CommScope Definitions: What is a Fiber Distribution Hub?

Operators are desperate to deploy fiber deeper into their network. They are searching for innovative ways to deploy this technology that not only has a high fiber count, but also meets the restrictive permitting ordinances. In this blog, we defin the Fiber Distribution Hub.

FDH_4000This blog post is part of a series called “CommScope Definitions” in which we will explain common terms in communications network infrastructure.

In today’s fiber world, multiple service operators demand more bandwidth for their subscribers. Their engineers require innovations that make it easier and more cost-effective for them to build critical fiber connections for delivering gigabit access speeds. One way engineers can accomplish this is by deploying a fiber distribution hub. So, what is that?

A fiber distribution hub (FDH)  is an enclosure that provides the connection between fiber optic cables and passive optical splitters in the outside plant segment of the network. It makes it easy and fast to service connections and reconfigurations, and serves as a testing point in the outside plant network. If a cabinet is equipped with factory-preconnectorized feeder and distribution cable stubs, it helps ensure a quick, easy and reliable field installation. Fiber distribution hubs vary in size and shape depending on the location in the network and the number of customers needing service.

The best available technology in the early years of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) constrained manufacturers to large metal cabinets. Placing a cabinet on the ground in the utility easement met with little objection from either the carrier or the homeowners. Placing cabinets on concrete pads or utility poles was common practice. The story today is much different. Permitting restrictions, vandalism and security are at the forefront of cabinet placement discussion.

Today, FDHs are more space and cost conscious. The markets demand higher subscriber counts, a smaller footprint and a solution for permit restrictions on above ground utility equipment. CommScope recognized this need many years ago and designed the first below-grade FDH capable of serving up to 72 subscribers. Recent innovations now allow for 288 subscribers in the same footprint as the original 72-port model. When above-ground cabinets are allowed, CommScope has offerings from 72 to 864 ports.

FDHs come in different shapes and sizes depending on their placement in the network. There are indoor and outdoor FDHs. In the outdoor environment, there are more choices depending on application and number of customers requiring service. Often times more than one design will meet the carrier’s requirements, so it important to work with a trusted advisor to determine which is best for your specific application.

Key Takeaway: Fiber Distribution Hubs provide the connection between fiber optic cables and passive optical splitters in the outside plant segment of the network. A good FDH provides high-density fiber connectivity to a compact, weatherproof enclosure to meet increasingly restrictive permitting ordinances.

Article was originally published on December 17, 2015