Polymer Optical Fiber home network on display at CEDIA

August 30, 2007 For centuries one’s house has been one’s castle, it’s just that now the castle of choice is also a fully networked entertainment and communications hub. With the aim of making this easier in terms of both installation and performance, Mitsubishi International Corporation and Firecomms have announced a live home network demonstration using Polymer Optical Fiber (POF) at CEDIA Expo in Denver. The demonstration will take the form of a fully networked living room showcasing the advantages in connectivity, flexibility, and up to one Gigabit data rate capability of POF.

POF offers all the advantages of optical fiber with none of the disadvantages such as termination and flexibility concerns. “POF is already an established medium in industrial and automobile networks due to its high reliability in even the most rugged environments," says Hugh Hennessy, Firecomms’ vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "With data rates of up to one Gigabit, and assured quality of service to every device in the residence, POF is the most robust technology for 100Mbps Optical Ethernet and 250Mbps Optical FireWire in the home. These features of POF are especially advantageous for emerging IPTV implementations and other triple play services."

Traditional optical fiber networking solutions have suffered from connectivity and termination difficulties, but POF overcomes these problems with “garden hose” connectivity, which means POF is quick and easy to terminate, enabling it to be easily installed in the wall cavity, along baseboards, under carpet, and even next to electrical cabling. This is made possible due to its immunity to interference from electrical noise which means existing copper wiring will not interfere with data passing through POF.

Even other existing networks or wireless systems in the house cannot interfere with data passing through the POF cable, which is obviously very important for multimedia data transmission, in which the quality of the signal could be negatively impacted by external noise. All these factors contribute to make POF installation quicker, more flexible and more cost-effective than traditional copper cabling such as CAT5/CAT6 according to its proponents, making it attractive to home builders, installers, content providers and consumers.

For data transmission POF utilizes an eye-safe visible red light which allows for quick and easy troubleshooting - if you look inside the cable and see a red light then the network is connected. POF is also the only interconnect technology offers where the signal can be seen at both ends which further assists in any troubleshooting.

The CEDIA Expo demonstration will use cable supplied by Mitsubishi Rayon Limited, a POF-enabled home gateway provided by Motorola, an IP set-top box provided by Motorola, and Motorola POF adapters that take advantage of Firecomms’ fiber optic transceivers and, if the demonstration lives up to its promise, you could start seeing POF cabled houses appearing in your street in the near future.

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