How FTTH fiber optics gets into our homes: the final path to installation

What happens when you activate a fiber optic Internet offer? What is the final route of FTTH fiber optics? Who takes care of installing the various “devices” necessary for the connection? In this study we will delve into these apparently extremely technical aspects but which, in fact, call into question the use of various technologies that connect the PoP (i.e. the exchange from which the path of the fiber optic cables “starts”). with the homes of end users.

The fiber path from the PoP to the home

The fiber path always starts from one of the so-called Pop (Point of Presence), of the infrastructure nodes which actually host the elements of the fixed access network And transport/backhauling: the former are active elements that serve to aggregate and distribute user traffic on the access network; the latter, however, allow traffic to be transported up to the delivery point.

PoPs can be of two types: National PoPswhen they constitute the network of backbone (i.e. a very high speed network that connects other networks together) e Collection PoP, which can be more or less large based on the reference area (regional or small and medium-sized urban). The PoP can be located at Enel's Primary Substations and contains the OLT devices (Optical Line Terminal) of each provider (they would be optical line terminals used to deliver the data to the end customer).

Once the fiber optic cables continue their path, “exiting” the PoP they encounter the so-called splittingrepresented by primary and secondary flexibility points, i.e. the buried muffles they street lockers (the so-called cabinet). The latter physically houses the cables coming from the PoP and the cables which then continue their journey directly to the end user's home.

To proceed with this last step, the technicians of Open Fiber (the company responsible for creating the fiber optic infrastructure in Italy) connect the cables coming from the street cabinet to a so-called PTE (Building Termination Point), generally in an accessible area on the ground floor or basement of the property, where electricity meters are very often located. From there, then, the various connections start for the individual apartments, which, through secondary termination pointsare sorted on each floor of the condominium.

As regards single houses – such as villas, apartments with owner's entrance, etc. – the connection is made with a single fiber cable directly from the street cabinet inside the home.

Example of PTE Open Fiber. Credits: FibraClick, CC BY–SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

How fiber optic cable is installed inside the home

But how fiber optic cable is installed inside the home once it has, in fact, reached the real estate unit? Very simply, the fiber optic cable is passed directly by Open Fiber technicians telephone line ducts.

From there the cable will then be connected to the so-called optical stud, which is installed inside the user's home. The optical stud is essentially a passive element placed inside the home and in fact constitutes the termination point of the optical fiber used to connect the property to the Open Fiber network. In conclusion, then, the optical stud is connected to theONT (Optical Network Termination), or to the “machinery” that transforms the optical signal into an electrical signal and thanks to which the modem-router is able to work.