Motorola has capitalized on some innovation from its work with Verizon to create a passive optical LAN (POL) technology for enterprises.

Today, Motorola announced its POL at the Interop Business and Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. The new technology is designed to replace traditional switches in office buildings with POL devices connected by fiber.

Office buildings with local area networks (LANs) typically house switches in equipment closets, explained Steve Hersey, senior director of marketing with Motorola. The switches are connected with CAT-5 or CAT-6 cables to Ethernet endpoints, which must be within 100 meters.

"The POL replaces those work group switches with a passive splitter," said Hersey. The split fibers go to work group terminals, which then provide the Ethernet connections.

This technology can go 20 kilometers from a POL splitter, said Hersey. "It eliminates the 100-meter management problem."

Twenty kilometers is a far cry from 100 meters and could transform the way LANs are networked on even large office campuses.

Besides the distance advantage, the POL can support more endpoints. In traditional LAN architecture, a switch services around 24 Ethernet ports, said Hersey, adding that the POL can support as many as 128 Ethernet ports per splitter.

Motorola has been working with Science Applications International Corp., a value-added reseller better known as SAIC, which has deployed the POL technology in a number of live tests, said Hersey.

Motorola’s announcement said the POL is based on the company’s gigabit passive optical network (GPON) technology. In fact, the POL sounds an awful lot like the optical network terminal (ONT) used by Verizon in new MDU developments. (For more, click here. For background on GPON and Verizon, click here.)

Hersey said, "The technology itself has been deployed to millions of endpoints – for example, Verizon FiOS."

Aside from the technological benefits, Motorola is touting cost savings as well. The POL eliminates the need for numerous equipment closets to house switches.

In pre-launch tests, the POL realized a 31 percent reduction in capex costs and a 48 percent savings in energy costs in an office with 250 users. Cost savings increase with scale, going up to 75 percent in both capex and energy savings for business campuses with 10,000 users.

– Linda Hardesty

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