Fiber Optics In The Home - Why and When?

Fiber Optics In The Home - Why and When?

Written by Ben Hamlitsch, trueCABLE Technical and Product Innovation Manager RCDD, FOI


First, we should understand: What Is Fiber To The Home (FTTH) Technology?

“Fiber to the home” describes the use of fiber optic cable to deliver broadband internet from a central location directly to private residences. In an FTTH network, fiber cable is used over the “last mile” in place of lower bandwidth DSL and coaxial wires.

Fiber to the home is one of many “fiber-to-the-x” (FTTx) network designs. For example, many network developers build out fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) or fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) networks, in which fiber cable runs all the way to consumer properties and organizational structures. Many homes have internet today thanks to fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) and fiber-to-the-neighborhood (FTTN) networks, which transmit communication signals to a certain point and then transfer data to other last-mile cable customers.

To homeowners, FTTH means faster internet and more bandwidth. Consumers can stream richer media and enjoy higher-quality interactivity. Additionally, FTTH can support triple play services, which means that internet, TV, and phone can be bundled together and provided over one broadband connection.

For network developers, FTTH is a “future proof” solution that will facilitate high-speed connectivity capabilities over the long term. Fiber cable has virtually unlimited capacity and is just as cost effective when it comes to actually delivering service.

With FTTH being the hot topic in much of the industry, Internet service providers are working hard to lay the infrastructure needed to allow for higher bandwidth and faster speed internet at home.

Feel free to watch the video below on all FTTH/FTTx architecture, or keep reading to continue learning about Fiber Optics In The Home (FITH).


What about FITH (Fiber In the Home)?

I am not referring to FTTH, which we just talked about, where the internet is brought, in most cases, to the outside of the customer’s home by the Internet Service Provider.

Below is a typical FTTH PON architecture from Central office to the home, MDU or business.

Fiber optics in the home wiring example

Fiber in the home refers to wiring your home’s structured wiring with fiber optics. This means going to each of the wall plate locations, to any outdoor areas where data connections are needed, and back to the distribution location in the garage or closet designated in the house. It is often also a structured wiring panel in the home where all the voice/data/video drops are located.

Structured wiring panel of fiber in the home


Can you run fiber optic cable in your home? TIA 570-E standard Explained

Wiring a home with fiber optic cabling has become increasingly important as homeowners seek to future-proof their property and meet the growing demand for high-speed, reliable internet and multimedia connectivity. By implementing a home fiber optic wiring system, homeowners can establish a fiber home network that takes advantage of the unparalleled data transmission capabilities of fiber optic technology.

Running fiber optic cable in a house is entirely feasible, and the TIA 570-E standard provides comprehensive guidelines for the design, installation, and testing of these residential fiber optic networks. This industry standard ensures that the process of pre-wiring a new home or retrofitting an existing one with fiber optic cabling is carried out to the highest quality, enabling homeowners to maximize the benefits of low latency, high bandwidth, and immunity to electromagnetic interference that fiber optics offer.

As the world becomes increasingly reliant on digital technologies, investing in a home wired for fiber optics can significantly enhance a property's value and provide a seamless, future-proof communication infrastructure for years to come. By running fiber optic cable in their house, homeowners can future-proof their home and enjoy the advantages of a robust fiber home network.

The TIA 570-E, which is the residential cabling standard, already has a cabling grading system that includes fiber optic cabling in a single-dwelling residence. And is especially used in any operational lengths that may exceed the 100-meter limit for copper cabling.

Residential wiring Grade Grade 3 is the home fiber optic wiring option for each cabled location, grade 3 provides a generic cabling system that meets the minimum requirements for basic and advanced telecommunications services such as high-speed internet, wireless access points, and in-home generated video. This grade provides for both current and developing telecommunications services. Grade 3 specifies balanced twisted-pair cabling, coaxial cabling, and optical fiber cabling. Grade 3 cabling requirements consist of a minimum of two 4-pair balanced twisted-pair cables that meet or exceed the requirements for category 6A, a minimum of one broadband coaxial cable, and a minimum of one 2-strand optical fiber cable, and their respective connectors at each equipment outlet and at the distribution device (DD).

Benefits of Fiber over Copper

As we can see here, fiber optics are already part of the residential wiring recommendations in the grade 3 requirement. As the price of the optical electronics used in fiber optic transmission of data decreases, we will see a bigger push for fiber in the home. Some of the great benefits of fiber optic cabling vs copper cabling are:

Speed. Fiber is far more capable of transmitting faster and larger amounts of data.

Reach (distance). Fiber optic cables are the better choice if you need to send a signal over greater distances. Copper cables can only carry signals about 100 meters, while some singlemode fiber optic cables can carry more data up to 25 miles. Fiber optic cable also carries data with less attenuation, or signal loss—only about three percent every 100 meters in comparison to copper, which loses over 90 percent over the same distance.

Reliability. Fiber optics are extremely reliable. Fiber uses a process known as total internal reflection to carry light signals instead of electricity, so it’s not bothered by electromagnetic interference (EMI) that can interrupt data transmission. Fiber is also immune to temperature changes, severe weather, and moisture, all of which can hamper the connectivity of copper cable.

Durability. Fiber optic cables can withstand a pulling force up to 200 pounds of pressure, which is certainly preferable during the construction of a local area network (LAN).

Longevity. Copper cables also experience corrosion and will eventually have to be replaced after as little as five years. Their performance degrades as they age, even to the point where they lose their signal all together. Fiber optic cables, on the other hand, are sturdier with fewer parts and can last up to 50 years. When you’re choosing a cable, its longevity is very important.

Security. Your data is much more secure with fiber optic cables, which don’t carry electrical signals and are almost impossible to tap into. Even if a cable is compromised or damaged, it can easily be detected by monitoring the power transmission. Copper cables, on the other hand, can still be tapped, which could affect your internet speed or even destroy your network.

So, with all these advantages, why not install fiber in the home? More and more fiber systems are being installed in the home as well as the MDU (multi dwelling unit). Much of the fiber that is being installed is being used in the backbone cabling of the installation and, in some cases, installed at the equipment outlet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is fiber optic Internet faster than cable?

Yes, fiber optics can transmit data at speeds up to 100 times faster than traditional copper cables. Fiber optic technology uses light to transmit data, allowing for much higher bandwidth and faster speeds compared to the electrical signals used by traditional copper cables. This means that fiber optic Internet can support higher data rates, lower latency, and more stable connections, making it ideal for activities like streaming high-definition video, online gaming, and large file transfers.

Are fiber optic cables durable?

Yes, fiber optic cables are immune to electromagnetic interference and offer a longer lifespan than traditional cables. Unlike copper cables, fiber optic cables are not susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio-frequency interference (RFI), which can degrade signal quality. Additionally, fiber optic cables are made of glass or plastic fibers, which are highly resistant to environmental factors such as temperature variations, moisture, and chemical exposure. This makes them more durable and reliable over long distances and in various conditions.

Is fiber optic installation expensive?

The initial cost can be higher than copper cabling, but fiber optics offer long-term savings. While you might pay more upfront, fiber's higher speeds, lower maintenance costs, and future-proofing benefits make it a good investment.

Can I install fiber optic cables myself?

Yes, it is something that can be installed yourself. However, while some homeowners may choose to install fiber optics themselves, it's recommended to hire a professional for a successful installation.

Does fiber optic cabling increase home value?

Yes, fiber optic cabling can increase home value. Homes with high-speed fiber Internet are more attractive to buyers, especially those who work from home or need reliable Internet for streaming and gaming.

How to splice fiber optic cable at home?

Splicing fiber optic cable at home requires specialized skills and equipment, and is generally not recommended for DIY projects. Proper fiber optic splicing is a complex process that involves precise alignment and fusion of the fiber strands to minimize signal loss and ensure a reliable connection.

How expensive is it to run fiber optic cable in home?

The cost of running fiber optic cable in a home can vary significantly depending on several factors, but generally, it is very similar in price to Cat6A. The cost of fiber becomes a bit more expensive than copper when installing the optics or transceivers for the fiber cable to transmit signals from light to electrical.

How is fiber optic line brought in your home?

Bringing fiber optic line into a home typically involves these steps:
Service Drop: The provider runs a fiber optic cable from the nearest distribution point to your home.
Entry Point Installation: The cable connects to a demarcation point on your home’s exterior.
Inside Wiring: Fiber cables are routed inside to reach different areas.
ONT Installation: An Optical Network Terminal (ONT) is installed to convert fiber signals to electrical signals for your home network.
Testing and Activation: The setup is tested and activated by the provider to ensure it works properly.

This process ensures you have high-speed Internet access throughout your home.


What type of fiber cable is being installed in the residential installation? Well, that may all depend on the application needed. In many cases, multimode OM3 or OM4 fiber is a good choice and will future proof much of the network for years to come.

Even singlemode fiber can be very practical. Many fiber internet service providers are bringing singlemode fiber to the home. Continuing with singlemode for the fiber part of the installation may make sense and will certainly future proof your structured wiring installation for years to come. It is practical for one of those super long cameras to run at the end of the gate or entrance to the residence, where the length is well over 100 meters and the video streaming quality needs to be high definition back to the distribution equipment. Or there may be outbuildings, such as a barn or office location, that need high-speed data and video requiring high quality and excellent reliability. These are just some ways where fiber optic cabling systems can shine.

Happy Networking!


trueCABLE presents the information on our website, including the “Cable Academy” blog and live chat support, as a service to our customers and other visitors to our website subject to our website terms and conditions. While the information on this website is about data networking and electrical issues, it is not professional advice and any reliance on such material is at your own risk.

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