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Point-to-Point Fiber Network: 5 Things to Consider for Your Business

Point-to-Point Fiber Network: 5 Things to Consider for Your Business

So, your organization in Washington D.C. or Northern Virginia may need a point-to-point network, also known as P2P fiber.

A point-to-point fiber optic network provides a direct, dedicated internet connection from an access node to remote workstations, servers, or business locations. This creates a direct connection for data transmission, offering dedicated bandwidth.

Other business benefits of P2P fiber above traditional fiber network deployments can include:

  • Data security
  • Simpler troubleshooting
  • Superior network administration
  • Not sharing your bandwidth maximizes speed and performance
  • Symmetrical connection; equal upload and download speeds
  • Very easy to scale up for future needs
  • Great flexibility for your organization

Is P2P fiber right for you? Well, that depends. Keep the following factors in mind when evaluating your technology options, providers, and deploying the right business network for your needs.

What is a Point-to-Point (P2P) Network?

A point-to-point fiber-optic network, also referred to as a P2P network, is a dedicated fiber link connecting two physical locations via a private, high-speed connection. 

5 Things to Consider About Point-to-Point Fiber Optic Networks

Here are the five questions to ask if you’re considering a P2P fiber optic network for your business in the Washington D.C. metro area or Northern Virginia:

  1. How Do I Know if I Need a Point-to-Point Fiber Network?
  2. Is a Multi-Point Fiber Network a Better Option?
  3. Where Does P2P Fiber Fit into the Network Landscape?
  4. How Much Flexibility Do I Need?
  5. Do You Need to Future-Proof a Multi-Location Business?

1. How Do I Know if I Need a Point-to-Point Fiber Network?

Here are some very good use cases for P2P fiber deployments:

  1. Connecting multiple buildings on a corporate campus
  2. A need for high availability and security at remote workstations
  3. Very high bandwidth-per-port requirements
  4. Requirements for equal upload and download bandwidth
  5. Specialized security concerns or compliance requirements

Sometimes, organizations opt for P2P due to its governance features. The technology allows administrators to manually control bandwidth allocation per port, which creates extreme flexibility.

Learn more in Connecting Your Locations with a Point-to-Point Fiber Network.

Point-to-point is among the more high-cost approaches to business data connectivity. For organizations who are wondering if they need P2P fiber, there’s generally a need for enhanced control, bandwidth, security, or administrative convenience that outweighs the upcharge.


2. Is a Multi-Point Fiber Network a Better Option?

An alternative to Point-to-Point Fiber-Optic networks is a Gigabit-Capable Passive Optical Network (GPON), which is point-to-multipoint. These can be referred to as multi-point fiber.

Point-to-Point Fiber vs. Gigabit-Capable Passive Optical Network (GPON)

With the GPON approach to fiber deployment, the internet service provider uses fiber to connect their switch to the client’s building. The fiber resources are shared among tenants or ISP clients.

Here’s an example of how a PON fiber network would work: If a multi-location business were backing up data at their headquarters from a remote office in a PON fiber deployment, the backup data would be transmitted from the office on shared lines through the ISP’s switch back to the headquarters location.

In a GPON setup, the data signal is pushed through a splitter that disperses the data to be shared by multiple end users.

While GPON can offer more flexibility and faster implementation than P2P, there are some drawbacks to this type of network:

  • You don't have control over bandwidth allocation, making any scaling for future bandwidth needs difficult.
  • Your connectivity isn't symmetrical; GPONs have slower upload speeds.
  • Data transmission speeds can also slow down during peak usage periods because of the shared infrastructure.
  • In many cases, there are no service-leval agreements (SLAs), quality of service (QoS), or Class of Service (CoS).

Pros of GPON Fiber vs. P2P Fiber

  • Lower costs to implement and maintain
  • More flexibility in installation
  • Strong security with good encryption

Fiber offers enormous business benefits over other approaches to internet connectivity, such as copper cable-based internet. If your company is new to fiber and you know you want fast, secure internet, you’re right--you may not need a P2P network. Fiber alone is beneficial.

The value of P2P implementations is often more clear for connecting multiple business sites or special governance requirements.

3. Where Does P2P Fiber Fit into the Network Landscape?

Confused? That’s okay, conversations about this topic aren’t always as simple as just P2P vs. GPON. 

To help you understand exactly where P2P fits into the landscape of technical jargon that clutters fiber-optic network options, here are a few key definitions to know:

  • Dark Fiber: Fiber resources that are not lit or don't have any electronics on them, yet. This is not an alternative to P2P networks. Instead, it often refers to companies who choose to lay extra fiber cable for future bandwidth needs.
  • P2P Networks: Fiber that goes from point to point. It is good for centralizing control of the network but can cost more and require more equipment.
  • GPON: Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks, a GPON network consists of OLT (Optical Line Terminals), ONU (Optical Network Unit), and a splitter. The splitter will divide the signal when needed.

4. How Much Flexibility Do I Need?

First, let’s make it clear that providers make a massive difference in your experience scaling your fiber or business connectivity up and down. Before you jump to P2P or GPON as the right solution for your needs since you’re sick of waiting months for installations, let it be known that some fiber companies offer fast service turn-around.

However, if you’re a future-looking tech department with a very high need for configuration, P2P offers some advantages over GPON fiber networks.

Pros of Point-to-Point Fiber-Optic Networks for Flexibility

  • Easy configuration
  • Simple planning
  • Ability to build ring redundancy
  • Long geographic reach

5. Do You Need to Future-Proof a Multi-Location Business?

Many enterprises today are facing the same challenges, regardless of industry or business lines. Mobile, global workforces. Multiple business locations. An increasingly tech-savvy user base of both employees and customers who expect the ability to communicate from multiple devices from any location, worldwide.

These challenges were once in front of Montgomery College, the nation’s largest community college. With three campuses, a mobile workforce, and an aging infrastructure of on-premises solutions, Montgomery College needed to simplify governance, meet compliance requirements, and unify its communications across sites and users.

For Montgomery College, a P2P fiber implementation was just part of the unified communications solution. Learn more: download the Montgomery College Case Study.


Considering a P2P Network for Your Business in Washington D.C. or Northern Virginia?

If you’re considering a point-to-point fiber network, chances are you’re already sold on the speed, bandwidth, and reliability benefits of fiber connectivity over alternatives like copper cabling, wireless, or coax cable. However, understanding whether a P2P or GPON deployment is the best option for your business can be more challenging.

For some organizations who need to meet stringent regulatory requirements, unite multiple locations, or achieve exceptional bandwidth governance, P2P fiber can be a gamechanger. For others, simply making the switch to fiber is best.

Learn more about Atlantech’s business fiber internet solutions for D.C metro and Northern Virginia businesses. We also recommend downloading our free eBook, The Insider’s Guide to Fiber Internet Connectivity.


Tom Collins
Post by Tom Collins
March 19, 2024
Tom is the Director of Enterprise Sales & Marketing for Atlantech Online. He has over 20 years of professional experience in the Internet Service Provider industry and is known for translating technology into positive results for business. A native of Washington, DC, a graduate from University of Maryland (degrees in Government & Politics and Secondary Education), Tom is also a five-time Ironman finisher.