The industry has been a buzz about Gigabit-to-the-Home (GTTH). People want higher speeds no matter where they live and providers are in a race to win new customers – and keep existing customers in this new frontier.

One reoccurring question throughout the industry has been, “What’s the best strategy for deploying GTTH?” The question implies that there is one strategy that will solve the problem for every provider. We think a better question is, “What’s the best strategy for deploying GTTH for my network and customer base?” With this new question in mind, let’s look at the three main technologies for GTTH: Fiber-to-the Home (FTTH), DOCSIS 3.1, and G.fast for DSL.

FTTH

FTTH is a great choice for providers expanding into greenfield environments where a new housing development is being built or a high-rise building is under construction. It’s cost effective to bring fiber to the home using Passive Optical Network (PON) since there is no legacy network in place and few physical or regulatory obstacles.  For high-rises, the main fiber to the node or building can be installed before major building or road improvements are made to the area, making it easy to install.

DOCSIS 3.1

DOCSIS 3.1 is a good fit for service providers that have already invested in an HFC plant and are planning to increase bandwidth to existing structures or greenfield areas. Backward compatibility allows providers to ramp up DOCSIS 3.1 in specific parts of the network as demand requires, making it a cost-effective strategy.

Sometimes the increased bits per Hz enabled by DOCSIS 3.1 are not enough to meet the bandwidth demand by itself. Fortunately, Distributed Access Architectures (DAA) have emerged to address these concerns. Remote PHY, Remote MAC/PHY and Remote Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) all migrate much of the hub-based functionality out of the fiber node, overcoming traditional constraints.

GFast

Gfast has turned existing copper networks from a dying technology into one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to bring 1G to the home. Gfast can take existing copper lines and use wider frequency profiles, from 2MHz up to 106MHz, to achieve 1G speeds for both the upstream and downstream.

The distance of the copper segment determines the Gfast rate reach. Distances under 250 meters from the distribution point to the home are best for obtaining 1G, with shorter distances performing better than their longer counterparts. This makes dense urban deployments the best target for Gfast where urban infill is taking place.

As you can see, each technology has benefits that make it a good choice in specific situations. The best strategy for you might be one, two, or all three technologies depending on the current state of your network, the physical demands of the deployment area, and the amount of bandwidth demand from your customers in each area.

For a more in-depth look at each technology and their respective migration strategies, read our white paper Strategies for Deploying Gigabit Broadband to the Home. In the next blog, we’ll cover the challenges you will face in deploying these technologies and look at the best testing strategies to make sure your deployment is a success.

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