Telefónica Flashes The Plastic

Created November 21, 2017
Applications and Research

Spanish telco Telefónica has mounted a pioneering demonstration of the use of Plastic Optical Fibre (POF) as a solution for home connectivity. The system is claimed to be easy to install, and guarantees up to 1 Gbits/s capacity for customers.

In addition, Telefónica demonstrated the potential of 60 GHz Wi-Fi technology, which can offer theoretical connectivity of up to 4,600 Mbits/s.

The demonstration was carried out in Spain in partnership with Knowledge Development for Plastic Optical Fibres (KDPOF), a Spanish start-up that develops semiconductors for Gigabit and long-reach communications POF. The demonstration involved about 30 homes, each with up to four fibre outlets, with the deployment of a hybrid POF network and Wi-Fi, using a smart Wi-Fi amplifier as the access point to expand coverage.

In this case the POF was a fibre with a 1 mm core and a total diameter of 2.2 mm. This arrangement is designed to facilitate simple home installation, with the POF sliced with a cutter, without connectors and at a cost considerably lower than glass fibre. Telefónica says all existing channels, cable runs or ducts in the home can be used to install the POF. At the same time, it is a secure medium because it cannot be intercepted and is immune to interference.

The basic elements for the installation, in addition to the plastic fibre, were a media converter with the KDPOF chipset inside it. The media converter held the plug, provided two Ethernet ports, and permitted the connection of two different POF branches.

KDPOFtechnology has become an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Ethernet standard for plastic optical fibre.


This article was written
by John Williamson

John Williamson is a freelance telecommunications, IT and military communications journalist. He has also written for national and international media, and been a telecoms advisor to the World Bank.