Office & Enterprise

Future-proofing networks with FTTO

Wolfgang Beier 02.12.2019

Meeting the needs of tomorrow by leveraging the benefits of copper and fibre

Redundancy, flexibility and 40% lower TCO

The number of applications running on networks, as well as the number and size of files, and therefore the need for bandwidth, keeps increasing each year. Server Virtualization, Cloud Computing, IP telephony, and Blade servers are just a few major bandwidth drivers, along with converged applications such as access control, surveillance cameras and video conferencing. In fact, a study published by the European Commission* states that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector generates up to 2% of all global CO₂ emissions. This is largely a result of the widespread adoption of mobile computing, cloud-based applications, Internet of Things and services moving online. New applications are placing higher requirements on availability and redundancy of, for example, networks in offices, hospitals, campuses, airports and institutions. This will only grow further. Practically every device, from elevators to access controls, will soon have a unique IP address.

Proven solution

How can IT departments optimize networks and be ready for tomorrow’s applications, whilst minimising the number of components and energy costs? To guarantee high network performance and host current and future applications, scalable infrastructure is a must. Fibre is the most suitable medium to accommodate this. A Fibre To The Office (FTTO) solution using fibre cabling and components with locally distributed active switches to provide Ethernet services via standard copper-based RJ45 technology to the device can provide a solution. Using extractable bundle technology, zone distribution points can be added, allowing new outlets to be connected at any location along the cable.

How does FTTO work? Fibre is distributed to the workplace (connection point), where conversion to copper is done by intelligent Switches, which are permanently installed in the cable duct or the floor box. Up to four twisted pair (TP) devices such as PCs, laptops, WAPs and IP phones can be connected with full Gigabit performance and ample reserves and redundancy via the Switch to one fibre port. Devices can also be supplied with Power over Ethernet (PoE) via the Switch’s data ports. FTTO infrastructures will outlast several generations of active equipment. The benefits? More flexible, easily scalable and cost-effective infrastructure with a minimum cable volume that allows users to meet the needs of today and tomorrow – whatever they may be. Distances of 550 metres and more can be bridged, so floor distributors between the central and user ports aren’t necessary. (With copper, distances are limited to 90 metres). Cabling can be reduced by up to 75%, installation time can be reduced by 60% less and there are no problems with grounding, earthing or electromagnetic interference. Use of ring topologies brings maximum network availability. Thanks to the centralised structure of FTTO, network service is greatly simplified and service costs are significantly reduced.

Space-saving aspects make FTTO ideal for older buildings. Older buildings often have limited space for technical rooms or large cable bundles and structural changes can’t be made. Smaller cable bundles, less hardware and absence of technical rooms free up valuable space and improve fire safety. Most campuses consist of multiple large buildings with different functions and cabling requirements exceed copper’s 90-metre limit. As digital technologies become more important, downtime is simply not an option FTTO allows for redundancy in each treatment area, thus reducing this risk.

Every industry is facing a marked need to optimise IT resources. Less staff has to manage more and more ports and maintain the highest network availability. FTTO allows a single employee to manage thousands of ports using a single end-to-end solution. The only training required is learning to work with one type of device. FTTO’s scalability enables a ‘Pay As You Grow’ approach. High bandwidth reserves allow you to invest in more ports, bandwidth or power as and when required to accommodate changing building usage, increasing or decreasing numbers of people and devices, and new applications.

Extractable cable for flexible networks

As mentioned previously, using extractable cables makes it possible to expand the network at any point when the need arises. Extractable bundle cables are always customer-specific and designed to perfectly fit the requirements of a given situation. The number of fibres may vary (4, 6 or 12) and the bundles are available in Fibre Grades SM, OM3, and OM4. A high-density fibre cable with up to 144 fibres can be drawn in a loop through selected parts of the building. At any location, (future) zone distribution points can be added rapidly and easily, allowing new outlets to be connected with pre-assembled fibre optic cables. Ethernet is provided to user devices using standard copper RJ45 patch cords. Devices can also be supplied with Power over Ethernet (PoE) through the switch data ports. Up to 4 users are connected to 1 central port and this ratio increases the cost-efficiency of the network. Devices such as PCs, notebooks or IP phones can be connected using standard twisted pair copper technology. Intelligent system features help increase network security and minimise service costs. For large FTTO installations with a large number of fibre terminations, pre-terminated solutions can be used for faster installation.

Lasting solution

FTTO infrastructures may last 25 years. Long-lasting effects and amortisation make the cost of acquisition and installation particularly attractive. Nexans LANactive FTTO expandable cable solutions and bend-insensitive fibre have a proven track record in applications worldwide. Users can expand or adapt connection points without operation or production losses or disturbing users. Compared to a traditional copper cabling, acquisition, installation and maintenance costs are significantly lower. Studies show that cost-effectiveness is 20-40% higher, too. Nexans can provide everything from consulting to hardware and software, inspired by our experience with FTTO projects around the globe! Our experts are always happy to discuss your specific situation and requirements!

Über den Autor

Wolfgang Beier

Wolfgang Beier is Marketing Manager at Nexans Advanced Networking Solutions and Channel Marketing Manager at Nexans Cabling Solutions as part of the Telecom & Data Business Group. Wolfgang has more than 30 years of experience in the field of active and passive system technology. During his professional career he has held various positions in Sales, Key Account Management and Marketing.

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