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Internet Access Guide : Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH)

FTTH Internet access
Picture: FTTH
A fiber optic access network delivers multiple types of services to subscribers' homes.

Fiber optic cable has long been used in backbone network, that's the network that interconnects telephone switches and data centers. Fiber optic cable is selected due to the advantages it has over other transmission media. It carries information as optical pulses (not electrical signals as in twisted pair or coax), therefore it is immune to interference (EMI and RFI), crosstalk, and noise. It can deliver information over longer distance than copper or coax. It has abundant bandwidth for carrying information, limited only by the equipment that lights the fiber. 

FTTH or FTTP (Fiber To The Premises) brings the fiber optic cable deeper toward customer premises if compared with FTTN (Fiber To The Node) or FTTC (Fiber To The Curb) that is commonly used for delivering ADSL/VDSL or cable TV. Due to the price decrease of fiber optic cable and equipment (among other reasons), in recent years more telcos and independent service providers have started the deployment of FTTH networks, targeting those people not satisfied with DSL/cable Internet experience. With competitive pricing and SLA (Service Level Agreement), most heavy Internet users would love to switch to FTTH.

An FTTH operator or internet provider delivers multiple type of services from the Central Office (CO) or Point of Presence (PoP) via a fiber optic strand to a subscriber home. The types of service that can be offered via FTTH network include VoIP, lifeline POTS, RF video, MPEG video, IPTV, HDTV, video-on-demand, pay-per-view, high speed Internet, and numerous other services. Generally speaking, FTTH is the medium of choice for delivering triple play services (voice, video, and data).

The CO or PoP is fed with content from Video Headend and the Internet. It has interfaces that connect it to content sources, such as ATM/Ethernet switch, router, and GR-303 voice (PSTN) gateway. From the CO, the content mix in the form of electrical signals is converted to optical pulses before being transmitted over the Optical Distribution Network (ODN) toward subscriber homes. At each subscriber home, a CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) converts the optical pulses back to electrical signals.

page 2 : ODN architectures
page 3 : Passive Optical Network (PON)
page 4 : FTTH download and upload rates