In the Jason Lowe, VP ClearCable www.clearcable.ca, seminar, he discussed another critically important area: the various Fiber to the Home (FTTH) options, and how they compare with the traditional Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) options.

There are a few technology options for FTTH:

  1. RFoG or Radio Frequency over Glass
  2. G-PON or Gigabit Passive Optical Network
  3. E-PON or Ethernet Passive Optical Network

All three technologies open up Gigabit speeds in the access network.  There are pluses and minuses to all three of the above technologies.  Choosing the best one really depends on the distances, concentration of users, and other issues specific to your network.  Arris put out an interesting white paper comparing the three technologies.  You can find a copy at http://www.arrisi.com/dig_lib/white_papers/_docs/epon_gpon_rfog_bus_scvs.pdf

You may think that you have to choose from amongst the three technologies, but in fact, with careful selection of the wavelength bands used, you can use any two of the three on the same network.  You could even use all three over the same fiber to really maximize throughput in your network.

So for a MSO, a key question is whether to roll out HFC or FTTH?  The capital costs are approximately the same.  But HFC brings with it a lot of RF interference problems that are difficult and expensive to troubleshoot.  So, the operational costs of HFC are much higher.  If you are going into a greenfield situation, there should be no problem with the decision: go FTTH.  Where you already have elements of your HFC network in place, the trade-offs become much more difficult.

For another source of training in DOCSIS 3.1, HFC and FTTH, check out http://www.scte.org/courses/