Whether you run a successful business or you are looking for the best home broadband packages available, knowing the merits of the various broadband connectivity options on the market, will put you in good stead to make the right choice for yourself and for your business.
What is FTTC?
Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) is a type of fibre optic broadband. It is a blend of copper and fibre optic cables. This means running fibre optic cables from a telephone exchange (or distribution point) to the street cabinets close to your premises, and the remaining connection to your premises is run over the existing analogue copper lines. The way FTTC works is that the user is given a router from the Internet Service Provider (ISP), which enables them to receive this fast broadband, also known as Fibre Broadband.
FTTC and FTTP are often compared to each other. Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) is less expensive to install and is often used as a more economical substitute to the Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) pure fibre optic solution.
Whilst FTTP broadband is a pure fibre optic delivery method that promises super-fast delivery into people’s homes and businesses directly from an Internet Service Provider (ISP), Fibre-to -the-Cabinet (FTTC) is a blend of copper and fibre optic cables. FTTC uses fibre optic cables right up to the street cabinet, and then an existing copper telephone line, known as a PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), to connect the cabinet to your premises, be it your home or your business.
FTTP (Fibre-to-the-Premises) and FTTH (Fibre-to-the-Home) are essentially the same thing, but FTTP is used as an umbrella term, which includes both non-residential and residential premises.
Benefits of FTTC
Although Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) still relies on existing copper telephone lines, by replacing a high proportion of the copper wires to the cabinet with fibre, it means that the average speeds achieved become significantly higher, than on an all copper connection. Because this method only uses a short section of copper cable, it removes the disadvantages of long copper lines, and allows download speeds of up to 80MB. Essentially the loss characteristics of fibre are far better than copper over long distances.
In other words, you get faster speeds as the short copper line can run VDSL (Very High Bitrate Digital Subscriber Line), rather than ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) technology. The main difference between the two technologies is the broadband speed. ADSL technology can achieve a maximum download speed of 24 mbps, and 1 mbps upload speed, whilst VDSL can reach speeds up to 80 mbps for download, and 20 mbps for upload speed.
FTTC broadband is becoming widely available in the UK, but before installation, providers will need to do a quick check on your postcode to ascertain current availability.
Fibre-to-the-Cabinet comes in various upload and download speeds, but a converged business option is the favoured one for combined VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), and IT installations. This is a scalable, bundled service which is designed to link multiple sites together to create a secure Internet Protocol (IP) Virtual Private Network (VPN) for company intranets, extranets and inter-site business connectivity.
FTTC services can usually be available in 10 days and while more expensive than traditional ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) technology, they offer significant savings over a leased line.
Is FTTC right for you?
To get everyone connected directly to pure fibre broadband would be a very costly process, but FTTC (Fibre-to-the-Cabinet) offers a cost-effective way of providing homes and businesses the speed and stability benefits of Fibre Broadband.
It is important to note that with Fibre-to-the-Cabinet, your business does not benefit from a dedicated connection. Therefore, if your business is internet critical, in other words, if your business heavily relies on robust data connectivity and sensitive data handling, Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) may not be the ideal choice for you.
Although FTTC broadband has strong merits, it is not built for the long haul. It is a contended service, which means that you will be sharing the fibre bandwidth with all the other users who are connected to the same cabinet. Because of this, you may notice significant peak time fluctuations in your broadband connection. The likelihood is that the first customers to be connected to the FTTC cabinet will benefit from superfast speeds, however, it is to be expected that the more customers are connected to the same cabinet, the quicker these speeds will decrease for all users.
Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) uses very high frequencies to transmit the broadband, and at these high frequencies, customers may notice something called copper cable crosstalk. This is a phenomenon by which a signal transmitted on one pair of copper cables or one channel, creates an undesired effect on another pair or channel.
And finally, this service is not covered by a Service Level Agreement (SLA). An SLA is a contract between the service provider and the end user that defines the level of service expected from the service provider, should anything go wrong, giving customers complete peace of mind over guaranteed uptime, quick service restoration, and 24/7 service monitoring.