Fiber Optic and Home Smart, The Future Is Here

When we speak of the intelligence of our homes and devices we almost always refer to their abilities to connect with Internet and other networks.

This connectivity is based on several technologies, such as for example the ADSL, WiFi, mobile phone networks 3G or above and of course the fiber optic, in a short time allowing us access to a wide range of applications, many of them yet to design and discover.

An optical fiber is nothing more than a fabricated thread with a transparent material, usually glass or plastic, which sent pulses of light representing the data that you want to convey and that will be guided in its interior, electromagnetic interference-free.

Its use is not limited to external communications networks, they are also used in the large data centers, medical applications, of course, in our homes and military systems.

What does optical fiber?

Firstly we have to differentiate two main groups of technologies and applications: which will connect us with the outside (Internet for example) and which will allow us to create internal networks in our homes.

As for the first (external networks), connect us with Internet access providers at very high speeds that will grow in the future to figures that now many can not imagine.

Fibre optics can reach our homes in different ways. One of the most well known are the FTTH networks (Fiber To The Home), able to connect to the Internet at speeds of hundreds of Megabits per second or even of Gigabits per second, as it is the case of the fiber network that Google has deployed in Kansas.

Thanks to these connections will be able to access all kinds of streaming content without slowdowns problems, we will be able to use services in the cloud as if we had them at home, we can play without delays, perform all kinds of video calling in high resolution and above all allow the implementation of these and other applications to several human users simultaneously.

But will also be able to output abroad swarm of smart objects that I will have at home in the next few years. Appliances, sensors, cleaning robots, consoles, smart TV, audio equipment, smartphones, even furniture, lights, security cameras and home automation equipment, everyone will need a broadband channel preferably based on optical fiber to perform their tasks.

Another great advantage of the fiber is its electromagnetic noise immunity that it hurts other technologies such as PLC or conventional copper wires. Thus, optical fiber is shaping up as a system for the future that can be used to create internal networks in our homes in a manner similar to the current copper Ethernet cables, but with better performance.

For example, Telefónica takes time working in networks of plastic optical fiber to install on the inside of our houses, which apparently will be much cheaper than copper cable and not see affected by electromagnetic interference, can go by already installed electrical lines without that decrease performance.

In addition, they are very easy to assemble and install by the end user, without having to hire any technician and higher speeds to 1 Gbps, breaking bottlenecks of today’s domestic networks mainly governed by WiFi.

FFTH in Spain

In Spain FFTH networks are currently scarce, but little by little they are gaining ground technologies of xDSL and cable, against these advantages are considerable: mainly a higher speed and lower latency (although sometimes paying a higher price).

For example, while the Group of lines of fixed Internet in Spain grew just 3.9% of January 2012 to January 2013, FTTH lines grew in the same period a 95.7%.

According to the last note of the CMT, in Spain there are currently 354.408 FTTH lines, mainly belonging to Movistar, although alternative operators appear determined to start with their own deployments in an attempt to not let escape users who want new generation connections.

Orange was the first to pilot test and also the first to announce its own massive deployment of fiber optics to the home. The operator was expected to reach a million and a half of households with an investment estimated at 300 billion euros, leaving the door open to agreements with third parties, who finally have accomplished in the form of Alliance with Vodafone.

Both operators have committed to deploy each one a network that will reach three million customers, i.e., six million between the two, Since networks not be they overlap, thus assuming a real alternative to Movistar for the next 5 years.

In addition, the agreement is open so that more alternative operators as partners, which would give a new chance to enter the market of optical fiber Jazztel.

No doubt face us an interesting panorama for years, in which we will see how the different fiber technologies become as common in our homes as they are now the telephone cable, network cables or WiFi networks.

If you want to dig deeper into these issues I recommend you read our special in Xataka On optical communications and this article on the development of Telefónica I + d in Spain plastic fibers.

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