Fiber optics, what is the difference between FTTC and FTTH networks

What is the difference between FTTC and FTTH fiber optic networks? The answer is mainly in the composition of the network cables

The concept of fiber optic connection, usually, narrows down into two acronyms, already known to those who have knowledge of the network world but less familiar to those who are less accustomed to IT issues, namely FTTC and FTTH. But what do they really mean and what are the characteristics and differences of both?

Although they may be difficult to understand, at least in this extremely cryptic form, these two short acronyms go to indicate two different types of connection, with different peculiarities and strengths. Obviously, pulling the sums, the most relevant difference is in the type of performance that goes to influence in net way the speed of data transfer, both in transmission and in reception. The two types of structures of the optical fiber are both present on the territory and, basically, they differ from the composition of the network cables that transmit the signal from one point to another of the infrastructure.

FTTC, what are the characteristics

When we talk about FTTC we go to indicate a type of connection consisting of two different types of cables: the first, the one that connects the telephone exchange to the street cabinet, is made of fiber optics; the second, however, from the cabinet up to your home is in copper. This is obviously a compromise, which allows to increase the speed normally reached with an ADSL connection, exploiting then in the last stretch a type of cable already present, although slowing down the performance especially in function of the distance.

The speed of the "Fiber to the cabinet" is in fact about 100/200 Mbps, or a big step forward compared to the canonical 20 of ADSL, when the performance is at its maximum. To distinguish it, the AGCOM has assigned to this type of connection a yellow label, recognizable by the wording "FR" that indicates the presence of fiber and copper.

FTTH, what are the characteristics

Of course, the difference between FTTH and FTTC is not only in the name but also in its meaning. In fact, in this case we are talking about "Fiber to the home", that is the use of fiber optic cable from the central station up to the user's router in his home. It is, therefore, a complete path able to guarantee an optimal speed in every stretch, far from the possible problems typical of the copper.

With the FTTH broadband connection the stability of the connection is optimal, as well as the performance that are significantly higher than the previous technology reaching even 1 Gbps. According to AGCOM, the connection made entirely in fiber is indicated by a green sticker, with the initial F of fiber.

FTTC and FTTH, what are the differences?

In addition to the type of material used, fiber optics and copper for FTTC and only fiber for FTTH, and the difference in speed, about 10 times faster the one of the second in question, the differences are also clear in terms of resistance to time and possible damage. If, in fact, copper can be less resistant, fiber is instead particularly flexible and resistant over time, requiring less maintenance over the long term.

Strictly related to the performances are the different uses that can be made of these two types of connection: if on the first one latency and download/upload times can weigh, with the second one it is possible to make multiple downloads at the same time, play online games or watch streaming content in high quality without risking slowdowns or video blocks. It is therefore clear that the future of the network is on fiber optics, given the evolutions in the fields of research and development that, day after day, require more and more speed and immediacy, characteristics perfectly covered by FTTH technology.