FTTH vs. Cable (DOCSIS): A Comparison

As companies are struggling to survive with movement restrictions during the pandemic, new global scenarios crop up with changes in consumption and usage partners. Most people are working from home and enjoying online entertainment activities.

The challenges remain for businesses to maintain and optimize their services to suit these new norms. They have to create quality services by guaranteeing the availability of network security. Gigabit services continue to offer a robust, future-proof network that allows growth with increasing bandwidth. Many operators migrate to the use of FTTH while still applying the use of the copper switch off. On the other hand, cable operators can upgrade their existing networks (DOCSIS 3.1 – 4.0) as FTTH networks opt to 10 Gbps via 10G PON.

FTTH Distribution in the USA

USA homes are converting Fiber to the Home (FTTH) and Fiber to the Building (FTTB). The figures are approximately 46.5 million homes representing 37% of the total population.  These massive developments make ‘Fiberization’ the way forward and spread fast to other countries.

The new figure sets USA as the highest region with connected FTTH for the second year in a row. There are more than 400,000 all-fiber end-points recorded during the above research.

With fiber networks, users can now enjoy 5G networks for fast internet connection and the ability to send large volumes of data. Cable operators upgrade FTTH in homes for connections in various locations, like in Canada, where FTTH broadband networks cover about 50% of the homes.

The optical fiber networks currently go by the acronym FTTx. There are various types of fiber, such as FTTB (Fiber-to-the-building), FTTN (Fiber-to-the-node), TTH (Fiber-to-the-home), or FTTC (Fiber-to-the-cabinet). The significant difference is the distance between the end-user and the optical fiber, hence the names.

FTTH goes directly into the consumers’ living room and provides a fast and reliable internet connection. It has a high data transmission capacity and allows displaying links of many kilometers with minimal signal loss.

It also integrates well with wireless technology, and lower latencies of FTTH are practical to use WiFi 6. THE FTTH networks provide high security. On the downside, these networks are susceptible to interception by intruders.

Cable Technology on the Rise

Everyone has encountered coaxial cables at some point in time. It is almost a century since the development of cables. Before fiber took over the network’s space, coaxial cables helped to transmit high data rates.

One of the latest coaxial cables is the Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (HFC). It used both copper and optical fiber cables for the distribution. The future trend for the HFC is to limit C (Coaxial) cables and replace them with F (Fiber) since it can transmit data for hundreds of miles without the need for a repeater. The shift to fiber alone helps avoid congestion in the major nodes while increasing the network’s resiliency.

The most widely used coaxial cable is DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification), specifically DOCSIS 3.0. The cable was to transmit data to the end-user, but with the changes in the internet and the growth of new patterns, it allows for video streaming and gaming. It has an increased upstream to maintain quality requirements for its users.

Overall, it is high-performing and meets users’ high network demands. One downfall is that some of its rates are incomparable to the FTTH networks.

The shift to better user bandwidth is ongoing. Business still needs to find the proper ways to boost customer experience while leveraging competition effectively.

 

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