Customers or end-users demand more bandwidth supported services even to the home which has triggered the massive deployment of optical fibers to the home. This bandwidth demand has its roots in the availability of triple play of VoIP – IP, Video & Internet and Metro and core access. Copper telecommunication networks are not able to meet this bandwidth requirement and quality of service.
Taking into consideration the fact that data sent through copper wires are easily accessible to miscreants, add security concerns to the privacy of individual customers. Optical fibers are not easily accessible to such people and are safe from electromagnetic influences too. The bandwidth, speed, quality, and safety of data forced the technology to leave the copper cables hundreds of years virtually back, though copper is trying to show its presence by offering continually improved bandwidth and cheaper network solutions. But the ever-increasing bandwidth-hungry services getting added up on a day to day basis to the internet and other communication world thrust the need for optical fiber.
Network providers have to take care and ensure that the medium they use for their network will support services that may come up in at least the next 10 years. This anticipated bandwidth requirement in the future is one of the main driving forces, which accelerated the growth of Fiber to the home deployments recently. To make it short, Fiber is the clear winner.
When everybody talks about Fiber to the home and fiber to the premises, fiber to the curb, etc, we may get confused why so many terminologies for a single service using fiber to the customers. These terminologies getting added up as the service providers use different terms as the fiber gets nearer to the end-user. On a general agreement, the following definition will help all to understand well how to identify the fiber to the X services (X being anywhere you like to connect fiber.)
FTTx can be defined as the network architecture using optical fibers replacing all or part of the existing copper telecommunication wires. Keeping this view in mind, let us distinguish the most common terminologies used in the FTTx market.
Optical fiber cables had been used mainly for long-haul application and their major application was limited to connect the copper cable network for a long distance. This was mainly due to the fact that optical fibers have very little attenuation compared to copper wires and repeater distance was quite high, around 60km. Also, optical fiber cables have low weight and high data can be transmitted through the fiber. Then Fiber cables started replacing the city network loops, shown their presence and now dominating in backbone networks.
Optical fibers started their journey further from central telephone exchanges to the neighborhoods where many houses and offices are located. This was then the network installers termed this as Fiber to the Neighborhood. When our Optical fiber reached the neighborhood, they handed over the data to the copper wires to carry them to the subscriber’s telephones and computers or you name it wherever people used them. Our optical fibers got themselves terminated typically around more than 300 meters away from the subscribers. This is the distance from subscribers to the nearest Fiber termination box and such services are termed as FTTN – Fiber to the neighborhood.
As the years passed, the internet and other related communication services pushed fiber more near to the individual subscribers and now the fiber reached the curbs and the distance is less than 300 meters and hence commonly named as FTTC – Fiber to the Curb.
Fiber did not stop its journey at the curb and slowly crawled towards individual building and got terminated at the main distribution box. From there copper distribution cables took care of the signals to the subscriber. When the fiber reached the buildings whether it is office buildings, apartments, or commercial market complexes, network.
Fiber has reached the Optical Network Terminal- ONT or Optical Network unit – ONU. From ONU/ONT, Coaxial/cat-6 cables will connect to the computers or television or telephone or all of them as the case may be.