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Upload 40 times faster with fibre-based broadband

As consumers we are increasingly blasé about high speed internet access to the extent that many teenagers see broadband as a basic human right on a par with clean drinking water. Pause for suitable outrage. The roll-out of fibre is changing what was merely High-Speed Broadband into Super-Fast Broadband. This jump from 20Mbit/s download to a possible 80Mbit/s is providing businesses with ever more options including using Broadband to carry multiple voice calls with a quality on a par with ISDN for a fraction of the cost.

Before we delve too deeply into the joys of fibre, let’s reflect for a second on what the internet landscape looked at ten years ago, let’s look at four emerging technologies which are regarded as ubiquitous today:

2007 - First iPhone launched
2007 - 2/3 of the UK population were online
2007 - Broadband in 52% of households
2007 - Wi-Fi in 29% of households [1]

The rise of fibre is not a simple ‘faster is better’ argument, as fibre also reduces faults being a more stable and reliable network component than copper. By deploying fibre, businesses open up a wider set of options for resilience and security as well as higher bandwidth for relatively low-cost, providing cost-cutting opportunities.

As employees, visitors and customers of other businesses we know that expectations are rising in terms of what is expected for internet access. Increasingly the expectation is that all businesses will offer some form of guest Wi-Fi as a matter of course, whether it’s a retailer, hotelier, supplier or even a customer premise being visited.

To understand the impact of fibre versus copper let’s assume that the network is designed to provide optimum performance for around 400 yards of copper, and after that every 100 yards of copper will reduce the maximum speed of a connection by around 10%. The diagram below illustrates how fibre replaces copper and how, as a result, the end-to-end speed is higher:

Fibre to the cabinet can provide broadband uploads with up to 40 times higher bandwidth. For an old DSL link running at 8mbit/s the upload speed can be as little as 512kbit/s, compared to FTTC upload speeds of up to 20 mbit/s.

There is evidence[2] from the consumer market that data usage is constrained by connectivity and that as bandwidth increases, pent-up demand is released. This is shown in the table below:

For what could be a 50% increase in cost, a business could see a 40 times increase in bandwidth uploads. But before you rip out the old broadband, consider keeping it. By keeping the old broadband connection you create even more options such as:

  • Increasing resilience of your connectivity – especially if the new fibre-based connection is using a different underlying carrier to the old broadband.

  • Relieving the load on the primary link – route guest Wi-Fi direct to the internet; with secure Wi-Fi and segmented user access this separation of connections can offer a simple way to provide more bandwidth without comprising security.

Fibre is more stable, more reliable and has fewer faults than its copper equivalent. There is no escaping the higher speeds fibre brings – but longer term we will come to value the increased resilience and stability offered by deploying more fibre in our networks.