Fiber to the home: 'It's insanely better'
Cable too slow? Try blazing-fast optical fiber.
Computerworld - Some call it fiber to the home (FTTH) or fiber to the premises (FTTP) or fiber to the node (FTTN) or fiber to the curb (FTTC) or fiber to wherever (FTTX).
But Jared Wray, an IT consultant in Seattle, has a simpler description.
"It's insanely better," he said. "I downloaded Microsoft SQL Server Service Pack 1, a 252MB file, in two minutes, 30 seconds. It's to the point where the speed of your throughput is gated by the speed of the remote server, rather than your local interface."
For $40 per month more than he had been paying for a 6Mbit/sec. cable modem connection, he became an early user of an FTTH service from Verizon Communications Inc. called FiOS, with 30Mbit/sec. downstream and 5Mbit/sec. upstream. Instead of a pair of copper wires connecting his house to the telco central office, a fiber-optic strand was laid to his house.
Replacing the backbone
Basically, the phone companies have replaced their backbone networks with fiber, and are, in an increasing number of instances, extending that fiber to individual subscribers, affording them unprecedented data speed, offering exciting possibilities for telecommuters. Indeed, pundits look forward to a day when copper phone wires will be found only in museums, and the availability of enormous amounts of bandwidth will give birth to applications and services currently undreamed of.
As of September, there were 1.01 million FTTX users in North America, said Mike Render, a consultant at RVA Market Research in Tulsa, Okla. That's a major leap from the 332,700 subscribers counted in 2005, or the 146,500 counted in 2004. Almost as interesting to telecom analysts is the number of homes passed (i.e., the necessary fiber has been laid in front of the house.) That number has also ballooned, reaching 6,099,000 in September, up from 2.7 million in 2005 and 970,000 in 2004.
Wray's carrier, Verizon, is the single largest FTTX carrier in North America. Verizon spokesman Mark Marchand in Basking Ridge, N.J., said the telco plans to pass 6 million homes with fiber by the end of this year and will continue to pass 3 million additional homes yearly through at least 2011. By then about half of Verizon's 30 million home market base will have been passed.
"We want to build a network that would not just cover us for the next four or five years, but be future-proof," he said. He noted that reaching higher speeds only requires putting new electronics on either end of the fiber.
Verizon FiOS subscribers are offered downstream speeds of 5, 15, 30 and (in selected markets) 50Mbit/sec., using technology called broadband passive optical network (BPON) with a 622Mbit/sec. channel that is optically split 32 ways. Marchand estimated that the system could support 100M bit/sec. subscriber connections, but that speed is not being marketed yet.
- Virtually Delivered High Performance 3D Graphics "A picture is worth a thousand words." That old phrase is as true today as it ever was. Pictures (i.e., those with heavy...
- Who does NSS Labs "Recommend" for NGFW? In 2012, NSS Labs found that most available NGFW solutions "fell short in performance and security effectiveness." In 2013 NSS Labs noted "marked...
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- Improving Business Value of WAN Optimization Want to achieve faster ROI with WAN optimization? Read the latest IDC report and discover how you can cut IT costs without compromising...
- Live Webcast IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency... All Networking White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!