FTTdp, or “Fiber-to-the-Distribution Point,” is a broadband network architecture where optical fiber is extended close to the user’s premises, usually stopping at a small distribution point or node that serves a very limited number of homes or businesses, often as few as one. From this point, the connection to the individual premises is usually completed using existing copper lines for a very short distance, often less than 50 meters.
Here’s an overview of FTTdp:
- Optical Line Terminal (OLT): Located at the service provider’s central office, it manages the FTTdp service and connects it to the broader internet.
- Distribution Point Unit (DPU): A compact device, typically mounted on a pole or in a small underground or ground-level box. It transitions optical signals from the fiber into electrical signals that copper lines can transport.
- User’s Modem/Router: At the user’s premises, which communicates with the DPU to access the internet.
- Speed: FTTdp can provide very high-speed broadband services due to the very short length of the copper segment.
- Reduced Copper Length: The short span of copper minimizes the loss and interference issues commonly found in longer copper connections.
- High Speeds: By minimizing the copper length, FTTdp can support technologies like G.fast, which can deliver gigabit-level speeds over copper for short distances.
- Flexibility: FTTdp can be a stepping stone to FTTH, allowing service providers to upgrade incrementally.
- Cost Savings: Leveraging existing copper for the final short segment can be more economical than deploying fiber directly into each home.
- Copper Limitations: Even short segments of copper have their limits. Over time, as demand for speed and bandwidth grows, the push for full fiber solutions will continue.
- Powering: The DPU needs power. Sometimes it’s powered from the central office, but reverse power from the user’s premises can also be employed.
Comparison with Other Fiber Solutions:
- FTTP/FTTH: Direct fiber connections to premises, offering the highest possible speeds.
- FTTN: Fiber goes to a neighborhood node, serving multiple premises. The last mile is longer compared to FTTdp.
- FTTC: Fiber extends to street cabinets, with a longer copper segment compared to FTTdp.
- FTTdp is particularly useful in scenarios where it’s challenging or expensive to get fiber directly into a building, such as in heritage-listed locations or dense urban environments.
In essence, FTTdp provides a middle-ground solution that brings many of the benefits of full-fiber connections while leveraging the existing copper infrastructure for the final stretch. It offers an excellent balance between performance and cost, especially in challenging deployment areas.