It’s not too late to join the fibre game.
It’s not too late to join the fibre game.

Wireless Internet Service Providers are facing continuous pressure from early adopters of Fibre Optical Networks; however, it is never too late to join the fibre game.

Providing fibre to home or business services should not be seen as a complete overhaul of existing networks, but rather how these services can be integrated into your existing solutions that you offer to connect clients.

“South Africa’s fibre market is billed as one of the highest-growth industries, with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) or fibre-to-the-building Internet subscriptions increasing by 168.2% between 2015 and 2019” according to the 2020 State of the ICT Sector report.

Based on these stats, it’s clear that Fibre connectivity is not only in high demand, but also is the way forward.  This does not mean that fibre solutions are the be-all-end-all solution that will make wireless connectivity obsolete but should rather be incorporated into existing network solutions.

What is FTTx?  FTTx solution can be made up of either EPON or GPON solutions.  EPON or Ethernet Passive Optical Networks is based on the IEEE standard and incorporates seamlessly into any existing Ethernet or Wireless Network.  BDCOM’s EPON solution available from MiRO offers dynamic bandwidth allocation or DBA for short.  DBA works on the premise that not all users are connected at the same time, not all users are using the internet at the same time and that most traffic occurs in bursts, meaning that traffic can be transmitted in the gaps between bursts.  EPON also offers symmetrical data rates of 1Gbps downstream and upstream per PON port.  Expected to hit South African shore in in early Q3 is the new 10G-EPON solutions.  With 10Gbps downstream and 10Gbps upstream and an increased 1:128 splitting ratio over the conventional 1:64 ratio, 10G-EPON will revolutionise the Fibre landscape. 

In comparison, GPON or Gigabit Passive Optical Networks is based off the ITU-T standards and can also be incorporated into existing Ethernet and Wireless networks with great ease due to its packet header encapsulation.  Both BDCOM and Ubiquiti Networks have GPON solutions that are available from MiRO.  With asymmetrical data rates of 2.5Gbps downstream and 1.25Gbps upstream and a splitting ratio of 1:128, GPON is also a favourite choice of service providers.  An additional feature from GPON is that it allows for triple play services.  This allows service providers to incorporate a satellite TV signal to be transmitted over the fibre cable.  So instead of installing a satellite dish at each customer’s premises like a high-rise, a single dish solution with a CATV transmitter will suffice.

What are the components needed to build a successful FTTH solution?  In the simplest terms, think of FTTH as your last mile, PTMP wireless solution.  Where one access point serves multiple clients.  The Access Point will be replaced by the OLT or Optical Line Terminal, whether EPON or GPON.  These OLT’s range from a 4 PON port up to a 16 PON port.  With up to 64 connected clients per PON port for EPON and up to 128 connected clients per PON port for GPON.  The transmission medium changes to a physical fibre cable instead of electromagnetic waves over the air which provides for lower attenuation and much higher data rates.

Inside the customer’s premises, you would require an ONU or Optical Network Unit that simply terminates the fibre connection and converts to Ethernet.  This Ethernet connection is then used to connect to the WAN port of a home Wi-Fi router.  Some of BDCOM’s ONU’s incorporates both functions into one device, meaning not only does it terminate the fibre, but it also serves as the Home Wi-Fi router.  The latest trend in FTTx networks is that the ONU’s are no longer built to either serve only an EPON or GPON network, but rather xPON.  This means that the device will work on both networks, depending on which network it is connected.

We all know that the benefits of fibre to the connected clients is that of capacity, but what is the benefit to the service provider.  Well, simply put, more connected clients with a smaller hardware footprint.  From 4 PON port EPON OLT’s that can connect up to 256 customers to a 16 port GPON OLT that can connect up to 2048 clients.  More connected clients, more revenue generated per site and a quicker ROI or return on investment.

By rolling out FTTx networks, service providers are also future proofing their networks as the demand for Internet connectivity and bandwidth continues to grow.  Whether you start your FTTx network out on 1Gbps EPON, or with 10G-EPON, you can ensure that adding OLT’s to your solution and signing up more customers is achievable.

Wireless connectivity will always be part of your network and with the latest development in products and standards has led to wireless backhaul links offering Gigabit plus capacity at cost effective pricing.  Siklu’s range of backhaul solutions offers 2Gbps of throughput capacity on the 8010 and with either an Ubiquiti 5XHD or MIMOSA B5c, you can add a 5GHz fail-over link in extreme cases of rain fade.

MiRO remains one of the leading value-added distributors in Southern Africa and offers both in-class and online training on the BDCOM range of OLT’s and ONU configuration as well as a free walkthrough on the BDCOM NMS.  Register on and enrol for any of these courses.

To find out more about the products for both Siklu and BDCOM’s PON solutions, get in touch with one of our sales specialists or alternatively, purchase your solution directly from our e-commerce site by visiting

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