Fibre: This buzzword has been going around for the last 18 months and is sure to be the future in fixed broadband connectivity and the successor to the old faithful, now ancient, copper DSL networks. When looking at the type of active equipment and the capital expenses associated with fibre to the home (FTTH), it’s quite clear why this type of network rollout has been mostly reserved for the JSE listed telcos in South Africa. Without the advantage of economies of scale, it’s virtually impossible to make financial sense out of this broadband medium as a 'to the home' service.
Based on asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) technology, FTTH uptake has been very successful in some popular residential areas, but coverage is still very limited. To stimulate the advancement in bringing reliable Internet connectivity to the South African households we at MiRO have done the groundwork in making FTTH accessible to the small-to-medium size wireless Internet service providers (WISPs).
These companies have been the centre of Internet connectivity in underserved areas and have come to the rescue of many unconnected businesses and households over the last decade. One of our main goals with bringing FTTH technology to WISPs was to supply quality, reliable products at a fraction of the traditional equipment price. To do this we decided to stick to what we know best, Ethernet networks, and this is where the real magic happens – EPON or Ethernet passive optical networks are the next best thing since outdoor wireless. EPON brings the benefit of having a point-to-multipoint fibre network without the high capital expenses associated with ATM networks to the market, making this technology ideal for fibre rollouts with a budget.
Two birds with one stone
Not only can EPON be used for cost-effective last mile FTTH networks, but it’s also the ideal medium for an estate security backbone. Integrators can now use this high-capacity network in conjunction with their IP cameras and Ethernet-based perimeter control hardware with ease. The standard EPON network is a thing of simplicity.
It all starts with an optical line terminal (OLT) at your control room/server room. The OLT receives the incoming connectivity either through a long-haul fibre termination or through a high-capacity wireless link. The OLT then distributes the available bandwidth over the outgoing PON ports (up to 16 x 1 Gbps ports). It is after the breakout from the PON ports where the real benefit of passive fibre can be seen. Unlike traditional active fibre, where a 1:1 ratio per port is the only option, the split ratio on EPON can be anything from 1:1 up to 1:64.
At the end destination the fibre connects directly into an optical network unit (ONU) which converts the optical signal into a digital Ethernet signal. This means that you can now connect up to 64 houses, businesses or any other Ethernet device (like IP cameras) to a single PON port, making the need for multiple fibre cable runs in a point-to-point fashion unnecessary, saving you time and minimising capital expenses.
Combining EPON, IP surveillance and video management software, you can build a state-of-the-art residential security platform with high scalability, reliability and redundancy without ruining your budget.
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