Goodbye copper — Huawei launches 1Gbps Wi-Fi “anywhere in the house”

Huawei has launched a new fibre-to-the-room (FTTR) system that replaces conventional copper network cables in a home or business network with optic fibre, providing massive boosts in Wi-Fi performance.

For conventional home fibre and business fibre solutions, optical fibre cables only carry data between the Internet and a single fibre optical network terminal (ONT) in the house or business.

The ONT converts optical signals into electric signals carried along a copper cable to the primary router. Users can then connect their devices via Wi-Fi or physical wires.

Copper has several downsides, such as limited capacity, increased latency, and data loss over longer distances.

Wi-Fi radio waves can also struggle to pass through walls and floors effectively and are susceptible to interference from other devices, significantly slowing down a connection towards the edges of the coverage.

That makes latency-sensitive user applications such as multiplayer and cloud gaming, virtual and augmented reality, and high-quality and video calling unfeasible or difficult.

With Huawei’s OptiXstar FTTR system, copper cables are replaced with fibre optic wires.

At the product’s launch at Mobile World Congress 2022 (MWC 2022), Huawei President of Optical Access Network Product Line Jeffrey Zhou said Huawei’s solution could achieve around 1Gbps Wi-Fi connections everywhere in the house and support for up to 128 concurrent connections.

Jeffrey Zhou, Huawei President of Optical Access Network Product Line, showing one of the Huawei FTTR access points.

Fibre optic cables are combined with wireless access points with intelligent network management capabilities to ensure an imperceptible roaming latency of less than 20ms.

That creates several benefits for the user – including ultra-high bandwidth, ultra-low latency, intelligent connections, intelligent fault locating, green-conscious power management and safe operation.

Zhou pointed out that FTTR will also be beneficial for businesses increasingly relying on cloud computing services and demanding video conferencing applications.

The home system will support up to 16 Wi-Fi connections and 200 IoT devices at a time, while the business product can support 300 terminals.

Huawei FTTR gateway and access points for businesses.

Zhou said that 20 operators across China, Spain, and KSA have released or are trialling FTTR products.

He stated the system would be available in the country following today’s launch at MWC 2022.

While Zhou did not share details on pricing, the Huawei website offers a form where users can submit their details for feedback on pricing.

Demo tour

Huawei also took media on a tour demonstrating the technology for home and business setups.

Aside from the marked speed and latency improvements, what was apparent was that the cables provided a much cleaner look than Ethernet wires.

The optic fibre cables had a far smaller circumference and near-transparent appearance, making them difficult to spot running from the router to the access points.

Despite their light and small footprint, Huawei has claimed these cables are strong enough to carry 15kg of weight and could last about 20 years.

Below are photos of the home and business demonstration areas, including the primary routers and different types of access points.

Main router

Huawei FTTR main router (white device in the centre of image).

Access Points

Huawei FTTR access point for homes mounted to home.
Huawei FTTR standing access point for homes.
Huawei FTTR business access point.
Huawei FTTR business access point 2.

Speed test at the primary router

A wireless speed test performed on a tablet near the main router.
Speed tests performed on same network with Ethernet + additional router (left), mesh network (middle), and using the FTTR connection (right).

FTTR cables

Huawei optical product manager for the Middle East and Africa, Qin Tao, shows the media the FTTR cables.
A machine used to glue the FTTR cables throughout the house.
Huawei claims rolling out FTTR will take about 20 minutes per room with an access point.
What the FTTR cable will look like over various types of wall and floor materials.

Now read: The cheap way to improve your Wi-Fi performance

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Goodbye copper — Huawei launches 1Gbps Wi-Fi “anywhere in the house”