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This paper proposes an optical network unit (ONU) that works in point-to-point (P2P) optical access systems as well as passive optical network (PON) systems and so reduces the operational expenditure of optical access networks in the full FTTH era. First, we discuss its design and implementation; after clarifying the requirements for the adaptive ONU, we describe how it should work while focusing on Gigabit-Ethernet-based P2P and PON systems. Next, we study its feasibility through experiments on a prototype. Also, we provide some additional considerations regarding the implementation and future application of the adaptive ONU.