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SMART to Install Fiber-to-the-Home Optical Infrastructure in Brno

SMART, a Czech metropolitan optical networks operator, plans to build a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) optical network in Brno in the Czech Republic. The service will cover about 6,600 homes and residents will be able to use triple-play services (Internet access, digital TV and VoIP telephony) in a converged way, with a quality superior to that of most commonly available types of connections. SMART plans to offer triple-play services by September 2009.

The system will be based on Cisco's Internet Protocol (IP) networking architecture. "We are building a state-of-the-art network that takes fiber optic links directly to the homes of our customers and is ready for next-generation digital data, voice, TV and video services. We have decided on the FTTH architecture because it is future-proof and maximizes return on such an important infrastructure investment. For example, the network will be dimensioned for broadband speeds of up to 100 megabits per second and will be resistant to different types of interference," said Marek Bukal, chair of the board and head of strategic planning and development at SMART Comp.

Design of the project started in August 2008, followed by the selection and testing of technology solutions. Construction is expected to begin in January 2009. In the first quarter of 2009, 1,600 flats are planned to be connected with optical technology in newly built areas around Brno, with a further 5,000 flats to be networked in the second quarter of 2009.

"Compared with traditional Internet access technologies, FTTH is what a highway is to a local road. Fiber optics provide more bandwidth and faster connections than 96 wires of a copper cable. The convenience of FTTH technology is also based on the fact that the optical cable is directly connected to the home," said Juraj Rakovsky, Cisco's acting general manager in the Czech Republic.

Unlike traditional copper cable networks, FTTH technology can provide the potential for near unlimited data-transfer speeds. FTTH also increases the reliability and quality of multimedia transfers, as there is no electromagnetic field or atmospheric interference.

FTTH technology has several advantages for operators from a total cost of ownership perspective. While initial installation costs are above those of a traditional copper infrastructure, operation and servicing are far less expensive. In addition, substantial savings can be achieved on power costs since an FTTH network requires less active elements.

The backbone layer will be based on the Cisco 7600 series router, the aggregation layer will be made up of Cisco Catalyst 4500 series switches, and the access layer will be built on Cisco ME 3400 switches. The customer layer elements will include Cisco voice and data gateways.

"For SMART Comp., Cisco products bring high levels of quality, stability, safety and the required network performance for all services we offer to our customers. Therefore, Cisco technologies have been chosen for the optical-only access network pilot project," Marek Bukal added. 

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