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Broadband, Fibre, Leased lines — What terminology should you be using?


Broadband, Fibre, Leased lines — What terminology should you be using?

Ever since the days of dial-up internet ended, it’s fair to say that ‘broadband’ has become the preferred terminology whenever we talk about high-speed internet connectivity. After all, this has been the industry standard for a long while, both commercially and in the home.

But as new technologies emerge and older ones fall by the wayside, it’s important to keep up-to-date with changing terminologies. Broadband isn’t exactly what it was when it first arrived on the scene in the early 2000s, and it certainly won’t be the same moving forward.

Broadband, fibre, Gfast, leased lines… There are so many variants that it can be slightly confusing, especially when you’re trying to find the best solution to meet your business’ connectivity requirements both now and in the longer term.

With that being said, let’s run through some of these differences together and see how things stack up.

Before broadband, internet access was achieved with ‘narrowband’ dial-up connections that were much slower in comparison. In that sense, ‘broadband’ is actually a relative term because it can only be understood in context — i.e. as opposed to narrowband.

The broadband we use today comes in so many different forms (which we’ll come to in a moment) that the term is no longer specific enough. This is where knowing your apples from your oranges becomes so important.

Fibre (FTTC, FTTP, Gfast)
“Fibre is just faster broadband, right?”

Well, sure, but this is where things start to get a little bit more complicated. Let’s start with a simple overview of how fibre works.

Unlike copper wires of an ADSL connection, fibre-optic materials are used instead, which allows for far less signal degradation and much faster broadband speeds. Businesses already using fibre typically benefit from 1,000 times more bandwidth and up to 10 times faster internet speeds than traditional lines. This is also sometimes referred to as ‘cable broadband’ and is pretty indicative of where the technology is going on the whole.

Fibre can be FTTC (fibre-to-the-cabinet) or FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises). In the case of FTTC, fibre-optic cabling is laid to the cabinets, where copper wiring is then used to provide a connection to the premises. However, a newer version of FTTC, called Gfast, utilises specialist equipment fitted to the cabinet to alter the speed frequencies of the connection, resulting in speeds up to four times faster than traditional FTTC.

In the case of FTTP, fibre-optic cable is laid both to the cabinets and the premises. This allows for ultrafast speeds of up to 1Gbs (much quicker than FTTC).

Both FTTC and FTTP have their merits, but it ultimately comes down to cost and how much your business relies on the internet.

It’s also worth noting that you will be sharing the infrastructure with other users. And whilst this may not be an issue for small businesses, larger organisations with greater demands on their internet will likely prefer a more robust solution. This is where leased lines come into the mix.

Leased lines
A leased line (sometimes referred to as business ethernet) is essentially fibre-optic that runs directly to the premises, except you are not sharing it with other users. Simply put, it is a dedicated line set up to serve only your company.

Leased lines can provide symmetrical speeds of up to 10Gbs, which applies to both download and upload speeds. In terms of connection quality, leased lines are considered the gold standard and are much easier to ‘back up’ with an alternative line should anything affect the connection.

As such, leased lines are ideal for businesses and organisations that require an uncompromised and consistent connection, such as those with unified communications and other cloud services reliant on the internet.

Which is the right solution for you?
So now that we’ve clarified a few things, what is the best solution for your business?

While residential is typically okay with FTTC, home-workers consuming lots of data will likely need FTTP. The same can be said for small to medium-sized businesses, although depending on the size and nature of your organisation, business ethernet will probably be the better option.

Here at Fidelity Group, we can work alongside you to establish a service based on your internet requirements, ensuring solutions remain tailored now and in the longer term. We then bolster this with 24/7/365 dedicated technical support and customer service, keeping your business connected, and providing first-rate assistance whenever you need us. See what our clients have to say about us by visiting our Trustpilot review page here.

For more information about our data services, speak to a member of our team today.