FTTH rollout: a reliable, cost-efficient and environmental-friendly pick
With the emerging of fibre optics at a global scale, incumbents have to face two major challenges. On one hand, they need to invest into fiber optic solutions so to increase bandwidth capacity and meet subscribers’ needs, while on the other hand, they must keep on maintaining the old copper networks. Yet, the cost of copper networks maintenance is 40 to 60% higher than for fiber optic networks.
Besides, the benefits of NGA networks are plentiful. Indeed, fiber optic is 70 to 80% more reliable than copper, enabling thus to cut off significantly operational costs such as those related to the maintenance and network failures. Moreover, fiber optic is a more environmental-friendly technology : a Gigabit transmitted through a FTTH network emits 88% less CO2 than a Gigabit carried over a copper network.
Fibre-to-the-subscriber : a prerequisite for copper switch-off
FTTH networks also benefit of a consensus among subscribers. According to a representative study carried out in Sweden, country that has dismantled around 54% of its copper networks by 2020, 82% of FFTH subscribers have declared themselves satisfied with the provided services against only 50% of the DSL subscribers. What the end-users of FTTH-based services appreciate the most is the high bandwith, the access to a wider range of services and a better value for the money.While it’s clear that the copper-to-fiber transition would be meeting both subscribers and incumbents’ needs, the on-site reality shows that the dismantling of ageing copper networks in Europe is facing certain barriers:
- Simplified management of installations: a fiber PoP can replace 4 copper switches
- Space-saving: the equipment enabling access to fiber optic networks takes only 15% of the space occupied by the equipment for copper-based networks.
- Scaleability: fiber optics enables the deployment of 5G networks, more energy efficient than the previous generation networks
- Environmental-friendly: the copper switch-off and the transition to fiber-based networks will enable to save 60% of the energy related costs
- Higher investments and longer times for the deployment of FTTH networks compared to FTTC
- Overly strict regulations
- Extended notice to be observed before the switch-off of copper networks
- Obligations to keep on supplying analogue services
- Obligations with regard to line powering so to ensure service continuity in the event of power cut
In addition, the copper switch-off also requires the replacement of copper networks with all fiber networks. This implies not only the ability and motivation of incumbents to adopt this technology, but also the willingness of subscribers and alternative players to co-invest in FTTH networks.
FTTC and FTTLA networks: a waypoint to 100% fiber-based networks
Despite the growing popularity of fiber optic networks throughout the world, there is still confusion between fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and hybrid networks including both fiber and coaxial cables or twisted pair (FFTC and FTTLA). The imbroglio is nurtured both by the reference to fiber that all these acronyms contain and by the way that certain telecom players and ISP choose to put forward their offers of services. Here is what makes the difference between these three types of network topologies:
- FTTH (Fibre to the Home): subscriber connection is ensured by the continuous deployment of fiber optic from the FCP (Fiber Concentration Point) or PoP (Point of Presence) to the FTTH socket. This type of rollout is also known as a fiber optic network with optical termination. The end user receives thus the optical signal directly from the source and benefits from average speeds of 1Gbps or more.
- FTTC (Fiber to the Curb): fiber is rolled out from the PoP to a street cabinet only or an ONU (Optical Network Unit), located at about 300m from the dwelling to connect. Subscriber connection is enables thanks to the xDSL technology which consists into using the available old copper wire. Among xDSL technologies, VDSL and VDSL2 allow the highest speeds, of up to 50Mbps and respectively, 100 to 200Mbps. FTTC is thus an alternative to pending FTTH deployments.
- FTTLA (Fiber to the Last Amplifier): fiber optic is used to connect the operator network to a street cabinet (ONT). The last mile access network, which is also the most expensive, is based on preexisting copper or coaxial cables. Thus, in the street cabinet, active equipment enables the optical signal to be transformed into electrical signal. FTTLA networks are hybrid fibre coaxial networks, also known as fiber networks with coax termination. This type of architecture offers speeds of up to 100Mbps.
From this comparison, we can conclude that the performances of FTTH networks are unmatched. However, due to shorter lead times and lower rollout costs, telecom players still prefer alternative solutions such as FTTLA and FTTC to all fiber networks. The other major benefit of these alternative network architectures consists into their scalability. Thus, depending on the subscribers’ needs to increase bandwidth, telecom players can deploy the optical last mile (the final leg) at a later date. To do so, they ensure anoptical horizontal distribution (from the ONU to a Building Entry Point) and a optical vertical distribution (from the Building Entry Point to each floor where a subscriber connection has to be made).
FTTH solutions to boost Internet speeds
To bring fiber optic to the subscriber, two different architectures are possible: P2MP and P2P.
- P2MP is a point-to-multipoint network-based architecture. In this configuration, each telecom operator installs a single fiber between the PoP or the Central office and the ONT. Thanks to a passive optical splitter installed at a branching point (ONT), the optical signal transmitted by one fiber is encoded and further routed so to enable the fiber connection of up to 128 subscribers. P2MP networks allow telecom operators to realize capital and operational cost savings thanks to a reduced use of fibers, lack of active equipment between the PoP and the ONT, possibility to allocate dynamic bandwidth, etc.
- P2P is a point-to-point network architecture. This consists into deploying one fiber per subscriber, from the Central office to the optical outlet. The routing of fiber from the PoP to the FTTH outlet implies several fiber sections; connections between are made by using optical splicing or FO connectors. Thus, the optical budget is entirely delivered to one single subscriber, no sharing between dwellings or premises is set in between as for the M2MP configuration. This allows to ensure a maximum bandwidth. However, as the deployment cost is higher, each operator is forced to invest more in fiber, civil engineering and field interventions related to a large extent of fiber termination.
Whether deploying a FTTH network using P2MP or P2P configurations, telecom players need high quality, reliable and scalable network equipment for delivering higher speeds to subscribers while also reducing operational costs. Telenco networks understands the importance telecom players attach to this mission. This is why the company designs and manufactures a complete offer of solutions to support telecom players throughout the world in their copper-to-fiber transitions. As an expert in telecom infrastructures, Telenco networks offers solutions for the maintenance of copper networks as well as for fiber optic rollout in MDUs and SDUs, in low-density or high-density areas. Its offer includes FTTH cabling systems and optical distribution boxes specially engineered to meet the needs of each network configuration. Thus, from the outside plant optical distribution point to the outdoor-indoor optical transition and FTTH socket, the company delivers all the necessary equipment for the deployment of last mile access networks.