5 Benefits of Passive Optical LAN in the Hospitality Market
This article from the Association For Passive Optical LAN (APOLAN) details the top five benefits of Passive Optical LAN.
A Passive Optical LAN offers significant capital and operational benefits. Beyond financial savings, the long-term value proposition is what makes POL so compelling to the hospitality vertical
The hospitality market is challenged with an ever increasing demand for dependable and high-quality services. Social media and travel websites allow consumers to easily rate and review a hospitality experience resulting in a highly visible and persistent critique. That is one of the reasons why hotels and resorts must be responsive and proactive in ensuring the guest experience always exceeds customer expectations. One of the most frequently-demanded services a guest will require is high speed internet (HSI). A property can get everything right from a rich list of amenties to the mint on the pillow, but if a guest posts a comment about a weak WiFi signal or slow internet service it can result in a chain reaction of negative online reviews.
While most hotel and resort operators have taken steps to provide a quality HSI service, keeping pace with technology demands over the past couple of decades has been a challenge. The operational impact of replacing copper infrastructure or upgrading network equipment has a measurable impact on guest experience as well as revenue per available room. The number of devices requiring network connectivity also continue to increase. This is why passive optical lan (POL) can contribute significant benefits to the hospitality industry. The benefits of a fiber-based POL are similar to those that service providers have enjoyed in fiber access networks by reducing power, space, and complexity in the midspan of a network while offering higher speeds and reliability. But the details of this value are even more compelling when we take a closer look at the hopitality vertical. Here are 5 benefits that passive optical LANs offer the hospitality market:
- Reduced CAPEX: One of the most common benefits of POL is the upfront reduction of capital requirements for a network imlementation. The nearly all-fiber infrastructure of a POL can eliminate significant amounts of copper-based Ethernet and coaxial cable. With no need for telecom rooms (TR) or racks to house Ethernet switches, a POL flattens the mid-span of voice, video, and data networks by converging all services onto a single, single-mode fiber. This allows a hotel operator to invest in lower cost fiber cable while avoiding the fluctuating cost of copper cable during construction or refurbishment of a site. The savings resulting from eliminating TR’s can include other associated infrastructure such as HVAC, electrical, and access control technologies.
- Reduction in space requirements: One of the most tangible benefits a hotel or resort operator can realize with a POL is the return of valuable square footage to a revenue-generating purpose. The collective impact of removing the need for TR’s throughout a property means that additional space is available for guest rooms or other amenities. The space planning of the property itself is also greatly simplified due to the flexible nature of fiber cabling which has no distance limitations. The removal of the 100m copper cabling distance limitation allows for a variety of floorplans which can now extend further laterally as well as vertically without requiring TRs.
- Minimized business disruption: POL greatly reduces any downstream disruption of business. This is because, as technology changes (e.g., 10G PON is desired), only the end points of the POL need to be replaced. Even then, different technologies such as GPON (2.5G) and XGS PON (10G) can coexist on the same fiber infrastructure without the need to pull new cable or replace connectors. POL also ensures that the single mode fiber cable deployed today will be viable much longer than what we have seen with copper infrastructures. This is due to the ability of single mode fiber to transmit far more data than copper cabling ever has. Additionally the reliability of passive optical networks has been demonstrated for many years in service provider networks and now enterprise and hospitality customers can benefit from that same solid performance.
- Improved ability to adapt to new technology demands: Increasingly, the networks of hospitality properties are going wireless. While many hotels still offer an Ethernet outlet in the guest room, industry trends show a clear shift to nearly all-wireless HSI for guest services. POL is well-suited to accommodate this trend by providing both standard Etherent outlets as well as connectivity for wireless access points (WAPs) which require power-over-Ethernet (PoE). The optical network terminals (ONTs) of a POL provide a future-proof path to new technologies such as 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless or IoT technologies such as Z-Wave or bluetooth.
- Ease of Use: Many hotel or resort operators require 3rd parties to support their networks on an ongoing basis. While moves, adds, and changes are ususally not very frequent in hospitality networks, there can be a significant operational cost when changes or troubleshooting is required. POL networks offer a streamlined and user-friendly management interface that dispenses with much of the service provider complexities that would prevent less-technology-savvy customers from being self-reliant. This translates to an increased flexibility for property management staff to have visibility on network performance and affect minor changes in their network without additional operational costs.
These and other benefits associated with Passive Optical LAN are providing a new and compelling avenue for hoteliers to accommodate increased network utilization while simultaneously saving both operational and capital costs.
The Association for Passive Optical LAN (APOLAN) is a non-profit organization that is driving adoption and educating the market about the technical and economic advantages of Passive Optical LAN technology.