Optical fiber communications enable an internet service provider to send services to a home or business, using an optical network terminal. This type of optical fiber communications setup is called fiber-to-the-premises.
An optical network terminal connects to a termination point using a fiber cable, and connects to your router with an ethernet cable or LAN cable. It essentially acts as a modem.
When an optical network terminal brings services to your home through optical fiber communications, it splits the signal into various parts, like voice telephone, television, and internet.
The optical network terminal gets its power from your home or office, versus a power over ethernet based terminal that receives its power directly from the cable. The varying types of cable in these setups makes the difference — unlike other types of cable, fiber optics cables cannot power devices on their own.
Because of this, when you are looking for an optical network terminal, you should consider buying one with a battery backup included, or purchase an aftermarket battery backup to ensure that you do not lose service if you lose power.
Your internet service provider or optical fiber communications provider may give you an optical network terminal when you sign up for service. Many companies provide these systems to their customers, like modems have been provided to other internet users.
The optical network terminal may be installed on the inside of your home, or on the outside. Again, this may be determined by your service provider, so be sure to ask what their standard practices are when you are signing up for service.
It is important to work with an installer who understands what types of cables are needed for installation, and how to properly wire the equipment for your home. If you are paying someone else to install an optical network terminal you should look for someone who is certified in fiber optic installation so you can feel confident that he or she has all of the necessary knowledge to do the job safely and correctly.
Selecting and installing an optical network terminal does not have to be complicated, but if you feel confused about the process, talk to your internet service provider, or a cabling company who can walk you through the steps and handle installation for you.