In certain remote areas where it becomes too expensive to roll out either fibre to the node (FTTN) or fibre to the premises (FTTP), or if the premises are located more than 1 kilometre from a node and unable to reach 25 Mbps speeds, the nbn™ plans to augment the network using FTTdp. Recently, there have been much media buzz and active discussions about this new broadband technology. Here is a closer look of what FTTdp is all about.
Key Points About FTTdp
The Fibre to the Distribution Point (FTTdp), sometimes called Fibre to the Driveway, is a modern Internet broadband access network technology that is designed to enhance download speeds while minimising installation costs and rollout times. It brings the fibre much closer to your front door. In a way, it is similar to FTTN in which fibre optic cable runs through from the nbn™ telecommunications pit in your street and connects to the existing copper phone line or coax cable to reach your premises. However, instead of connecting to a node or street cabinet, FTTdp delivers fibre to a Distribution Point Unit (DPU) – a small box that is installed near your place, outside your house, or at the basement of a building before connecting to the copper network.
Very High Bit Rate Digital Subscriber Line Generation 2 (VDSL2) is used over the vertical copper cabling into your home. With the short copper loops comprising the FTTdp connection, the VDSL2 technology can deliver super fast Internet with fibre-like speeds of up to 300 Mbps.
Moreover, the hybrid fiber-copper DPU does not require a power source. The subscriber can reverse power the equipment at home using a dedicated power supply called a Reverse Power Feeder (RPF). The RPF enables sending power from the customer premises across the copper network to the DPU. The RPF significantly reduces the installation cost by removing the need to connect the DPU locally to the power grid and eliminates the necessity for a smart metering device.
Benefits of FTTdp
Each switching cabinet or node provides Internet service to around 1,000 customers, while a DPU only services 6 to 8. With lesser premises to serve, the possibility of bottleneck congestion in FTTdp is less likely.
While the FTTN large node street cabinet draws its power straight from the main electricity grid, the small FTTdp DPU box consumes little energy from your home through the copper phone line when you plug in the RPF device, provided the DPU is installed within 200 metres of your premises.
Furthermore, FTTdp positions the fibre cable closer to your premises and doesn’t depend as much on the copper network than FTTN. The former utilises only around 150m of copper connection, while the latter can use up to 5km of copper. With the length of the copper networks much shorter in FTTdp connections, the nbn™ can look at upgrading to G.fast technology in the future. This latest technology has been tested in other countries and works well within the range of 150m of copper or less and can achieve higher speeds than the current VDSL2.
FTTdp is a welcome development and perceived as a practical alternative for some homes and buildings in both metropolitan and regional areas where extending the electricity grid to power a large street cabinet is prohibitively expensive.
FTTdp Trial Period
The nbn™ has recently announced that it will conduct a 3-month FTTdp trial period in Melbourne, Sydney, and other capital cities that started last month. If successful, the nbn™ is hoping to deploy FTTdp to about 300,000 premises in 2017.
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