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Do you know your FTTC from your FTTP? Broadband Options Explained
Outside of being in the IT or telecoms industry, you might not be aware of the different types of broadband options out there.
Is it mainly a case of paying more and having a faster speed? Well sometimes yes, but there’s a lot more to it than that and really depends on a few factors, as to what is the best fit for your business needs.
Asymmetric digital subscriber line: Back in the days when broadband was considered fast at around an 8Mb download speed, you would have been using one of these full copper cable lines, which reaches from the BT exchange, connects to a street based green cabinet and then go on to your premises. The closer you lived to the exchange, the faster your connection would in theory be. They were the norm for both business and home users for years and the only real option outside of paying a 2nd mortgage in order to have something faster (and dedicated) installed.
In terms of cabling, this newer standard uses the same copper cables as its predecessor, however is capable of pushing a greater bandwidth through them and offering home/business users up to 24Mb download speeds. If you were lucky enough to be in area close enough to the exchange and this speed was enough, you could joyfully grin at the fact you were almost experiencing fibre type speeds, for a fraction of the cost (many moons ago).
Fibre to the Cabinet: When fibre broadband came onto the scene, this was (and still is) the most common type of connection to have. Fibre optic cables, which send data through at lightning speeds, would travel from the exchange to the street cabinet and then the data would use a copper cable to make its way to your premises. Fibre isn’t affected by distance from the exchange and its only limitation is the ‘noise’ on the copper cable side of things. On an FTTC connection you can expect to see speeds up to around 76Mb download and this is more than ample for the majority of homes and SME businesses out there, even today.
Fibre to the Premises: This is when things get interesting and not everyone can have it. In fact, very few in comparison of FTTC availability because usually it would only be available if your premises was too far from the cabinet, meaning instead, you benefited from a straight connection direct from the exchange – with 100% fibre lines and no copper involved at all. The speed offered with this type of connection is more often than not capped at 330Mb, however they are capable of 1Gb! You can pay to have FTTP installed, but without an engineer survey, its impossible to know how quickly this would be, or how much.
The Rolls Royce of broadband, but it comes with a price tag!
For businesses that want dedicated, uninterruptable, high priority connections, they choose to install one of these Ethernet based lines. They’re subject to survey and if that results in some construction work required in order to get the line to your premises, this can get costly. Most surveys are free of charge though, but make sure you double check this element with your provider.
You get a choice of line that can be installed (an up to 100Mb, or an up to 1Gb) and the respective max speed your budget allows (20Mb, 40Mb, 60Mb etc etc). If you think a maximum of 100Mb will be more than enough for your needs over a long time frame, its worth just getting the ‘up to’ 100Mb line installed, as a 100Mb connection on a 1Gb line will cost you more than a 100Mb connection on a 100Mb line.
Its important not to get too greedy with speed though, as an 80/100 (speed/line) might cost £250 per month, compared to 1Gb/1Gb can cost anywhere around £700 per month! Plus you’ll typically be locked into a 3 year contract as well, so choose wisely!
If you need any assistance in choosing the right broadband line, contact your IT provider who should be able to assist. If you don’t have one, we’ll happily help you, so feel free to give us a call for some friendly advice.