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RFOG and Marketing Fiber-to-the-Home

fiber-to-the-home-rfog.jpg

There’s a (relatively) new acronym making the rounds: RFOG, or RF Over Glass. In brief, RFOG is a category term for technology that lets cable operators use traditional back-office cable equipment with new fiber-to-the-home deployments. In greenfield situations, even cable operators want to put fiber in the ground, but they’d rather not pay for the other network upgrades that go with it. It’s cheaper and easier to stick with coax if it means they can use existing infrastructure gear and management tools. In other words, there’s incentive to choose coaxial cable over fiber unless you solve the back-office problem. Which is where RFOG comes in.

RFOG is a good thing, but the term may also be used to muddy the marketing waters. It’s good because using an RF overlay makes it financially feasible for operators to deploy deep fiber. On the other hand, RFOG includes many of the same limitations faced on a traditional coax network. There’s virtually no bandwidth gain (unlike with passive optical networking), despite the fact that operators can market the technology as fiber to the home. Ah, marketing.

At the moment, RFOG is a standard in development. (Yes, Motorola is part of that development process.) Ideally, RFOG should act as an intermediate step on the way to passive optical networking (PON), but unless there are clear and open parameters for how RFOG must work, there is no guarantee that today’s RFOG deployment will migrate well to a future PON architecture, or that operators won’t be locked in to a single vendor’s technology.

It’s hard to be brief on a subject this convoluted, but here a couple of key points:

  1. As pressure builds for FTTH deployments (especially in new residential areas), RFOG will provide cable operators a viable fiber solution, even if it doesn’t provide the bandwidth benefits of PON.
  2. Operators should keep their eyes wide open when choosing a solution labeled RFOG. There is no agreed-upon standard yet, and anything deployed today needs to leave an operator’s options open for upgrades tomorrow.

13 Responses

  1. […] Last Mile Cable is kicking the tires of fiber-to-the-home solutions like Cable PON. Some operators have opted for a wireless extension across the last mile where they can’t run […]

  2. With RFoG “There is virtually no bandwidth gain” over HFC, unlike PON.

    Not true.

    RFoG is a fiber network. The Alloptic RFoG products deliver 1.1Ghz RF spectrum downstream on the fiber and into the home coax wiring. That is 270Mhz more than HFC at 870Mhz downstream on coax. The Upstream has more usable RF spectrum, RFoG sollution from Alloptic supports all of the 5-42Mhz with low noise. So the upstream RF spectrum is has 10Mhz more than HFC; which support only 27Mhz usable spectrum upstream. DOCSIS 3.0 Modems work over the Alloptic RFoG at maximum data speed.

    And the Alloptic RFoG sollution supports adding FTTx PON ONT and OLT equipment onto the same fiber network, with RFoG still working, without impacting either bandwidth capacity of both applications.

  3. […] Sean Buckley interviewing Motorola’s Floyd Wagoner. Among other things, the interview covers RF over Glass (RFoG) and the challenges of running fiber in multi-dwelling unit (MDU) […]

  4. […] Meantime, if you need a recap on RF Over Glass (and how cable operators get from there to PON), check out this earlier in-depth post. […]

  5. […] the heavy interest in WiMAX – and talks about some of the key differences in the European market. Cable PON solutions are generating some interest over at ANGA, as well as hybrid strategies for combining traditional […]

  6. […] This is a very succinct overview of RFOG at Connected Home 2 Go. The new approach with the vaguely amusing acronym lets cable operators deploy fiber to homes without ripping out their existing headend (a cable operator’s main technical facility) gear. Though they are limited to the bandwidth of the original coaxial-based system, RFOG is seen as an intermediate step to full fiber rollouts. The writer says that there is no RFOG standard, so operators must make sure that what they buy allows them to seamlessly migrate to full fiber status when they are ready to. (In other words, they must cut through the RFOG to buy the right gear.) […]

  7. […] This is a very succinct overview of RFOG at Connected Home 2 Go. The new approach with the vaguely amusing acronym lets cable operators deploy fiber to homes without ripping out their existing headend (a cable operator’s main technical facility) gear. Though they are limited to the bandwidth of the original coaxial-based system, RFOG is seen as an intermediate step to full fiber rollouts. The writer says that there is no RFOG standard, so operators must make sure that what they buy allows them to seamlessly migrate to full fiber status when they are ready to. (In other words, they must cut through the RFOG to buy the right gear.) […]

  8. […] This is a very succinct overview of RFOG at Connected Home 2 Go. The new approach with the vaguely amusing acronym lets cable operators deploy fiber to homes without ripping out their existing headend (a cable operator’s main technical facility) gear. Though they are limited to the bandwidth of the original coaxial-based system, RFOG is seen as an intermediate step to full fiber rollouts. The writer says that there is no RFOG standard, so operators must make sure that what they buy allows them to seamlessly migrate to full fiber status when they are ready to. (In other words, they must cut through the RFOG to buy the right gear.) […]

  9. […] This is a very succinct overview of RFOG at Connected Home 2 Go. The new approach with the vaguely amusing acronym lets cable operators deploy fiber to homes without ripping out their existing headend (a cable operator’s main technical facility) gear. Though they are limited to the bandwidth of the original coaxial-based system, RFOG is seen as an intermediate step to full fiber rollouts. The writer says that there is no RFOG standard, so operators must make sure that what they buy allows them to seamlessly migrate to full fiber status when they are ready to. (In other words, they must cut through the RFOG to buy the right gear.) […]

  10. […] This is a very succinct overview of RFOG at Connected Home 2 Go. The new approach with the vaguely amusing acronym lets cable operators deploy fiber to homes without ripping out their existing headend (a cable operator’s main technical facility) gear. Though they are limited to the bandwidth of the original coaxial-based system, RFOG is seen as an intermediate step to full fiber rollouts. The writer says that there is no RFOG standard, so operators must make sure that what they buy allows them to seamlessly migrate to full fiber status when they are ready to. (In other words, they must cut through the RFOG to buy the right gear.) […]

  11. Interesting article, i will come back to your blog soon, best regards

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