Is Passive Optical LAN the future for hospitality?

Being able to offer reliable, high-speed internet connectivity to guests long ago transitioned from ‘nice extra’ to ‘absolutely essential’ in the hospitality industry. From pub and bars, to cafes and restaurants, to hotels and holiday resorts, businesses which are not able to offer their visitors access to the internet over their smartphones, tablets and laptops may well struggle to attract repeat custom.

For larger hospitality businesses, such as hotels and resorts, achieving this comes with particular challenges. First, their networks need to be able to ensure seamless guest connectivity, as outlined above – but that connectivity needs to support a wide range of information, entertainment and communications services. A visitor to a restaurant might just need to send an email or two – a visit to a hotel is like to need to use far more data-heavy applications.

Second, such businesses need to be able to support an array of applications and devices behind the scenes. From building management and security systems, to communication channels for different groups of staff, to entertainment systems, to smart heating and energy systems – a huge and growing range of functions needs to operate on a typical hospitality network.

And traditional copper networks are increasingly unable to keep up. What’s the alternative?

Enter Passive Optical LAN (POL)

This is where Passive Optical LAN comes in. It uses fibre-optic cabling instead of traditional copper cabling and is built on the Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) transmission

protocol. As a result, a POL network architecture does not require multiple levels of aggregated switches and routers; instead, it incorporates optical line terminal, an optical splitter, and optical network terminals.

POLs outperform traditional copper-based LANs across all the major key metrics you can think of:

  • Cost: POLs are cheaper to install andcheaper to run than traditional LANs, because they use less cabling and hardware in the first place, and less energy on an operational basis. In the cost-conscious hospitality industry, where every upfront and ongoing cost must be carefully budgeted, this can be hugely advantageous.
  • Security: POLs offer high levels of security, with less susceptibility to interference like Electro-Magnetic Interference, and the ability to manage different types of user access centrally. This means that both guests and staff can be properly protected and use the network with confidence, even for sensitive information and secure applications.
  • Capacity: POLs can enable the delivery of gigabit speeds to each individual user, as well as the ability to converge multiple different services and communication channels on a single network. In the hospitality industry, this means that guests can be provided with truly superfast connectivity, as well as genuinely next-generation entertainment and information services.
  • Longevity: Fibre cabling is future-proofed hardware which lasts for decades following a deployment. This means less disruption further down the line for repairs and upgrades, and an improved guest experience.
  • Flexibility: Fibre cabling has a greater range and supports a smaller bend radius than copper cabling, and is resistant to interference. This makes it suitable for deployment across a huge range of environments, including old building which have been converted into hotels, and purpose-built holiday resorts, even in remote locations.

The hospitality industry has much to benefit from POL technology. To learn more, get in touch with us today.

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