Should I go for FTTH or DOCSIS? This question may be in your head when building innovative networks and providing the best service to your customers. So, first of all, let’s clarify that this should not be a question of FTTH – Fiber To The Home vs. DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Technology. FTTH is a Point to MultiPoint (P2MP) network architecture, DOCSIS 3.1 is a transport mechanism.
To clarify even more, Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) is an international telecommunications standard that allows the addition of high-bandwidth data transfer to an existing cable television system. Normally, it is used by many cable television operators in order to provide Internet access over their existing hybrid fiber-coaxial infrastructure.
The first release goes back to October 2013, although this technology was updated several times since. DOCSIS 3.1 suite of specifications now support capacities of up to 10 Gbit/s downstream and 2 Gbit/s upstream. DOCSIS 3.1 technology also includes some new energy management features that help the cable industry to reduce its energy usage, and the DOCSIS-PIE algorithm to reduce buffer bloat. Through a SW upgrade, some CMTSs can offer partial DOCSIS 3.1 support, still better than DOCSIS 3.0.
On the other hand, FTTH – Fiber To The Home, also called Fiber To The Premises (FTTP), is the installation and use of optical fiber from a central point directly to individual buildings such as residences, apartments and businesses to provide high-speed internet access. This technology dramatically increases connection speed available to computer users compared with technologies now used in most places. Same is to say that FTTH promises connection speeds of up to 100 megabits per second, being that 20 to 100 times as fast as a typical cable modem or DSL connections.
FTTH – Fiber To The Home or DOCSIS 3.1: Are there differences to consider?
Should operators skip DOCSIS 3.1 and pursue FTTH? Or is the other way around? Well, perhaps that’s the wrong question to ask. In some cases, DOCSIS over a glass architecture is, for sure, a perfect option for delivering broadband services to homes over fiber. Furthermore, it is not strange to use DOCSIS and FTTH together.
So, the question to be made is “what architecture is needed, and which transport technologies works over that architecture?” DOCSIS 3.1 could make sense for operators facing some particularities like bandwidth competition with limited capital, the necessity of delivering higher speeds while delaying the more expensive FTTH transition, among many others.
If competition is not the case, the option to deploy lower-cost EPON technology in new areas might be a choice…
The fact is that to choose the right path to follow might involve a few challenges: whereas DOCSIS 3.1 enables state-of-the-art speeds to be delivered over HFC networks, RFoG enables FTTH with HFC back office and HFC consumer premises equipment, for example. If you are a cable player, so DOCSIS 3.1 can be a game-changer, maximizing both the upstream and downstream throughput in the network, without expensive changes to the HFC network infrastructure. But you will not go wrong if you choose another option…
Is this the right way?
As you can see by now, there is not a right or wrong for this kind of technology. One has to choose according to the demands of the business and what the company is dealing with. Experts say main benefits of FTTH is increased network performance, specifically higher speeds over a long distance, which the older method of using coaxial cables, twisted pair conductors and DSL cannot reach. Because of this, FTTH – Fiber To The Home is already considered one of the best technologies to handle consumer network demands in the coming decades. DOCSIS 3.1 enables state-of-the-art speeds to be delivered over HFC networks; it has flexible modulation, excellent error correction and doubles the spectrum as it allows a wider frequency.
But, although a lot is possible regarding speed and capacity when it comes to DOCSIS 3.1, in the end, results depend mainly on how much money has been invested. The differences between theory and practical implementations can be significant, so stay aware of these scenarios.
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Or, in other words, all that you need for successful, on-time and on-budget projects! Start leveraging key advancements in the telecommunications industry like DOCSIS 3.1 and FTTH – Fiber To The Home!