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FTTC Fibre Cabinets

BT are currently rolling out their fibre access network throughout the UK. This page gives an overview
of BT Openreach's FTTC fibre cabinets.

BT Openreach FTTC Cabinets

 FTTC Rollout
 FTTC DSLAM Models
 FTTC Cabinet Capacity
 Inside the FTTC Cabinet
 FTTC Cabinet photographs
 FTTC Street Furniture
 Combined PCP & FTTC cabinets
 Line card info

~ FTTC Roll out

As at April 2013, BT Openreach had so far installed over 30,000 street cabinets. BT have invested
£2.5 billion to roll out fibre to two-thirds of the UK by the end of 2014, which is a year ahead of
target.

They plan to install 450 cabinets per week (>20,000 cabinets pa), enable over 1,000 exchanges, lay
over 50,000 km of fibre and connect 200,000 distribution points.

Further BDUK deployment is to reach the rural final third. The Government has allocated £530m of
public funding to help bring faster broadband to rural areas.

March 2014: 19 million homes, which is 2/3rds of UK premises now have access to fibre based
services, some 21 months ahead of the original target. 2.7 Million consumers signed up for Openreach
fibre services. Total of 6 million premises in the UK have fibre.

~ FTTC DSLAM Models

BT Openreach currently use 3 different DSLAMs in their FTTC Cabinets

 ECI M41 - Lantiq chipset


 Huawei MA5603T - Broadcom chipset
 Huawei MA5616T - Broadcom chipset
What model is installed is down to BT's planning dept and anticipated demand in your area. The earliest
cabs were Huawei's. During the 2012-2013 period BT seemed to be favouring the ECI cabs, but since late
2013/early 2014 most new cabs tend to be Huawei.

Cabinets installed as at April 2013

ECI M41 7,732


Huawei MA5616T 3,637
Huawei MA5603T 12,995

~ FTTC Cabinet Capacity

Maximum line capacity per DSLAM depends on the make and model installed.

Cabinet Capacity
DSLAM Max Line Cards Max Lines Cab Housing

ECI M41 4 256 ECI 256


Huawei MA5616T 4 128 Huawei 128
Huawei MA5603T 6 288 Huawei 288
Huawei MA5603T 6 384 Huawei 384 HD *
Huawei 4 128 Huawei AIO

Additional line card installation is automatically triggered when utilisation is above 75%.

* In 2016 Openreach started to replace some Huawei MA5603's with new 64 port line cards. A
previous limitation of the Huawei cabs was only 48 ports per line card.

~ FTTC Cabinet Interior

Main parts and electronics that make up the inside of an FTTC cabinet.
~ FTTC Cabinet Photographs

ECI DSLAM & Line Cards IDC Blocks Input/Output Ducts

This particular cabinet is designated ECI 256 - note provision availability for 4 line cards and full IDC rack

ECI M41 DSLAM in FTTC Cabinet


This cab would be designated EC1 128 - note provision for 2 line cards and only 128 IDC connectors

Huawei MA5603 DSLAM in FTTC Cabinet


This DSLAM would be designated Huawei 288 - note availability provision of 6 line cards.

~ Street Furniture - FTTC cabinet Housings

BT have been known to use the following street Huawei 288 /384HD FTTC cabinet
FTTC cabinets:

 ECI 128, ECI 256


 Huawei 96, Huawei 128, Huawei 288

The FTTC cabinet will usually be located no more


than 50m from the green PCP cabinet as per
recommended guide lines. In exceptional
circumstances the absolute maximum is 100m.

The number behind is actually an indication of how


many lines the cabinet supplies, so for example the
ECI cabinet furniture for 128/256 is exactly the
same. Same applies to the Huawei 288/384.

The easiest way to identify the type of cabinet is by


the grill vents.
Note: The shape of the cabinet top is not indicative
of model. Angled or flat top is an option.

Newer model is 14mm wider to facilitate 90° opening of the side door for easier
access.

ECI 128/256 FTTC cabinet Huawei 96/128 FTTC cabinet


Combined PCP & FTTC Cabinet - All In One (AIO) units

All in one copper and fibre cabinets are very rare,


with the first one in the UK being installed in Aug
2014.

They were introduced to overcome of the problem


of Exchange Only Lines not being able to get Fibre
To The Cabinet and can support up to 128 vdsl lines
and on the PCP side a maximum of 500 E&D sides.

EO or Exchange only lines are where a telephone


line connects directly to the exchange without going
via the usual green PCP cabinet.

Traditionally EO lines were those very close to the


exchange or a (few) singular line(s) at large distance
from the exchange, where previously it was deemed
more economic to run one length of copper rather
than install an E-side & PCP cabinet.

Combined PCP/FTTC cabinets are not being Combined PCP & FTTC unit
deployed in areas where there is an existing PCP Photograph taken by Niall McGill

cabinet and are restricted for BDUK use.


~ Line Card Info

Huawe iMA5616T VDSH (24)


Huawei MA5616T VDLF (32)

Huawei MA5603T VDMF (48)


Huawei MA5603T VCMM (48) These were swapped out in 2015 see here.

DSL line card for Huawei MA5603 showing multiple DSL transceivers and various chips.

ECI Line cards VTU-C64P. Contains Lantiq Vinax V3 chipset.


ECI V41 specs. ECI M41 specs (Note this is old 2010 version).