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Termination practices a key part of FTTH deployment

By Max Burkhalter
September 2, 2011
Fiber to the home is rapidly becoming more prevalent in the telecom sector as a growing number of service providers invest in optical network technologies to bring high-performance internet to end users. However, installing FTTH networks can be a major challenge, leaving telecoms with a few important decisions when considering how to deploy optical cables.

One of those challenging decisions is the best way to terminate optical cables. When the FTTH network is deployed, the fiber-optic cable needs to be run to each home or business, terminated and attached to a fiber-to-Ethernet converter. While this process sounds fairly simple, the diverse nature of fiber termination techniques can make it difficult for telecoms to choose the ideal method for their specific needs, Lightwave reports.

Factory termination is emerging as the most popular method of optical termination, the report said, because it removes some of the hassle of having to terminate cables in the field. As a result, telecoms can install new optical networks without having to support cabling termination teams along with the project. This can reduce the operational costs of performing the installation and reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a project. Furthermore, factory termination is easier to standardize, creating consistency around a large-scale project, the report said.

While these advantages are prioritized by some telecoms, a group of service providers is still favoring field termination because of the inherent elasticity it creates. Instead of having to purchase cables of specific lengths and making sure they match the distance needed for FTTH deployment, a company using field termination can simply invest in a spool of optical cables and terminate the cord when it needs to. This makes the project more flexible, and reduces the capital costs of investing in cables of varied lengths, the report explained.

The debate between field and factory termination has created a market for both fusion and mechanical splicing. However, the report said fusion splicing is proving too costly for the majority of service providers. However, many mechanical splicing techniques are inadequate. This is being overcome by a number of key innovations in the sector, according to the report.

Such progress could be key, as a growing number of telecoms are experiencing a healthy market for advanced network deployments. According to a recent Infonetics Research study, the global markets for advanced forms of DSL, FTTH and EPON networks is rising, creating many growth opportunities for service providers prepared to meet customers' demands for high-performance networking.


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