FTTH technology—Tina Newton
For many of you out there, it’s a jumble of alphabet soup– FTTP, FTTX, FTTN, FTTD. Usually seen as FTTH, this means Fiber to the Home and if it isn’t how you are receiving your voice (telephone), video (tv), and data (internet) connections, it probably soon will be. FTTX means Fiber to the “anywhere” and in general means using optical fiber to provide your broadband network, so you could have Fiber to the Neighborhood (FTTN), Fiber to the Curb (FTTC), Fiber to the Desktop (FTTD) and so on. The closer to your equipment, the faster speed you will have because distance is the major factor in speed and with more distance in metallic cables (copper), the less speed you will have. As a comparison, 1 Gbit/sec can run up to 100 meters on copper but tens of kilometers on fiber and the speed of fiber can be from 20-100 times faster than DSL. So you can see, fiber optics can take higher speed, further distances. What does this mean to the end user? If a person is on the traditional copper wiring, they will have to subscribe at much higher downstream rates in order to get the same speed as with fiber.
What can be done to reduce the cost of fiber installments? In some countries in Latin America, network sharing has been considered which can be compared to the sharing of towers for mobile phone companies. Also, there is the possibility of Passive Optical Networks which use a splitter to broadcast to many users cutting down on the cost as it allows the sharing of expensive components of FTTH and also enhances the serviceability with the network as a whole as the hardware is in one location. However, splitters do add loss to the FTTH link and limits the distance.
In a world where good, fast internet has become an absolute necessity (especially in rural areas where the isolation requires connection to the rest of the world), FTTH itself has become the answer. FTTH is being used in new residential and condo communities at the planning and building stages, allowing customers to move in and be connected immediately. Fiber is being laid in the ground before housing units are sold or even built. In most areas and especially those more isolated, high definition tv, high speed internet, home automation and work at home have been “cannot live without” needs. This amenity adds measurable value to real estate and is, without doubt, a great marketing technique.