Winter 2018 Optical Connections Magazine



Whichever way it’s presented, continuing FTTH market development is critically reliant on the availability and use of cutting-edge network test and measurement tools and solutions, writes John Williamson .

Y ou can slice and dice the FTTH opportunity in a number of ways. For example, Zion Market Research reckons the global FTTH/B network equipment market, using different flavours of PON, was worth around US$16,128.11 million in 2017 and could reach approximately US$28,882.24 million in 2024. Again, Broadbandtrends LLC believes that fixed broadband subscribers worldwide might number 859 million by the end of 2022, with nearly half of these being FTTH users. Douglas Clague, solutions marketing manager, Fiber Test Systems, Viavi Solutions, says that the reality is that it costs more to acquire a new FTTH subscriber versus retaining an existing one and, in addition, ARPU is fairly fixed and typically stays at the same level - or declines - in the years after subscriber install. He also observes that service provider business models rely on being able to retain customers for a minimum period of time, say an average two to three years, in order to recoup customer install costs, including ONT/CPE hardware costs, recover some network build costs and actually start generating positive revenue. “Poor service install/ turn-up or early life fails are the Achilles

heel that can lead to customers cancelling or churning, and can be some of the easiest things to avoid through good PON build procedures that include test and certification, plus simple basic things like connector inspection as part of installs,” he declares. As noted by Olivier Tremblay-Lavoie, Exfo team manager, Portfolio Marketing, the scale, high cost and long lead times of major FTTH projects puts a premium on the test component: “The testing aspect of this is not the largest part but it is a very important part if you want to get it right the first time.” THE PAINES OF GLASS Fibre is famously a less forgiving medium than copper, a circumstance reflected in

the possibilities for deployment glitches and system outages and the challenges associated with the optical network T&M function. Tremblay-Lavoie says that in any type of fibre network around 80% of fault issues are caused by connectors being dirty, contaminated by grease or oil, or by defects on the fibre end-face. “Connector inspection is universal and is something that should be carried out automatically, almost as an instinct throughout all phases of the networks lifecycle - build, activation and installs, maintenance and troubleshooting,” adds Clague. “The network is only as good as its weakest connection.” Tools such as Fibre Inspection Probes (FIBs) and Optical Time Domain

The network is only as good as its weakest connection



| ISSUE 15 | Q4 2018

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