Our Latest Whitepaper Fiber To The Distribution Point (FTTdp): Where and why it can make sense looks at how the growing demand for network capacity is driving the need for new Fiber infrastructure globally; one that provides capacity for now and for the bandwidth-hungry decades to come. A Fiber to the Home (FTTH) deployment method is the clear solution to our ever-growing information needs, but the cost of implementation is not always viable.
In an environment where FTTH is not the clear solution to this problem, Fiber to the Distribution Point (FTTdp) is a promising option.
So, what is FTTdp?
Although the phrase ‘Fiber to the Distribution Point’ has been thrown around a lot in the past few years, the term ‘Distribution Point’ is not well defined and can be used in reference to equipment at very different levels of the network. In this context we use ‘Distribution Point’ in the most common sense: to refer to a small device providing individual drops to a small number of premises (generally 4-8) from the street level. Around the world this architecture is often referred to as ‘Fiber to the Drop Point’ and is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘Fiber to the Curb/Kerb’ (FTTC/FTTK) and ‘Fiber to the Cabinet’.
In the context of this blog, we define Fiber to the Distribution Point (FTTdp) as an architecture where fiber is “materially closer” to the premises than would normally be the case for Fiber To the Curb/Cabinet (FTTc). (see image below)
Fiber-To-The-Distribution Point (FTTdp) – The next evolutionary step on the road from conventional telephone network to full-fledged fiber provisioning ( Fiber To the Home, or FTTH).
In the FTTdp setup, Fiber pervades most of the network, and only the drops from the distribution point to the premises are copper. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘deep Fiber’ or the ‘last mile’ network with the copper drops typically between 30m and 200m. Due to the proximity of the distribution point to the premises, a cascaded split architecture is often used to reduce the Fiber count to increase quality of service.
FTTdp also enables several modern advancements across copper lines: VDSL2, G.Fast, XG.Fast, and G.hn, which are able to reach FTTH-like broadband speeds.
Why is it relevant now?
Due to ever-increasing demand, network owners around the world are constantly looking for the most cost-efficient way to provide adequate service to their customers. This drives a continuous search for alternative methods of building and operating a network, resulting in a number of emerging technologies. Recent advancements in G.fast and related tech means that FTTdp has now become a realistic method of deployment.
The Australian Case Study
In 2007 NBN Co was founded to roll out a national FTTH network across Australia. Since then the network has been adjusted to a Multi-Technology Mix (MTM) to try and speed up time to delivery and reduce end-to-end costs. This was primarily due to a few key factors in the Australian market:
- A nationwide FTTH network is particularly prohibitive due to high labour costs and large geographic area
- Minimal competition across the telecommunications industry
- The services must be provided to 100% of the Australian population
Unlike many deployments across Europe and the United states, the cost to deploy internet service to certain regions differs from a traditional commercial deployment, wherein a network owner may choose a single network architecture and deploy only to where it’s commercially viable. For these reasons, the Australian environment provides a particularly interesting case study on finding feasible alternatives to FTTH.
MTM uses a mix of old and new technologies (such as Fiber, copper, Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial cable, wireless transmission, and satellite service), that can be evaluated and applied on a case-by-case basis.
NBN chose to incorporate FTTdp into their MTM architecture as it provides an intermediate step between FTTN and FTTH. Unlike FTTN, it provides the flexibility to upgrade easily to FTTH on an on-demand basis, and like FTTH, it provides the quality of service required by consumers today. In this way, it provides an appropriate balance between initial deployment cost and network longevity.
FTTdp has been recognised as a technology that can bridge the gap between FTTN and FTTH. By removing the need for Engineering and construction companies to build the “last mile” of the network it can be done at a lower cost and faster speed. Download our latest whitepaper Fiber To The Distribution Point (FTTdp): Where and why it can make sense and learn more about how it can make sense for your FTTx deployment.