Fiber U Free Self Study Programs

Fiber Optics For Wireless Networks

Lesson Plan 2: Fiber To The Antenna
Level: Intermediate

Fiber To The Antenna (FTTA)

Objectives: From this self-study lesson you should learn:

  • How FTTA systems are designed
  • How cabling connects all elements of a FTTA cellular antenna system
  • What types of cabling (copper-fiber hybrid) are used in FTTA systems
  • Issues in installing and testing FTTA cabling.


Wireless traffic is growing at a phenomenal rate. AT&T says their cellular data traffic grew 80,000% (that's 800 times) between 2007 (the introduction of the iPhone) and 2017. The landscape is covered with cellular towers to provide geographic coverage, but to handle the growth in traffic, they need more antennas. Towers that one had 3 antennas now have one or two dozen to cover all the new frequencies.

Cell towers 

There are two issues we cover in our FTTA material that affect every cell tower or cell antenna installation (such as on the roof of a building.) The increased number of antennas require more cables up the tower and smaller, lighter fiber cables are replacing the old big, heavy copper coax cables. Then the towers need to connect into the phone system and the towers need more bandwidth in their connections, so those connections require fiber backhaul.

This course will deal primarily with FTTA but will also discuss fiber backhaul, more appropriately covered under the topic of OSP fiber. Fiber U has an OSP fiber optics course also. The course covers how fiber to the antenna systems are designed, installed and tested. The information provided should be useful to the tech doing the installation, their supervisors and management involved in cell tower systems.

Safety is a big issue on FTTA installations. Besides the usual concerns over fiber safety, there are the issues associated with climbing towers and doing work up in the air. Some of the processes developed for FTTA are designed to make installation easier but safety planning and training (OSHA in the US) for all personnel is very important.

You will be instructed to read the references or watch videos and take the quiz (Test Your Knowledge) to complete the "classroom" part of the course.

Get Started

Watch The Video
FOA Lecture 37 Fiber To The Antenna (Cellular Towers)  

Read The Online FOA Reference
FOA Reference Guide, Fiber To The Antenna        
FOA Reference Guide, Testing FTTA  

Test Your Knowledge - FTTA Cabling - Quiz    

Lesson Plans
Read the materials or watch the videos linked on each lesson plan and take the quiz.

Lesson 1: Overview - How Wireless Networks Use Fiber Optics
Lesson 2: Fiber To The Cell Site And
Fiber To The Antenna
Lesson 3: Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)
Lesson 4: Small Cells
Lesson 5: WiFi - Enterprise, Urban and Rural


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