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Industry 4.0 and Fiber To The Enterprises (FTTE): how to digitize SMEs

24 May 2023 | News

In recent years, the meteoric growth of services such as cloud, video streaming, IoT and AI has led to the spread of ultra-broadband connectivity even in the enterprise environment and, consequently, the development of a new industrial revolution, historically framed as the fourth.

The so-called Industry 4.0, is in fact the process of digital transformation of industry that aims to create smart and innovative factories, capable of significantly implementing the productivity and competitiveness of enterprises, thanks to the very technologies mentioned above.

In this scenario, fiber optics plays a leading role, being the truly indispensable element for companies wishing to take full advantage of the potential that this new industrial revolution brings.

In fact, fiber optics, thanks to its data transmission speed and reliability, enables businesses to digitize production processes, improve the quality of products and services offered, optimize marketing and communication activities, as well as reduce costs and increase flexibility.

According to data from the Milan Polytechnic’s Banda Ultralarga Observatory, as of March 2022, fiber optic coverage across Italy was 68.7 percent, with more than 19.6 million active connections. Despite these numbers, however, the adoption of ultra-broadband connectivity solutions in Small and Medium Enterprises is still low: according to research conducted by Confindustria in 2021, only 35 percent of Italian SMEs have adopted fiber optics.

A major delay that negatively impacts the economic development of the entire country, and to remedy which the same businesses that, with the support of local institutions and trade associations, are asking their Internet service providers for a connection that allows essential and optimizing activities such as sending large files, smooth and stable video conferencing, automating logistics or moving physical servers to the cloud.


Why are we talking about FTTE instead of FTTH?

The acronym FTTH (Fiber To The Home) was first introduced in the late 1990s, when fiber optics became the most promising technology for providing ultrafast Internet connections to users’ homes. The name, in fact, refers precisely to home users, because For many years, national practitioners and institutions have focused on solutions more suitable for a general digitization of the population.

We have already discussed this connection technology in a previous article, outlining its main differences from FTTC. Let us now go a step further and explain why, when we want to talk about dedicated ultra-broadband connectivity solutions for enterprises, it is more accurate to talk about
Fiber to the Enterprises

In this case, FTTH and FTTE refer to the same technology, which is an all-fiber connection, even in the last section from the cabinet to the building. What changes is the type of building. If it is a dwelling, it is appropriate to talk about FTTH. On the other hand, if it is an enterprise building, the most relevant definition for the connection is FTTE.

The acronym FTTE (Fiber To The Enterprises). was introduced in the context of Industry 4.0, which we just discussed, and was first used in recent years as a result of the growing demand from enterprises for ultra-broadband connectivity solutions that can support the transmission of large amounts of data, both download and upload, within organizations.

From the name, it is easy to see that it is a direct fiber connection to the corporate building, and often when we talk about FTTE we are talking about dedicated fiber, that is, without sharing with other users on the same network.

Point-to-Point dedicated fiber: why it is the best choice for enterprise connectivity

When we speak of a dedicated Point-to-Point (P2P) connection, we are referring to a network architecture that allows two networks to be connected directly. This technology is often used in Fiber To The Enterprises (FTTE) connections for several reasons.

First, the P2P connection , unaffected by the traffic of other users on the same network, ensures high reliability and stability of the connection.

Dedicated fiber also provides higher data rates, as the connection bandwidth is used exclusively for that specific connection, without being shared with other devices or users on the same network.

Finally, the P2P connection offers a higher level of security, since communication takes place directly.

Industry 4.0: SMEs toward a digital future

The importance of digitization for Small and Medium Enterprises has also been emphasized by the European Commission, which launched the “Digitization of European Industry” program with the aim of supporting the digital transformation of European companies, particularly SMEs.

Industry 4.0 represents a great opportunity for Italian Small and Medium Enterprises, but in order to reap the full benefits of digitization it is necessary to invest in fiber optics and – as is easy to imagine – companies, providers and institutions that will do it first will have a competitive advantage not indifferent.