Difference Between ONT & ONU

Generally, ONT is ONU. The ONU can effectively improve the uplink bandwidth utilization of the entire system and configure channel bandwidth based on the network application environment and service characteristics. In this way, it can carry as many terminal users as possible without affecting the communication efficiency and quality, improve network utilization and reduce user costs. They both are terminal devices to connect users in a passive optical network. However, technically, there still are some differences in some aspects. Read on the learn more details.

1. Definition

ONU refers to optical network unit. It comes from IEEE standard.

ONT refers to optical network terminal. It comes from ITU-T standard.

2. Deployment

In a passive optical network (PON), there is a passive optical splitter between OLT and ONU/ONT. The ONU/ONT will collect and cache the Ethernet data that users require. Then, it sends the data to OLT according to the transmitting window assigned. It will also optionally receive data from OLT. The ONU/ONT will respond to OLT if it needs to receive the data.

However, there may be some other networks like Ethernet between ONU and users. The ONU is always set up outdoor. It may be placed on corridors and some public areas. ONT is deployed on the users’ end directly. You can consider ONT as a part of ONU.

3. Types of ONU/ONT

Due to different functions, occasions and standards, there are various ONU/ONT such as xPON/EPON/GPON ONU, POE ONU, and CATV ONU. Also, according to the deployment occasions, ONU can be classified into SFU, HGU, SBU, MDU, MTU, etc.

Here we will mainly introduce HGU ONU, which is mostly applied in FTTH. For instance, the V-SOL 4GE+1POTS+ac WiFi+USB HGU ONU is designed for fulfilling the demand for FTTH and triple-play service.

The deployment strategy of the HGU ONU terminal is similar to the SFU ones except that the functions of the ONU and RG are integrated in hardware. Compared with SFU, it can realize more complicated functions of control and management.

What is the purpose of an ONT/ONU?

On a fiber network, the ONT/ONU is located at your home. The purpose of this device is to use optical fiber to connect to the passive optical network (PON) and communicate with your Internet service provider to get an Internet connection.

How an ONT works

An ONT is located at the customer premise (residential or commercial). The ONU usually communicates with an ONT, which may be a separate box that connects the PON to TV sets, telephones, computers, or a wireless router.

How an ONU works

An ONU is located outside the home. An ONU converts optical signals to electrical signals via a fiber cable. An ONU organizes and optimizes different types of data coming from customers to efficiently send it upstream to the OLT (located at an ISP’s central hub).

What to Look for in an ONT/ONU

An ONT/ONU like Hitron’s 10G xPON ONT/ONU NOVA-2004offers key features of a powerful ONT/ONU device:

    • Full access to 10G speed
    • Access to 10G data and voice services
    • Flexible fiber options (10G-EPON, XG-PON, and XGS-PON)
    • VoIP voice services
    • Battery backup in case of a power outage
    • Allows you to keep using your existing DOCSIS provisioning systems
    • Easy to install yourself or for a professional to install for you

Hitron’s powerful ONT/ONU solutions provide high-speed Internet access for residential and business customers. Ask your ISP about Hitron’s offerings today. Visit our Learn Page for more fiber-optic networking content.


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