FTTH Deployment for MDUs

Posted on by FS.COM

Today, many people live in MDU (Multi-Dwelling Units) such as apartments, condos and student-housing, especially in the large cities. As the demand for HDTV, video, picture sharing, online game keeps increasing, higher bandwidths and faster network speed are required. As fiber connections can bring fast and reliable service to millions of households, so the service providers decide to invest on fiber network service in such high-density markets to get rich returns. Then how to deliver the high quality fiber network service to MDUs?

What Should Be Considered Before Deployment?

Before taking fiber deployment for MDUs, the service providers should better make a fiber network design. As we know, a poor network design can cause a failure of delivering the network service from providers to users. To make a perfect plan, many factors should be taken into considerations. The following will tell you those factors.

New Building or Old Building

Maybe this factor has the greatest influence on the deployment strategy. Is it a new building? Or does MDU already exist? New buildings are often called greenfield. It’s good to simplify FTTP (Fiber to the Premise) network deployment as it provides easy access to cable pathways and relative flexibility in conduit placement for the network design. While it’s another situation in the old buildings (also called brownfield). Because the existing infrastructures that are hard to change bring inflexibility to installers. More costs will be spent on the materials and labors.

MDU Types

MDU type is another factor impacting the deployment on the methods taken and materials employed. Generally there are three categories of MDU buildings.

ftth for mdu

  • Low-rise MDU. This kind of buildings always refers to townhouse or condominiums which have at most three floors in height with the maximum of 12 units per building. And the entry ways to residents are usually outside of the structure. Therefore, low-rise MDU makes it more possible to deploy fiber to each single family.
  • Mid-rise MDU. Mid-rise MDUs are typically multi-level structures with entries inside, including two-story apartments, small multi-tenant services, and nursing homes. About 12 to 128 residential units live in this building.
  • High-rise MDU. This type of buildings has multiple stories (usually more than 10 stories), where more than 128 residential units live. As the same to mid-rise MDU, entry ways are inside the structures. So installers often deal with the network deployment in the same way to mid-rise MDUs.
ONT Types

In an FTTH deployment, ONT (Optical Network Terminals) type and its location is very important to long-term maintenance and operational costs. ONT can be divided into two types. One is SFU (single-family unit) ONT for SFUs or MDUs and the other MDU ONT specially designed for MDUs. Both types can be applied in brownfield. And SFU ONT devices are often used in greenfield MDUs because an MDU ONT must share network with other residential units.

Which type is more suitable for FTTP deployment? Pay attention to two points. First, it’s about the cost. It will cost more to deploy several individual electronic devices rather than a single one to deliver broadband services within a building. And more drop cables will also increase the cost as each SFU ONT requires a single-fiber drop cable. But less money will be spent on copper cable. Comparatively, an MDU ONT can be fed with a single fiber drop cable, but the final link to the residential unit needs copper cables. So the cost will be very high if there are lots of units to be served and more copper cables are required from the horizontal to each unit. Second, consider the network speed and security. An SFU ONT can provide high bandwidth, while an MDU ONT must share bandwidth with other subscribers it serves. The following two figures show two ways to deploy fiber into a mid- to high-rise MDU.

Figure1. This method places MDU ONTs in the central location on each floor of the buildings. Fiber cables go further into the building, reducing the use of copper cable. But multiple units share a single ONT and therefore share bandwidth.


Figure2. In this method, SFU ONTs are employed. Fiber cables run to each unit. So it requires longer fiber cables and more complicated management. This method is the most preferred for the installation of the greenfield FTTP.



Since more people live in MDUs, network service provider can make a big profit from supplying a large number of end customers within a small area. Because the cost is relatively low to deploy FTTH in MDUs compared to individual residences. How to save as much cost as possible during MDU FTTH deployment? Well, it depends on the building situations, MDU type, ONT type, etc. And required network devices are also important. Fiberstore offers all equipment for MDU FTTH deployment, such as ONT, fiber drop cable, Ethernet copper cable and so on. For more details, please visit www.fs.com or contact us via sales@fs.com.

Tags: , ,
FS.COM FHD Fiber Enclosure
January 2017
« Dec