As a result of franchise requirements or marketplace demands, many systems will be upgraded to 550 MHz over the next few years. It is clear that fiber optics offers many cost-effective options that can be used in a plant upgrade plan. What is not clear is, which architecture will be the least costly for a given system. A secondary question might be, how the architecture that is selected today will influence the next upgrade.
This paper discusses key objectives that might warrant consideration when analyzing an upgrade plan. It is also suggests approaches to ease the task of comparing the options through design tests. An example of how different architectures might be combined in the same system is provided. The closing remarks address key issues that concern what one might strive for today to make the following upgrade as cost-effective as possible, with the least disruption to the plant.