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FTTX: Why ‘Fiber to the X’ is the Solution Needed Today – and Tomorrow

FTTX: Why ‘Fiber to the X’ is the Solution Needed Today – and Tomorrow

9 November 2018 | Reading Time: 3 minutes


How much has the internet changed the way you work and live? For increasing numbers of us, exponential improvements in connectivity are essential, as we’re fast evolving into an always-on, global digital society across our professional and personal lives.

Even 15-20 years ago, things were vastly different. Home and business internet connections were slow, downloads would take hours, and as the internet was accessed via telephone lines, we couldn’t make calls and be online at the same time. With the arrival of broadband, it became possible to transmit information over multiple channels simultaneously and, with just one cable, we could send and receive over the multi-lane “information superhighway”.

Fiber-optic technology has been a key enabler for broadband speeds. Pioneered in the early 2000s, gigabit service adoption is practically synonymous with fiber to the home (FTTH), and is in full advance today. With one gigabit equal to one billion bits, and when delivered in one second, we can achieve 1Gbps or 1,000 Mbps. As a result gigabit applications are set to revolutionize the delivery of services across all areas of life from education to health to business and more – and this is just the beginning.

Solving Increasing Bandwidth Challenges

Of course as technology advances, so do our demands for, and usage of, services. Global internet traffic already doubles every two years and is expected to advance at even faster rates.

And, as available bandwidth increases, so too do basic demands, meaning all bandwidth on offer will eventually be used up as increasingly bandwidth-hungry services are developed. For example, an Ultra HD Netflix connection takes a recommended 25Mbs; should a family wish to stream multiple shows across multiple devices, that can quickly combine to use up the full capacity of a 100Mbps connection. Video streaming, and the arrival of services such as 3D HDTV, 4K, 8K, virtual reality, the advance of the IoT and much more, all add to our growing demands for high-bandwidth, low latency, future-proofed networks.

So what’s the answer?

‘Fiber to the… X’ is the Solution

Fiber presents the answer as it will provide ubiquitous connectivity for today’s (and tomorrow’s) applications and technologies. Offering enough capacity to provide the backbone of all current key networks (such as internet, cable TV, telephone and mobile) to private business and data centers, fiber also accommodates the fast-growing demand for streaming video, which makes up approximately 70% of internet traffic.

Of course there are a range of fiber solutions available to suit a range of applications. Different ‘Fiber to the..’ solutions (or ‘Fiber to the X’ – FTTX) include:

  • FTTH – Fiber to the home
  • FTTC – Fiber to the curb/ cabinet
  • FTTB – Fiber to the building/ basement
  • FTTN – Fiber to the node/ neighbourhood

Global operators are increasingly recognizing the value of fiber, specifically FTTH as their main broadband delivery platform. 35% of operators have already commenced the transition of the majority of network users to FTTH, with completion expected in 2020. Another 25% of operators are expected to transition by 2025.

Benefits of Fiber

In addition to the ability to transport huge volumes of data with low latency (or delay), Fiber solutions offer a range of other benefits:

  • Fiber works well across long distances (65 km+) without signal degradation, and with no requirement to boost the signal along the path.
  • Deployment is straightforward, as fiber can be packaged in a range of cable profiles, so it can be hidden easily.
  • Fiber performance is also easily upgraded post-installation; only the electronics that create/ receive light pulses need to be upgraded – not the cabling infrastructure itself.
  • Unlike other cable types, electromagnetic interference has no impact on fiber, making fiber cabling more secure.

While there is no ‘one size fits all’ fiber solution available today, fiber presents an adaptable, optimum solution and foundation for the communication networks of both today and tomorrow, with the highest speed and lowest latency.

You can learn more about FTTX / fiber solutions here.


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