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Media converters ease FTTH installation

By Max Burkhalter
May 22, 2013

Fiber-to-the-home networks are great from a consumer perspective, but not always so attractive to telecoms. The problem is revenue. FTTH infrastructure is so expensive and challenging to install that there is plenty of risk involved with the process, especially because many consumers are unwilling, or at least reticent, to spend heavily on state-of-the-art broadband services. However, fiber is increasingly necessary in many markets and experts agree that future demand for connecting multiple devices in the home will make FTTH networks essential.

As a result, telecoms are left having to find ways to cost-effectively install FTTH networks now so they can be ready to meet near-future demands. Media converters can play a key role in easing FTTH installation, making them a vital tool as telecoms try to improve FTTH penetration.

Looking at FTTH deployment challenges
One of the greatest difficulties in building FTTH networks is actually running cables out in the community and to homes. It is, in some cases, possible to run these wires on existing power lines, but this can be risky as such wires can be broken with relative ease, leasing space on utility polls can be expensive and many communities favor underground wiring anyway. Building below ground can be fairly easy if the community has a sewer system that allows for cabling installation along the pipelines already in place, but not every setup can support that kind of installation. More often that not, installation involves digging cable trenches.

In many communities, it works well to install FTTH cables directly under or in the ground beside roads. Homes are built near the roads, making it relatively easy to run the primary network along the road and have lines going from the homes to that central link. This can lead to extended construction processes that are not only expensive, but disruptive. Some communities are hoping to resolve this by mandating cabling installation alongside new construction processes, but this is, by no means, a common practice.

Using media converters to ease network deployment
While telecoms don't have much control over how they deploy wiring, they can simplify one aspect of the FTTH installation - connecting to homes. Most houses are built with Ethernet infrastructure installed, making fiber to Ethernet media converters a key consideration for FTTH installation. Cost-effective media converters can ease some of the financial burden that comes with deploying FTTH and make it easy to overcome compatibility issues within the infrastructure.


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