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A passive optical network (PON) is a cabling system that uses optical fibers and optical splitters to deliver services to multiple access points. A PON system can be fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC), fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) or fiber-to-the-home (FTTH). A PON system consists of optical line termination (OLT) at the communication provider’s end and a number of optical network units (ONUs) at the user’s end. The term "passive" simply means that there are no power requirements while the network is up and running.
The underlying machinery of a PON system decides the up-streaming and down-streaming bandwidth and capacity. An asynchronous passive optical network (APON) has an electrical layer based on cell-switching technology. APON is also sometimes referred to as broadband passive optical network (BPON). APON/BPON has a downstream capacity of up to 622 Mbps and the upstream transmission is usually 155 Mbps. In the case of multiple users, a PON system bandwidth can be divided and allocated accordingly. PON can functionally be a “truck” between larger systems such as a cable TV system, home internet system or coaxial cable used for channel transmission.