What you need to know about an Optical Network Terminal

Taylor Gadsden

Jan 11, 2021 — 2 min read

Get to know your fiber network.

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Understanding your new fiber optic network along with all the bells and whistles may seem like a large undertaking, but the terms and functions are easier when you break it down piece by piece. We’ll examine the Optical Network Terminal, or ONT, and its role in your fiber internet service. 

What is an Optical Network Terminal?

You’ll typically find an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) on the outside of your home or in your garage and it plays a vital role in bringing fiber internet to your household via your internet service provider. The ONT is a unit that serves as the middleman between the fiber network you’re utilizing and your home. 

A service technician will install this unit during the installation appointment you set with your provider after purchasing your fiber internet plan. If the household has previously received fiber optic services, an ONT may already be present. 

How does an ONT work?

The ONT converts fiber network signals from light into copper and electric (Ethernet wiring) for your router to use. The ONT communicates with your provider’s fiber network at the Termination Point, or TP, installed by your provider using an optical fiber cable. A LAN or Ethernet cable is used to connect the ONT to your router. 

From there, your router allows you to connect your Wi-Fi enabled devices to your home network and connect to the web. Thus, the magic of the internet is spread far and wide, assuming you’ve got the router to do the job and a reliable power source, of course. 

Your ONT will require electricity to provide your fiber services so if you’re experiencing internet issues that are unrelated to your router, modem or internet provider, check out your ONT to make sure the outlet it’s connected to is still in working order. Typically there will be an indicator light on the unit to show that power is present but units vary between providers and regions. 

If you have multiple services like TV, phone and internet, the unit will separate and convert those signals accordingly. 

Considering the switch to fiber? Browse and shop top fiber optic providers in your area today. 

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Taylor Gadsden

Written by:

Taylor Gadsden

Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content

Taylor is a veteran member of the Allconnect content team and has spearheaded a number of projects, including a data piece on the top fiber cities in the U.S. and a troubleshooting guide on how to connect your p… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband & Wireless Content

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