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The architecture of an FTTx network is the logical or theoretical view of the network, as well as how the components (i.e., cable, hardware and splitters) relate to each other. The topology is the physical layout view of the network. It is where components are located and how they are connected. It is also how the architecture is implemented on the map. The topology may look the same as the architecture, or look very different, even though it provides the logical function dictated by the architecture.
Service providers deploying FTTx networks with point-to-multipoint passive optical networks (PON) topologies have a fundamental architectural choice to make regarding splitter placement in the network. This involves using centralized (single-stage) or cascaded (multi-stage) splitter configurations in the distribution portion of the network. According to the desired outcome of the business plan, both are deployed for various reasons and come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
The architecture drives costs in FTTx networks, so it is important to understand the different approaches. The following types of FTTx access networks are all point-to-multipoint. The optical splitter used in PON-based point-to-multipoint networks can be placed at different locations in the network such as:
- Centralized splitting architecture
- Distributed split (cascaded) architecture
- Daisy-chain architecture
- Star architecture
- Optical fiber tapping
- Fiber indexing
As today’s network technologies advance, operators can choose among different strategies and approaches for bringing fiber deeper into their network. As operators must be able to respond to fast-changing demands and service requirements, network flexibility is increasingly critical. Given the ever-growing demand to both increase fiber capacity and reduce future civil works costs, more fiber is deployed in the network than currently required to accommodate future needs. The amount of excess (dark) fiber and its location in the network depends on local regulations and competition. However, besides reducing civil works costs, this approach provides faster connectivity at times and is important to winning new customers. With today’s reliance on ubiquitous connectivity, ultra-high network reliability is no longer a nice-to-have, but it is designed from the ground up.
That’s why it is important that you learn all aspects of an FTTx architecture from the CommScope Infrastructure Academy. In its free FTTx Architectures (WR9423) course, students will understand the system architecture used for FTTx networks, centralized and distributed split solutions and the infrastructure options involved.
If you are involved in the design or installation of FTTx solutions and wish to improve your knowledge and working practices, then this course is for you.