Plastic optical fiber (also sometimes called polymer optical fiber) is among the latest technologies to present itself as an alternative to Ethernet wiring in the broadband home, though it perhaps has not received as much attention as wireless options, nor the buzz of the home networking specifications like MoCA and HomePNA. The market is estimated by POF transceiver company Firecomms to be worth about $1 billion this year.
Lawrence Thorne, vice president of sales and marketing for the Americas at Firecomms, talked during a brief presentation at last month's IPTV World Forum North America in Chicago about the advantages of POF, including reduced installation time and lower installation costs for telcos, as well as a degree of confidence in handling system requirements beyond what some telcos may believe wireless to be capable of handling. Bandwidth potential is well beyond 100 Mbps, up to 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps when that is eventually needed.
Swisscom was cited by Thorne is the leading deployer of POF, and the technology so far has received most of its attention in Europe. Further POF research and work is being supported by the European Union's POF-All and POF-Plus projects.
- see the Web home of the POF 2008 conference later this month