Broadband Communities

OCT 2015

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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56 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | OCTOBER 2015 MDU TECHNOLOGY Fast, Affordable Gigabit for MDUs A fber-only approach to connect multiple-dwelling-unit properties isn't always fast or economical – but a combination of fber and fber-like wireless can provide gigabit speeds to residents quickly and at a remarkably reasonable cost. By Boris Maysel / Siklu Communication M ultiple-dwelling-unit (MDU) residents want broadband! More than four of fve residents rank the availability of high-speed Internet access as the most important MDU amenity, according to research conducted by market research frm RVA. Internet access is more important to residents than appliances such as washers and dryers. It's even more important than cable television. Large MDUs that have tens or hundreds of residents require huge amounts of bandwidth. Residents of afordable housing struggle the most to get broadband, but student housing and other multifamily properties often lack appropriate infrastructure as well. If broadband is so vital to MDUs, why are not there more success stories about connecting MDUs, and why are so many MDU buildings left in the dark? Te most complex problem involves providing fast broadband to existing, or brownfeld, apartment buildings – which include much afordable housing and student housing. Upgrading the communications infrastructure in older buildings can cost an arm and a leg, and construction can take several years. Many MDU deployment issues identifed a decade ago are still current today. Fortunately, there is a way to deploy a sustainable gigabit network that can deliver real high-speed broadband to every MDU, and even to every residential customer, in a fast, cost-efcient way. Tis practical approach uses existing, scalable technology that may be deployed in just a few days or weeks. It is an especially attractive solution for brownfeld buildings. LEVERAGING MIDDLE-MILE FIBER Te availability of fber in the middle mile greatly simplifes the problem because the last- mile problem has already been solved many times. Today, middle-mile fber is becoming much more readily available, and MDU owners can take advantage of this. Fiber location tools and available operator fber maps show that many MDUs are located within a mile of an existing commercial fber network. In addition, many communities have fber network assets that connect their municipal facilities and anchor institutions; in some cases these networks can be extended for other purposes. Almost every library is connected to a fber network, and most schools are either connected or being connected through the FCC E-Rate program or as part of a community initiative. Such municipal or community broadband infrastructure is well-positioned to serve afordable housing, student complexes and senior housing. All that's needed is a fast, afordable way to leverage middle-mile fber. FIBER-LIKE WIRELESS Fiber is fundamental to any high-performance communications network. However, in a citywide deployment, a fber-only approach faces time and cost challenges. Te business case to lay additional fber becomes less feasible at the edge of the network, especially in residential areas.

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