FTTN, or “Fiber-to-the-Node” (sometimes referred to as “Fiber-to-the-Neighborhood”), is a broadband network architecture where optical fiber runs directly to a neighborhood node or cabinet, serving multiple homes or businesses. From this central location, the connection to individual premises is typically achieved using existing infrastructure, usually copper telephone lines, for the final segment or “last mile.”
Key Aspects of FTTN:
- Central Office (CO): Houses the Optical Line Terminal (OLT) connecting to the wider internet.
- Node or Cabinet: Contains equipment like DSLAM (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer) that converts fiber signals to signals suitable for copper.
- End-user’s Modem/Router: Connects to the node’s equipment to access the internet.
- Due to the copper segment’s involvement, the distance between the node and the user’s premises can impact speed. The farther the premise is from the node, the lower the potential speed.
- Upgrade over ADSL: Significantly faster than traditional broadband.
- Cost-Effective: Uses existing copper infrastructure, avoiding the higher costs of running fiber directly to each home.
- Faster Deployment: Utilizing existing infrastructure can mean quicker rollout than laying fiber to every home.
- Speed: Doesn’t match the potential of Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) or Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) due to copper’s involvement.
- Aging Infrastructure: The existing copper lines might be old and prone to issues affecting speed and reliability.
- Future Bandwidth Needs: As bandwidth needs increase, FTTN might not meet future demands.
FTTN is often considered a transitional technology—a step up from traditional DSL but not the endgame that full fiber solutions like FTTH represent. As demand for bandwidth grows and fiber deployment costs decrease, there’s an increasing push towards more extensive fiber rollouts.