Understanding Fiber to the Premises (FTTP)

BY: Christina Hansen


Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) is a form of fiber optic communication delivery in which an optical fiber is run directly onto customers' premises. This new technology brings remarkable speed and an altogether new broadband experience.

Fiber to the Premises uses fiber-optic cables and associated optical electronics instead of copper wire to connect a customer to a network. A central office distributes an optical signal over an optical distribution network (ODN). At the end of this network, optical network terminals (ONTs) will convert the optical signal into an electrical signal.

The optical network terminals are located on private property for FTTP network architectures and the signal usually travels electrically between the ONT and the end-user’s device.

Direct fiber and shared fiber are optical distribution networks with competing technology.

Direct Fiber

Direct fiber is the simplest optical distribution network since each fiber that leaves the central office only goes to one customer. Even though this network provides excellent bandwidth to the customer, the amount of fiber used and the central office machinery that is required is very costly. Because of this, the direct fiber is usually used close to a central office and in a small service area.

Shared Fiber

It is more common for each fiber leaving the central office to be shared by many customers. This fiber is split into individual customer-specific fibers when it gets close to the customers. This split is achieved by either an active optical network (AON) or a passive optical network (PON).

Active Optical Network (AON)

An active optical network (AON) uses equipment such as a router, switch, or multiplexer that is electrically powered to distribute a signal. Each signal that leaves the central office is directed only to the customer for whom it is intended.

Passive Optical Network (PON)

A passive optical network (PON) is a point-to-multipoint network with a high bandwidth that brings optical fiber cabling and signals all or most of the way to the end user by non-powered optical splitters, which means less cost, longer reach, and no upgrade.

PONs rely on light waves and are capable of delivering high volumes of upstream and downstream bandwidth that can be changed to suit the user's needs. Included in a PON are an Optical Line Termination (OLT) at the service provider's central office and a number of Optical Network Units (ONUs) near end users.

Advantages of FTTP

With FTTP, new products and services can be activated remotely, either permanently or on demand, whichever the customer prefers. FTTP's performance can be monitored, and before the customer realizes there is a problem, it will be repaired. FTTP is easier to maintain and is less susceptible to harsh weather.

With this new technology, FTTP brings remarkable speed and higher bandwidth along with a wide range of services at an affordable price for businesses and home owners.