Exploiting HFC Bandwidth Capacity To Compete With FTTH (2006)

By Tony Werner, Liberty Global, Inc. and Oleh J. Sniezko, Aurora Networks, Inc.

Several different Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) architectures are starting to emerge and be deployed. Proponents of FTTH recognize the high cost of installation, but stress the capacity advantages over Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) networks. While it is true that optical fiber has almost unlimited capacity, the practical capacity of these networks are not superior to HFC networks in most cases. This paper presents capacity comparisons of popular FTTH architectures with that of a modern HFC network. In addition to this comparison, the paper also explores several methods for exploiting the significant unused capacity of HFC networks.

This paper presents CWDM downstream and upstream technologies that allow for low-cost segmentation of the optical serving area to the levels below 100 homes. As demonstrated this can be accomplished without additional fibers between the node and the headend or hub. This architectural modification of the HFC networks is also non- service interrupting and can provide capacities that meet or exceed today’s PON architectures at a fraction of the cost.

Additionally the paper lies out how the HFC architecture can efficiently provide this additional bandwidth on a geographically granular basis, up to and including Fiber-to-the-Building where it makes sense for business applications or large multi-tenant buildings.

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