Back in 2014 when we first got our FTTH connection in Paris, I posted a number of equipment pictures. The equipment has worked well over the years and probably would have continued to do if we hadn’t been forced to change providers from SFR to Free to restore service. This meant that we also got some new equipment, and here are some images of our current setup.
The passive equipment that did not change in the apartment was the network terminator box that just converts from a somewhat thicker optical cable that comes in via the stairway to a thinner, more bendable and pluggable optical cable with a standard connector at both ends. Unlike before, the FTTH ONT (Optical Network Termination) is no longer a separate box like in 2014, but has been integrated in a single small FTTH/ADSL/phone/Wifi/Ethernet-Hub Box.
Instead of a proprietary and integrated fiber port, the ‘Freebox Mini’ we got has an integrated general purpose SFP (Small Form-Factor Plugable) port. I had a quick look on the Internet, and indeed, there are GPON SFP transceivers available for this standard port. That saves a power supply and a box, and the Freefox Mini in general is somewhat smaller than the router we got from SFR 8 years ago. The downside: There’s lots of stuff cramped into the Freebox Mini, so it comes with a fan that is audible, so no passive and silent cooling of the equipment anymore. A bit of a pity.
The technical specification of the box also says that it comes with an integrated femto cell. It looks like free included 3G femto cells in their boxes to increase the coverage level of their cellular network. But since 3G is ramped down these days, Free states on their website that these will not be used anymore and switched-off. They are now ramping up VoWifi, so there is no longer a need to provide additional cellular coverage inside homes. In any case, this was certainly an interesting approach to creating coverage I was previously not aware of.
And that’s pretty much all there is to the fiber installation in the apartment: A passive optical to optical cable converter and a single box with a GPON SFP port. Nice!