is you’ll require plenty of fiber, which can be a significant investment. Therefore, it’s wiser to place splitters closer to the target facility. As for the purpose of setting the splitters, the idea is to maximize each fiber’s potential. Also, it assists in decreasing the distance from the splitter to the end-user.

A splitter works by receiving a signal and dividing it into multiple paths. Each path usually has the same wavelength. The network rarely consists of more than a couple of split points. On the other hand, you shouldn’t forget to make the last drop at the final destination. The splits are usually · 1:64, although the G.984 can handle up to 1:128 ratios.


We already mentioned the last drop, and it’s important when discussing optical network units (ONUs). The drop cable can have various designs and terminations. On the other hand, it’s smart to consult the ITU-Ts standards to get everything right. The idea is to make the construction resistant to fire indoors. If placed outdoors, it should withstand environmental elements.

The ONU is the last component of the network, and it’s where the cable enters the facility. It means the end-user will probably see ONU. This unit’s task is to manage connections and transfer signals to suitable purposes like telephony, broadband internet, or TVs.

Fiber Optic Standards–FTTH PON Standard

Fiber optic connecting on the core network switch

Caption: Fiber optic connecting on the core network switch

The “fiber to the home” concept involves delivering the desired systems to the end user’s location. That often involves sending TV video, telephone, and internet access signals to the customer’s home. So, the idea is to use one fiber, but multiple wavelengths.

These systems have three major functions. Therefore, we call them triple-play systems. Here are the popular application standards:

  • BPON – this serves for broadband, and its main protocol is ATM. You’ll often find it in various structures, including transferring video, internet, voice, etc. The rates are from 155Mb/s to 1,244Mb/s.
  • GPON – it’s short for gigabit-capable PON. It utilizes GEM or ATM combined with an IP protocol. Therefore, it can reach speeds of up to 2.5Hb/s. Furthermore, it’s extremely flexible, so it allows the triple-play concept.
  • EPON – the abbreviation stands for Ethernet PON. The IEEE standard serves to base this structure. The current rates are 1Gb/s, while there’s a chance we’ll also see 10Gb/s speeds soon. The difference with GPON lies in the data protocols used.

Fiber Optic Standards–Upgrade PON System Specification Summary

A fiber optic cable close-up

Caption: A fiber optic cable close-up

The industry is constantly working on improving the network’s characteristics. So, while the current PONs might be popular, the experts are looking for ways to improve them. It’s notable the GPON networks are the ones where upgrades are most noticeable.

These are the major upgrade options:

  • XG PON – the abbreviation is also 10G-PON, and this standard has been active since 2010.
  • XGS PON – it’s a similar standard to the previous one. The difference lies in transmission types. This option supports symmetrical 10G transmissions, unlike the XG PON, which uses asymmetrical ones.
  • NG PON 2 – another name for this network is TWDM-PON. The full name is next-generation, which indicates this standard is an advanced option.

Here is an overview of the upgrading performance compared to the standards of GPONs.


Following the standards is important since it can ensure optimal network structure and maximize performance. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our experts are ready to assist in finding the right solution for your network!