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  • María Belén Gómez

Different connectivity options

FTTC (fiber to the cabinet)





In an FTTC network architecture, the optical fiber terminates in a distribution cabinet (LRA), located on average a few hundred meters from homes. The ARL is often simply called a cabinet, and this is also used for the telephone network and ADSL.


Hundreds of twisted pairs of cables run from the cabinet, connecting the customers' homes. The section between the control unit and the cabinet is defined as the primary section, while the section between the cabinet and the homes is the secondary section.


The conversion of the signal from optical to electrical takes place through an ONU (Optical Network Unit) with the help of a DSLAM (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer).


Why take advantage of FTTC


The main advantage of FTTC is that it allows the length of the secondary copper link to be reduced. In fact, xDSL technologies work better over short distances and allow, in combination with high frequencies, to reach 100 or 200 Mbps download speeds.


FTTC is a solution that is frequently adopted in countries with an established copper network, because it generally provides good performance at low construction costs. It also makes it possible to cover many homes quickly.


FTTS (Fiber To The Street)


The abbreviation FTTS. It is the equivalent of FTTC


FTTE (Fiber To The Exchange)


FTTE refers to an architecture in which the optical fiber reaches the operator's central office.

This is almost always the case with ADSL, although the term is not widely used in that context.


FTTE is used in the case of a telephone line in a rigid network, i.e. a line connected directly to the exchange without passing through a distribution cabinet.


In this case, the VDSL is supplied by the exchange and not by the cabinet in the street, with often lower performance than FTTC due to the likely greater distance between the DSLAM and the homes.


FTTH (fiber to the home)


FTTH is the architecture that envisions bringing fiber to the inside of users' homes/apartments.





The architecture is considered a model for Internet connections for several reasons:


1. It uses a transmission medium (optical fiber), which allows covering long distances without the need to regenerate the signal.

2. It supports very high transmission speeds (even higher than 1 Gbps) and, in general, very low latencies.

3. It can operate passively, i.e. eliminating the need to power equipment on the street as in the case of FTTC.


FWA (Fixed Wireless Access)


FWA is a connection to access the Internet obtained through wireless technologies (without wires).


A rough classification of FWA connections can be made according to the frequencies used, on which the quality of service depends:


  • 4G frequencies: in this case the FWA service is obtained through a normal telephone SIM enabled for data consumption. The quality of the connection is therefore the same as that of the 3G / 4G mobile network on which it relies.

  • FWA free frequencies: the operator uses unlicensed free frequencies (such as Wi-Fi) to broadcast the signal from radio base stations located at most a few kilometers from the homes to be covered. The installation requires an external antenna and the achievable speed is usually 30 Mbps, although it can also approach 100 Mbps. The main disadvantage is that the free frequencies are not dedicated to a single service, so they can be occupied by multiple operators.

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