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EPON vs GPON Comparison Diagram

Standard ITU.T IEEE IEEE 802.3ah
Rate 2.488G/1.244G 1.25G/1.25G 100M~1G
Split ratio 1:64~1:128 1:16~1:32 1:1
Bearer ATM, Ethernet, TDM Ethernet Ethernet
Bandwidth efficiency 92% 72% 80%
QOS Very good, including Ethernet, TDM, ATM Good, only ethernet Good, dedicate bandwidth
  Class A/B/C Px10/Px20 /
Ranging EqD Logical equidistance RTT /
DBA standard format Manufacturer custom /
TDM TDM over Ethernet (PWE3, CESoEthernet)or native TDM) TDM over Ethernet (PWE3, CESoEthernet) Good, dedicate bandwidth
ONT OMCI None None
OAM ITU-T G.984(powerful) Ethernet OAM(Weak, factory expansion) IEEE 802.3ah
OPEX Low OPEX middle OPEX /
GPON adopts SONET/SDH technology and General Framing Protocol (GFP) to transport Ethernet. It encodes based on IP and ATM or GEM (GPON encapsulation method) encoding.   EPON is an Ethernet-based IEEE standard. It supports packet-based transmission at a speed of 1 Gbps or 10 Gbps.  

EPON and GPON have different data protocols

  ON technical standardization progress  

EPON and GPON differ in architectural approach

GPON provides three Layer 2 networks: ATM for voice, Ethernet for data, and proprietary encapsulation of VoIP. EPON uses a single Layer 2 network that uses IP to transmit data, voice, and video. GPON uses ATM technology to provide virtual circuits for different services sent from a central office to the users’ end. The transport can provide high-quality services, but it also spends much on other virtual circuits according to different services. In addition, GPON devices require multiple protocol conversions, segmentation and reconfiguration (SAR), virtual channel (VC) termination, and point-to-point protocols (PPP).  

EPON is more cost-effective than GPON

EPON supports split ratios of 1:32 and 1:64, while GPON typically supports 1:64 and 1:128. EPON is the best choice when you don’t have to serve many users. While GPON has a large split ratio, it requires high-performance optical transceiver modules, increasing the cost. EPON allows cheaper optics deployed on the ONU because it doesn’t need to achieve a split ratio of 128. When EPON and GPON have the same user, they have a similar cost on fiber cable and cabinet. But GPON chips and optical modules are more expensive than EPON ones. Therefore, EPON is more cost-effective than GPON in terms of installation. The three Layer 2 protocols in GPON require three management systems, while EPON requires only one and doesn’t need multi-protocol conversion. Therefore, EPON has a low cost in this respect.  

GPON has a higher data rate than EPON

EPON has symmetric upstream and downstream data rates. GPON supports multiple data rate levels such as upstream and downstream symmetrical rates and upstream and downstream asymmetrical rates, which is more flexible than EPON. And the upstream and downstream speeds of GPON are higher than those of EPON.  

EPON is more straightforward than GPON at the link layer and access services

EPON uses a simple Ethernet data format that significantly simplifies the link layer and associated management processes, and EPON can provide various services. EPON is more straightforward than GPON. The two encapsulation methods and ATM support are not so effective in Ethernet transport.  

GPON is considered to be the ideal technology to achieve full coverage of broadband network access

EPON is superior to GPON in terms of layers, while GPON is superior in network access services. EPON is only suitable for data services, while GPON is suitable for the triple play. EPON solution is based on Ethernet, which is fully compliant with the characteristics, nature, and performance of Ethernet protocols, while GPON uses synchronous optic network technology (SONET) and synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) to transport Ethernet. The link-layer structure of GPON helps provide better services. GPON is more manageable. It has rich functions and reserves sufficient OAM in the frame structure. It also develops the OMCI standard.  

EPON and GPON have different markets by regions

GPON is popular in North America, while Asia and Europe mainly use EPON. EPON is still the mainstream, but GPON has more advantages in terms of performance and has gradually been accepted in more regions and countries.  

GPON has a better QOS than EPON

The Ethernet itself cannot handle QoS. Therefore, to make EPON better serve users, the concept of a virtual local area network (VLAN) is proposed. The QoS can be achieved by modifying the priority of received frames. But since VLAN is implemented manually, it is very costly. At the same time, GPON itself has good QoS.  


EPON and GPON have their advantages and disadvantages. EPON is still the mainstream of PON network technology. EPON technology is mature, compatible with the existing Ethernet, and easy to manage, which has an advantage in terms of time and cost. Ethernet is the best carrier of IP services that is simple to maintain and easy to expand and upgrade. EPON is more suitable for users who have requirements on the cost and don’t need great QoS or security. GPON is better than EPON in terms of high bandwidth and transmission efficiency. It supports carrier-grade full service, including voice, data, and video. It is more efficient and has a more substantial splitting capacity, transmitting more extensive bandwidth services for more users. So it is more suitable for users with multi-service needs and those with higher requirements for QoS and safety.  
James Hsu

James Hsu

Hello, I'm James Hsu, a sales representative at Hello Signal. I specialize in Fiber Optic Cables, Fiber Optic Patch Cords, Pigtails, ONU/OLT and WDM. I can recommend the most suitable products at competitive prices, ensuring worry-free service. Feel free to contact me with any questions.


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