Evolution of FTTx networks

In the last years of the first decade of this century FTTx networks started to be installed on larger scale in many countries around the world. Many networks are based upon PON configurations, some use point to point connections from POP to user. Initially transmission speeds were 100 Mbit/s for download traffic and 10 Mbit/s for upload data. Some networks offered symmetric services from the early beginning (100 Mbit/s up and down). In the past 5 years up- and download speeds increased to the 1 Gbit/s level. With increasing use of social networks, the fast growing role of the cloud and continuous improvement of video services it is expected  that network capacity will grow a factor of 10 every 5 years, following a kind of law of Moore.

To prepare our FTTx networks for the future means that we have to make the right decisions today when investing in new networks. When the growth will be as described, many of the networks that are installed today will reach their capacity limits in the coming 5 to 10 years and can only be upgraded at considerable cost or maybe have to be replaced completely.

Increase of capacity of the networks will require the use of higher bitrates and/or more wavelengths, so designing the network of the future requires anticipation on required bitrates and wavelengths. One of the consequences of higher bitrates will be future use of increased power levels in the network.

Important for the future of the network are:

  • Fibre selection. Often reference is made to ITU-T Recommendations to specify fibres to be used in FTTx networks. ITU specifies necessary conditions, but these conditions are not sufficient to guarantee successful operation in future. In some situations it even might be necessary to consider fibre types that presently are not in use in FTTx networks.
  • Quality of connectivity. Few people are aware of the power levels in the core of the fibre. Even in the early FTTx systems the light intensity in the fibre core is orders of magnitude higher than the intensity of the sun at even the hottest spots on our earth. Without proper technology and adequate work procedures connectivity might fail when upgrading a network or even may lead to safety issues.
  • Installation and maintenance procedures have to go hand in hand with made fibre choices. Improper fibre specifications sometimes can be corrected by proper measures in installation and maintenance.

Contact us to lead your FTTx network to a prosperous future!