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New technology could elevate FTTH

By Donna Donnawitz
September 21, 2012
If you ask me, I'll tell you without a second thought that fiber-to-the-home networks are among the most important telecommunications infrastructure systems being built. However, my perspective is that of a borderline technology geek who looks at the potential offered by FTTH and gets excited about the possibility of having multiple devices connecting to high-definition content streamed from the web all at the same time, all within my home. Essentially, FTTH is exciting from a consumer perspective, at least for households that can afford it.

But if you were to pose the same question to a telecom provider, you'll probably get a very different answer. They'll likely tell you about how good FTTH networks are and spout some jargon about FTTH being the future and all of that, but the same excitement will not be there. The problem is that FTTH, unless installed in an exceptionally effective distribution strategy that also includes fiber to the business, is not the most profitable technology.

Let me explain: Fiber to the home requires laying down miles of fiber-optic cabling, using fiber to Ethernet media converters to connect with copper infrastructure either at or feeding directly to each house and providing much more bandwidth than almost any consumer will use. Because of this, many households, particularly in the current economic climate, will turn to advanced cable and DSL internet services to avoid the higher cost of fiber, and upgrades to that infrastructure can meet current needs at a lower cost than FTTH. So, in many ways, FTTH deployments are building for the future, and telecoms have to look at that as something of a sacrifice when developing current revenue strategies.

This entire climate, however, could be changing. According to a recent release from UTEL, a dedicated research and development organization, scientists have developed a new technology called Fast Light to maintain fiber infrastructure much more efficiently, cutting down operational costs to such an extent that the fiscal model behind FTTH networks completely shifts.

Fast Light enables the automation of many maintenance and repair tasks by optical line terminal faults almost immediately, often before customers have called in complaints about service disruption, allowing telecoms to quickly and less expensively solve the problem. This not only helps with service level agreement compliance, it also reduces operating costs for each repair to such a degree that FTTH infrastructure becomes a more fiscally appetizing option.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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