Brownfields vs Greenfields in Telecommunications and Networking

In previous articles about PSTN basics principles and Remotes & DSL and DSLAM’s, we discussed various options to overcome copper loop distance limitations by using optical fiber instead of copper extension.



Now, this comes down to 2 very important terms that you need to remember when it comes to remote switch and remote DSLAM are generic fiber terminals, i.e. the fiber ends at them and planning access networks as such.


and these are ….drum rolls….. Brownfields vs Greenfields!


DSL on Copper to the Premise (Brownfields)



A neighborhood where copper wires were previously deployed is known as a brownfield.


In brownfields, a few hundred customers share a fiber backhaul to the network and connect to the fiber with DSL modems using existing copper wires for the last few hundred meters.



Eventually, most customers will use their own fiber terminal that is connected to WiFi and copper wires inside the house.




GPONs on Fiber to the Premise (Greenfields)


In newly-constructed multi-tenant buildings and neighborhoods, fiber is routinely installed to the premises. This is known as greenfields.




Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology is often used, and 32 or more customers typically time-share a fiber connection to the network. (note – there can be more customer per ONT or CPE in PON networks). A Central Splitting Point is used to connect one fiber backhaul towards the network via mirrors and lenses to 32 – 64 or more fibers that lead to customer premises.



The uplink is shared in a round-robin fashion, as only a single customer can transmit at a time. Each user receives a fixed amount of capacity on the uplink, whether it is being used or not.



Active Ethernet to the Premise



When Active Ethernet is deployed, the customer’s fiber terminates on a port on an Ethernet switch. The switch is located either at a wire center, or in the neighborhood. Customers can therefore transmit upstream any time they like and are not limited by time slots. This is known as statistical multiplexing, or bandwidth on demand.



Read more on this here.



Statistical multiplexing is more efficient than channelizing and users get higher upload speeds by using the same capacity backhaul. Compared to the PON however, it needs 31 more network-side fiber transceivers. This makes it more expensive to install and maintain.



Active Ethernet is often used for business customers.



Why The Concept of Loop is Still Important



It should be noted that even though there are digital transmission and digital switching available for traditional telephone services in established areas today, the access circuit between the network and customers (the local loop) still uses analog technology dating back to the late 1880s.



Even with VoIP over cable modem, or Voice over IP over fiber, analog technology of local loops from 1880 is still used!



Telephone service from cable TV companies uses traditional analog telephony on the inside wiring. This is plugged into converters that carry it as Voice over IP over cable modems to the outside of the building.



DSL services (broadband from telephone companies) is delivered on existing local loops by modems in the remote as shown in the previous image.

We will cover 64 kb/s DSO rate for channelized digital transmission systems in a next article.



This technology is based on the frequency band supported by the traditional analog local loop. An understanding of the limitations and characteristics of local loops is therefore essential.





Lomoveishiy – Finland

I needed those to connect my PC on the third floor to have internet access in that room, and ISP installed their modem on the first floor only. After dropping fiber patch cables, plugged in all cables into these media converters at both sides, and link came up instantly. Was much easier than I thought!

Raymond – USA

Great experience – units worked straight out of the box – just needed plug in cables and we were done. I also like the possibility to enable jumbo frames, while we do not have a need for this feature at the current moment it’s great to have this option.

Stay in touch via e-mail newsletter!

Subscribe to our mailing list for weekly performance tips