1. What is FTTR?
Fiber To The Room (FTTR) is a subset of the broader term, FTTx – Fiber To The x.
Here, ‘x’ denotes not only the destination of the fiber optic cable but also the optical networking equipment installed at that location.
In the case of FTTR, the ‘R’ stands for ‘Room’, meaning the fiber extends to multiple rooms in a user’s home, with optical modems or ‘ONTs’ installed in each room.
2. Why Do We Need FTTR?
The Current State of Home WiFi Coverage
You may be surprised to discover that the majority of home broadband users still rely on a single router connecting to an optical modem for WiFi coverage.
Despite the router supporting two frequency bands – 2.4GHz and 5GHz, practical usage varies.
User applications requiring high bandwidth must resort to the 5GHz band, which unfortunately suffers from weak wall penetration. Making it inconvenient for large households.
The Advantages of FTTR
FTTR, with its primary and secondary optical modems, offers a superior WiFi coverage solution. The modems interconnect by butterfly or invisible fiber cables, offering several advantages:
- Ease of installation, with minimal impact on home aesthetics.
- Guarantee of maximum network speed of 1000Mbps near any modem.
- Stable internet speed and seamless switching between modems.
- Fiber optic lifespan exceeding 20 years with virtually unlimited bandwidth.
Thanks to these advantages, internet service providers are now transitioning from the conventional router-based solutions to FTTR.
3. Limitations of Current Whole-House WiFi Coverage Solutions
Presently, the main solutions for complete home WiFi coverage include multi-router setups, AC+AP configurations, Powerline Networking and Parent-Child router systems.
Let’s delve into each of these solutions and their shortcomings.
1. Multi-Router Setup
IMany residential buildings set up multimedia information boxes. With Cat 5e, Cat 6, or Cat 7 cables (collectively referred to as 4-pair cables) distributed from the information box to each room.
The optical modem usually install in the multimedia information box.
Users can set up multiple routers base on their home WiFi coverage needs, with each router connected to the optical modem’s LAN port via the 4-pair cables.
Usually, the optical modem has four LAN ports, but only one is a Gigabit port, and the other three are 100Mbit ports.
If you want to ensure each router supports Gigabit speed, you need to add a Gigabit switch after the optical modem. This setup is cost-effective (each router costs about $30), but the end-users cannot roam between routers.
2. AC+AP Solution
AC refers to the Access Controller, typically a PoE switch with access control features.
AP refers to the Access Point, which is usually a PoE-powered panel AP.
This solution sets up an AC at the optical modem location, with APs in each room connected to the AC via 4-pair cables.
While this setup allows roaming between APs and some models support Gigabit connections between the AC and APs.
Iit’s more expensive (the price for one AC and three APs is about $300), and require a 4-pair cable between the AC and AP.
3. Powerline Networking
The PLC solution comes in two forms: wired and wireless.
The wired PLC connects to the router’s LAN port via a 4-pair cable. While the wireless PLC is a wireless router that can plug into any power socket in the house. One wired PLC can pair with multiple wireless PLCs.
The signal between the wired and wireless PLCs is transmitting through the power line. And the quality of the household power line wiring significantly affect the network speed.
While this solution is cheaper, it often leads to dropped connections when users roam between APs.
4. Parent-Child Router System
This setup includes one parent router and several child routers, which use WiFi to form a Mesh network.
Because the environment highly affect the WiFi signal between routers is hardly wall-penetrating, the bandwidth capability of this solution.
Some Parent-Child router products use both WiFi and power lines for transmission, which slightly improves the WiFi’s wall-penetrating ability.
But there’s still a noticeable gap in bandwidth capability compared to the AC+AP solution.
4. FTTR Technical Solutions
Depending on the type of fiber connection between the primary and secondary modems. We can categorize FTTR into two types: Point-to-Point (P2P) and Point-to-MultiPoint (P2MP).
The P2P solution, based on Ethernet technology, connects each secondary modem to the primary modem via a single fiber optic cable.
The primary modem typically has four single-core bidirectional optical modules, allowing connections to up to four secondary modems.
While this solution is cost-effective and straightforward to implement, it has limited scalability.
P2MP FTTR Solution
The P2MP solution leverages GPON technology.
The primary modem acts as a mini Optical Line Terminal (OLT), and the secondary modems are the standard WiFi 6 Gigabit modems in GPON.
A 1:5 optical splitter is used in the Optical Distribution Network (ODN) between the primary and secondary modems, enabling the connection of up to 16 secondary modems.
P2P vs P2MP
While P2P is technologically simpler and cheaper, P2MP, with its fiber-saving layout, greater scalability, and convenience in adding or removing secondary modems.
It has become the preferred solution for major equipment manufacturers and internet service providers.
Currently, FTTR is primarily promoted by service providers as part of bundled offerings.
Although FTTR significantly improves user experience, the P2MP solution will eventually become the mainstream solution due to its powerful access capabilities.
Which can even cater to internal networking needs of micro-businesses, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and more.
The 1:5 unequal proportion optical splitter used in P2MP can also be used in rural or low-density access scenarios.
If you need an FTTR solution, feel free to contact Fibconet, a professional supplier and solution provider.