FIBER OPTIC INTERNET

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Fiber Optic Internet Resources

Fiber Optic internet uses light waves traveling over glass fiber cables. This advanced technology allows extremely fast broadband internet speeds. Learn more about fiber optic internet below.

What is Fiber Optic Internet?

Fiber-optic internet service is an internet connection utilizing fiber cable to your business or home. By using light waves passing over glass-fiber cable, fiber optics offer extreme speeds. Fiber optic internet services are classified based on the fiber cable type, technology, mode and where the fiber is delivered. If the fiber optic cable is delivered all the way to your desk or to your device, this is called Fiber To The Desktop (FTTD).

If the fiber optic internet connection is delivered to the curb or to the telephone pole outside your business or home, it is called Fiber To The Curb (FTTC). In the telecommunications industry, fiber-optic connections are considered future proof. Fiber data rates are only limited by the terminal equipment, hence future proof.

Fiber Optic Connection Types

  • FTTC (fiber-to-the-curb or cabinet)
  • FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises)
  • FTTH (fiber-to-the-home)
  • FTTB (fiber-to-the-building, -business, or -basement)
  • FTTD (fiber-to-the-desktop)
  • FTTO (fiber-to-the-office)

History of Fiber Optic Internet

Like many of the great inventions of the 19th century, Alexander Graham Bell had a hand in modern fiber optics. Bell and co-inventor Charles Tanner developed the first light projected Photophones.

Using light beams, Bell transmitted over the air voice, much like wireless, but with light. Transmitting light via the atmosphere obviously would not prove practical. On his deathbed, Bell stated Photophone was his greatest invention.

Alexander Graham Bell
Seattle Fiber Optic Deployments

Seattle Fiber Optic Deployments

Seattle isn’t an easy city to maneuver with a car, let alone dig-up and install fiber optic cables. The city released the results of a fiber to the premise study in December 2014. You can see the broadband study results for yourself online. Seattle’s Fiber Broadband study recommends GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Networks) and fiber to the premise technology. New competitors in the Seattle market must lease telephone poles from established ISP’s and local light companies. One telephone pole lease could cost as much as $25 per month. Take those cost times thousands of telephone poles, millions of dollars in labor, plus equipment and you have a very expensive installation.

Wireless internet is the future for many congested cities in the United States. Companies like Google had once considered Seattle a viable fiber deployment market. Those dreams have been dashed, as Google slows its fiber growth. 5G wireless and beyond will be the next step in broadband technology.

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Fiber Optic Distribution

There are two basic methods for distributing fiber-optic networks. Shared and direct fiber optics. Most commonly used method for fiber distribution is shared. Fiber cable leaves the central office and are shared by many customers until the cable reaches the residential neighborhood or business park. Once the cable reaches a point close to the customer, the cable is split individually.

The two methods of share distribution are Active Optical Network (AON) and Passive Optical Network (PON). AON technology uses an electrically powered network to distribute signals to routers and switches in the field. This is a very similar design as most common local area networks. PON technology uses multi-point FTTP network architecture which is unpowered.

Optical splitters enable PON fiber connections to serve up 128 customers. Most Seattle area ISPs deliver triple-play voice, video and data services over direct or hybrid fiber optic networks. Using Ethernet point-to-point (PPoE) via fiber optics has become a standard deployment method in the United States.

DSL Voice Calling Phone

Voice Over Fiber Optics

Fiber connections offer high-bandwidth and flexibility. Transmitting voice over fiber is normally done via Voice Over IP (VoIP) using VoIP Phones. The cost-effective way of using a fiber connection is via the Ethernet protocol. Ethernet is the most widely used technology in local area and wide area network systems.

Fiber cable can transport voice T1 circuits, DS-0 carrier connections, and other legacy voice technologies. ISPs offer Class of Service (CoS) over fiber optic connections. CoS ensures voice service priority. When configuring fiber optics, always consider data traffic priorities for real-time voice and video.

Fiber Optic Disadvantages

Fiber cable will outlast copper, but it’s still very expensive to install. Optical fibers are more difficult and expensive to splice than electrical conductors. Installing any cable in a larger metropolitan area like Seattle is extremely expensive. If you have a fiber cable running next to your building, this is called “on-net”. If you are on-net, the cost of installation is normally less. Installation and monthly internet cost are determined based off an on-site survey your ISP performs.

Fiber Optic Internet Alternatives

Fiber Optic Internet Alternatives

Wireless 5G and above is an optional replacement for fiber optic in the last mile. Using wireless systems offers a huge installation cost savings for providers. Wireless negatives include spectrum availability and cost. Using cable internet is an alternative, but it should not be a replacement. Cable companies use fiber optics to connect into hubs which then distribute via coaxial cable. The major downside to cable is the shared resource factor of cable. The fastest connection will always be fiber.

FTTH or FTTP delivers fiber closer to your physical address and enables bandwidth not available via copper or coaxial cables. Older technology, such as carrier lines, T3 or T1 are also alternative internet options. T1 circuits can be bonded together to produce higher speeds. Another option is Ethernet over copper (EoC). Like T1, Ethernet over copper can be bonded to produce higher speeds over longer distances. But unlike DSL internet or Cable, EoC provides Class of Service (CoS). When sending voice or video over any internet connection, it is recommended to use some type of CoS.

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