FTTC vs FTTB. What’s the real difference?
There has been a lot of noise in the market recently about different connection options, from wireless to fibre to 5G. John Fitzgerald, Procurement and Business Development Director at enet talks about the different types of fibre connections.
We’ve all heard about fibre broadband and fibre connections. You may even have heard the terms Fibre to the Cabinet and Fibre to the Home/Business, but what is the real difference and how does it affect end user experience?
When fibre became a widely used connectivity option, Fibre to the Cabinet offered higher speeds than many people had been used to when using legacy copper connections. The FTTC connection means that the fibre cable is brought to the cabinet and from there a copper connection is brought to the premises. As a result, the bandwidths are increased when compared to legacy networks, however since copper is still the access technology, user experience can be inconsistent, and speeds can be unreliable. If I was being mischievous, we could define FTTC as ‘Fibre to the Copper’.
The other connection option is Fibre to the Business (FTTB). With FTTB, the fibre cable is brought directly from the Co-Location facility to the premises. As this is a full fibre connection, with fibre acting as the access technology, this means that the speeds are guaranteed. This option offers a more reliable and consistent connection to the end user.
Generally, when consumers are purchasing a utility such as a broadband connection they will generally choose based on price and the perception of high achievable bandwidths. However, the decision when choosing between a FTTC connection or a FTTB connection will depend on the type of end user. For example, a residential customer might be happy with the FTTC connection which they can usually get at a reasonable price with reasonable bandwidths. Whereas a business customer will often want the security and bandwidth consistency of the FTTB connection, as they may rely on consistent high-speed broadband to keep their business running with connectivity to the cloud.
However, FTTC is a limited technology and with bandwidth requirements growing, even for residential users, FTTB will increasingly be deployed where a business case exists. The enet network has been future proofed to allow FTTB as a minimum.
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