Apr 30, 2020

Next Gen Internet Access Part 2: FTTH Use Cases, Challenges and Solutions

Fiber to the Home (FTTH) plays a pivotal role in helping access network operators satisfy the ever-increasing bandwidth demands of their subscribers. Given users’ interests in new data-intensive applications like 3D TV, HDTV, online gaming and other OTT services, optical fiber offers speeds and capacity that legacy copper cables cannot match. It should come as no surprise that the global FTTH market has taken off since our previous blog on the subject. Future Market Insights recently forecast that it will reach a total value of $37 billion by 2027 - that’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.4%.

Despite this development, FTTH still lags in second place behind Hybrid Fiber-Coax (HFC) networks when it comes to broadband deployments across North America. According to LightWave, HFC networks account for just over half of broadband connections across the continent. FTTH, on the other hand, only covers about 25%. Although multiple network operators and service providers know that the future is fiber, they face ongoing challenges when it comes to FTTH deployment.

In our two-part series, we have examined the use cases, challenges and benefits of HFC (and now FTTH), allowing us to demonstrate how Precision OT is directly contributing to helping operators and service providers deploy solutions that will best meet the requirements of their subscribers. Let's take a look at FTTH: 

When Using FTTH Makes Sense

FTTH deployments involve the installation of optical fiber from a central point (telecom facility) to individual homes and businesses. This technology offers network subscribers significantly faster speeds and more reliable internet connections than cable, DSL or other wireless connectivity solutions. Network operators use several types of FTTH network structures, each with different transport protocols and methods for encoding and transmitting data. These include Active Star Network, Home Run, and Architecture Passive Optical Network (PON).

When it comes to facing the realities of deployment, however, FTTH tends to be well-suited for new(er) suburban developments. Light Reading offers an excellent example of a new planned community where developers and installation crews are able to place all fiber ducts underground alongside electric, gas and water lines - all before anything is built on top. This makes it easy for an internet service provider (ISP) to send crews onsite, push feeder cables through the existing ducts and work from there to connect them via drop cables to the consumer end equipment. It’s a textbook FTTH deployment scenario with few unexpected challenges.

On the other hand, FTTH faces some strong challenges in already-dense urban environments (older neighborhoods) and out in rural areas. In the former location, network operators and ISPs face the obstacle of dealing with already-dense infrastructure that would have to be disturbed to deploy FTTH. In rural areas, the problem is the opposite - too little infrastructure exists to make installing FTTH easily affordable. In both cases, HFC deployments begin to look more attractive.

 FTTH Deployment Challenges

When it comes to passing and connecting homes with fiber, a few key hurdles confront network operators, especially in dense urban and rural areas. They include:

High costs

Before they can connect individual homes with fiber, network operators first need to install backbone fiber infrastructure in the area they want to serve. This step alone forces them to make a variety of decisions about the fiber products to purchase, the types of installation methods to use and how to keep the speed of deployment up in order to boost ROI. Because there is an overall shortage of skilled, specialized labor (especially in rural regions), large-scale FTTH deployments often get bogged down with missed targets and network reliability issues. This can lead to higher CAPEX and OPEX in the long-run and a sense that FTTH is uneconomic.

Deployment Lag Time

Undertaking a FTTH deployment involves more than installing fiber, however. Regardless of the environment (urban/rural) or whether a company is installing fiber underground or on aerial infrastructure, the operator must secure the necessary approvals from municipal authorities. Getting the right licenses and permits and managing right of way (ROW) issues can slow a project’s timeline significantly.

Overall, keeping FTTH deployments fast is key for network operators to stay competitive and attract subscribers. Here, standardization of installation and speed of equipment procurement work together in making this a reality. Innovations in optical networking equipment are making these goals possible, and Precision OT is playing a key role in this regard.

Leading Class Equipment Solutions for FTTH Deployments

At Precision OT, we play a pivotal role in improving FTTH deployment speeds, quality, and costs. As a systems engineering company focused on optical transceivers and related active/passive optical components, we are a reliable partner for fiber optic network operators around the globe. Here are a couple of reasons why.

First, we offer the widest variety of cost-effective, NEM-compatible optical transceivers that have undergone rigorous diagnostic testing and are backed by a lifetime warranty. When it comes to bringing high capacity fiber services to the home, we offer Copper SFP (TM) and short range 1G SFP (SR) optics, which are frequently used to build out the ONT to end-user infrastructure. As for PON-OLT backhaul, the type of transceiver used will be based on the FTTH (or x) architecture design. For example, wideband - short range 1G or 10G optics can be used to uplink to the core; this strategy works well when the OLT equipment is located in close proximity to edge aggregation gear. However, for remote OLT installations, a more specialized option may be required where custom programmed long haul CWDM/DWDM can be used to allow for multiple OLTs to be transported back to a common aggregation point. You can find our FTTH-compatible transceivers on our website here.

Second, we recently added high quality fiber jumpers to our extensive portfolio of equipment and even created a fiber jumper configurator that can help network operators make the best purchasing decisions for their FTTH deployments. You can rest assured that our jumpers will be optimally compatible with your existing equipment as our engineers always double-check orders before processing.

Take any of our products and you will find that, as an equipment manufacturer, we can help network operators standardize their equipment procurement and improve the speed of FTTH deployments - all without having to worry about equipment reliability issues. Our exceptional approach to customer service, short lead times and even same day shipping upon request have made us one of the world’s fastest growing optical equipment suppliers.

See how we can help you with your FTTH network needs. Contact us with your questions or check out our xPON optics - let us show you why we’re worth your time!