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Fibre to the node or fibre to the premises?

At the Home or Business Premises

What impact will this have on cabling within the residential premises?

Probably not a lot as in most cases the customers who are made aware and do need the full benefit of high speed networking throughout their premises will have category 5e or 6 cabling installed at build stage or by retrofitting. Fibre in the average premises would not be of benefit in fact it would create its own problems,

Consider this. The Fibre To The Premises network is single mode fibre terminating at the premises on an NTD. In this case the NTD is also a media converter, converting light energy to electrical energy, ready for the standard RJ45 (equipment plug). Now if you had some silly idea to go fibre in the premises with the inherent fibre high loss connectors over short distances. Your fibre media would be multimode, not single mode. You would have to supply a media converter and power to convert the FTTP NTD electrical energy back to light energy. This does not make sense. High speed data cable under 100 metres will have all you would ever need for your LAN up to 1 gig (or 10 gig) without power. And no, you cannot just plug your fibre into the FTTH (NBN etc) fibre for a lot of technical and regulatory reasons.

The other users who are not so interested in all this jargon and future stuff, will just keep using their existing cable/s whether it be cat 3 or cat 5 etc and would have access similar to what they have now.

As the demand for bandwidth continues to grow there will be more and more consumers upgrading their premises to category 6 cabling and if they have not pre-wired their premises they will need to either retrofit cables or live with the limitations of WiFi and PLC type technologies.


Difference between FTTN and FTTP

What is the difference and what impact will it have on your business or personal communications?
The most commonly used technology by Telcos to connect to the premises follows:

Traditionally in nearly every suburb a carrier builds a telephone exchange which would connect to their existing network and extend telecommunications services to all the residential and commercial premises and in some cases weird locations like traffic lights, speed cameras and various monitoring equipment and or other locations that are not normally considered as premises.

Figure 1. Traditional copper customer access network

You can see the “main cable” with its “main pairs” leaving from the telephone exchange to the pillar (in a street or on a corner near you) The “distribution cable” carries the “O pairs” to the house and telephone inside the premises. From the pit and joint in the street outside or near to the premises, the connection is provided by using twisted pair copper cable. This section is called the “lead-in” cable.


The main cable you see in Figure 1 can be a 100 pair or a larger cable from the telephone exchange to the pillar. From the pillar a cable runs along the street from pit to pit, these pits can be seen on the side walk between houses. This cable could be a 10, 30 or 50 pair cable. Then, from the pit, a 2 pair cable runs into the premises and terminates on a telephone socket.

In most cases the cable running from pit to pit is enclosed in a conduit and the two pair cable to the premises is also in a conduit up to a termination box “wall box” on the side of the house.
What is the difference between the Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and Fibre to the Node (FTTN) besides the obvious, the name?

FTTP (Premises) is based on running fibre from the point of presence of the carrier all the way to the premises. In most existing suburbs the point of presence will be the existing telephone exchange. Whilst there are some options as to how you run the fibre cable to the premises, this article will only look at GPON as this is the network architecture chosen by Telstra, Transact and NBN co.

Figure 2 FTTP (Premises)

In the FTTP architecture there is a fibre cable which connects to an Optical Line Terminal Unit in the telephone exchange and at the other end to a fibre splitter in the Fibre Distribution Hub (FDH). The splitter takes one fibre from the OLT and converts it into 32 individual fibres on the local cable which connects to a multiport. From the multiport there is a drop cable that connects to the Optical Network Termination (ONT) which in the case of NBN co is referred to as the NTD (Network Termination Device). This is the NBP (Network Boundary Point). GPON technology requires power at the exchange and in the premises. The FDH is passive, no power required.

FTTN (Node) on the other hand is based on running fibre to the Node (similar location to the pillar), then from the node to the premises using the existing (or upgraded) copper cable already in situ. In this case the fibre goes from the carrier’s point of presence which in most cases will be the existing local telephone exchange. The fibre terminates on the node. The node is an active device so power is provided. This will require running an alternate power backup to cater for black outs.

One large benefit of FTTN is the fibre infrastructure already exists to the node in many newer locations. These installations have already taken place over the past 15 to 20 years by Telstra. Thus saving a whole lot of duplication (and money).

From the node to the premises, the existing (or upgraded) copper cable is used. The technology on the copper side of the node will be the same DSL service. This normally runs at around 8 to 12 Megs download speed with a reasonable bandwidth to do just about anything over the net.

This does not take into account the “black spot” areas of very low grade copper and joints. However it would appear the NBN Co, so far, have not looked at these areas in their early role out, favoring other areas other than black spot, for some reason. For example some areas of Prospect NSW have a speed of around half a Meg download. This is not good enough. So we will see how soon this area gets a fibre or copper upgrade. The technical people are looking at up to 50 Meg by copper in the street, in the future.

The reason for the increase in speed is simply because the distance from the node to the home has been significantly reduced so the impact of the physical limitations of twisted copper pair is reduced by reducing the length of the cable. It should be noted that in many cases customers can choose to have fibre installed at their own cost, instead of using the existing copper to ensure the highest speeds are available for their businesses.

Figure 3 FTTN

Article supplied courtesy of Ian Millner. Added to and updated by The Proprietor.

Smart Wiring-Telecommunications

Smart Wired© is a symbol owned by the ICAA (International Copper Association Australia) a body promoting the use of copper across industry, including telecommunications. Some time ago the industry bodies were quick to see the advantages of using the smart wired logos (above) and many technicians, engineers, cablers and electricians are unaware that the consumer guide, installer handbook and a code of practice for cablers on home wiring can be used in telecommunications.

ACMA mandated endorsements/specialist competencies for broadband will be able to use the smart wired quick guides (for consumers to help plans), installer handbook and code to sign off their work with the smart wired logo, as well as providing the mandatory ACMA TCA1 forms.