Feb. 2022, Fremont CA – At the end of 2021 IEEE ComSoc initiated a competition for solutions that can help close the Digital Divide and provide Internet to all. As ComSoc defined it, the “Digital Divide” is the gap between those who are able to benefit from the digital age and those who are not. The absence of connectivity is not merely a technological barrier, but one that affects access to healthcare, education, social services, work, and participation in global and local economies. A similar problem exists with local infrastructure. Internet providers may not be focused on deploying the infrastructure necessary to bring services to all rural homes and villages. According to UNESCO, only 55 percent of households globally have an internet connection.
The Actelis team along with our Senior Technical advisor Mr. Thomas Starr, submitted its solution and won first prize for the Americas. During the last 20 years, Actelis’ solutions have been helping service providers offer fiber-grade broadband services to residentials and small/medium businesses (SMBs) worldwide, filling the gaps fiber left behind. Actelis believes it has the solutions and know-how to deliver gigabit-grade services to all, in a practical, timely fashion.
The concept of Fiber to the Home (FTTH) has gained such popularity among policy makers, regulators, and network planners, that it is now considered the only viable solution. Still, in some areas it is very challenging, time-consuming, or expensive to connect parts of the network with fiber, so those parts remain underserved.
Drawing on past experience, Copper/Coax is remembered as a slow, non-future proof and unreliable media. However, this ignores the field-proven experience with recent copper technologies, which can reach gigabit speeds per each copper line. With billions of copper lines available, the resource of copper capacity is abundantly available – practically unlimited – and can fill the fiber gaps in all expensive or hard to reach locations.
Examples of some challenging customer scenarios in the US are listed below:
- Rural areas – these areas typically suffer from very low density and much longer reach making the cost to deploy fiber much higher and the ROI much longer. For example: Alaska, Montana
- Small MDUs (<20 living units) – in the US alone, this represents over 50% of MDUs
- “Older” MDUs, can be found across the US, also in bigger cities. These buildings have copper, often bad, or coax infrastructure inside them and no newer CAT5 or fiber.
- Low-income areas, which frequently include also larger MDUs contributing to slower ROI – For example: Cleveland, OH
- Single home residential in spread suburban areas – A few examples: SC/NC, AR
Actelis offers a hybrid-fiber-copper extension solution, in which fiber is deployed to the last economical point, and supplemented with legacy media (Copper pairs, Coax, CAT5). This solution enables gigabit-grade services to be deployed to areas where FTTH is not practical, ensuring gigabit connectivity coverage to all areas with an attractive Return On Investment (ROI).
Actelis’ award-winning solution for fiber extension includes two parts: one for Backhaul, and one for Subscriber Distribution.
Part One – Backhaul or Bandwidth to the building/MDU – Closing the gap between the last point the fiber reaches and the MDU/ subscribers’ location, delivering speeds of up to 10G that can then be used to provide services to the MDU subscribers. Actelis’ fiber extension solutions bond multiple twisted copper pairs that are part of the existing distribution networks, utilizing G.fast or VDSL2 35B technologies. Extended reach of up to 3km can be supported combined with Actelis’ advanced reach extenders. Actelis units are hardened, allowing installation in the building, or outside as required.
Part two – Subscriber Distribution – The bandwidth delivered to the building, i.e., distribution point, can then be distributed using Actelis’ solutions to multiple subscribers/customers within the building/MDU. MDU subscribers can then receive fiber grade Gbps services over older, badly maintained infrastructure – twisted pairs, coax or CAT5. Actelis’ solutions use a mix of technologies including G.hn, G.fast and VDSL35b for optimized distribution. Subscribers that are further away from the distribution point (building) can be served using Actelis’ extenders. Remote and reverse power feeding capabilities ensure simplified installation with no dependence on building owner and low recurring cost.