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Ethernet over FTTx: The hybrid connectivity solution for organizations outgrowing broadband

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(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Toria)

As businesses grow and evolve, so do their connectivity requirements. Ensuring a modern business has reliable connectivity that meets their needs as they undergo a growth curve, is essential.  As such, connectivity solutions must not only support the required capacity needs of the present, but also be able to scale to suit the demands of tomorrow whilst remaining robust, secure and reliable throughout the business’ evolution. 

Developing connectivity needs 

Historically, SMEs with demand for lower bandwidth connectivity have opted for broadband services, but this comes at a cost, for example, sharing internet access with surrounding buildings and relying on lengthy fix times should there be issues with the connection. The risk of lengthy downtime poses a vital problem for businesses seeking expansion and evolution. UK connectivity provider, Beaming recently conducted a survey in conjunction with research company Opinium, which determined that internet downtime cost UK businesses upwards of £12.3 billion in lost productivity, clocking up 149 million lost business hours!

In a world when connectivity is more critical than ever, many businesses are starting to question if it is worth the risk.

For those looking to upgrade their connectivity services from standard broadband, there is still much uncertainty about which option is best suited for their business. With options including Broadband over fiber to the Premise and Broadband over fiber to the Cabinet (FTTP and FTTC), Ethernet over fiber to the Premise (EoFTTP) and Ethernet over fiber the Cabinet (EoFTTC), Ethernet First Mile and even Full fiber Ethernet to contend with, making an informed decision can be tricky. Businesses looking for sub-10Gbps bandwidths must gain further insight into the options to pick the service that best suits them. 

Broadband over FTTP and FTTC 

Broadband FTTP and FTTC is a basic fiber optic broadband option, commonly known in business and residential spaces. It is well suited to start-ups looking to establish themselves as players in a market that don’t yet require higher capacities and faster speeds. It is also suited to smaller businesses that don’t mind sharing service bandwidth or have any significant data security challenges to consider.

fiber broadband offers connectivity over a mix of fiber and copper (FTTC) and pure fiber (FTTP) depending on location, generally up to 30Mbps bandwidth. It typically has longer SLA (Service Level Agreement) and fix times compared to its Ethernet counterparts, often as long as the next working day (and usually excluding weekends and bank holidays). In fact, sometimes fiber broadband comes with no SLA at all.

Ethernet first mile 

There is still a lot of uncertainty around when businesses should consider using Ethernet First Mile (EFM), despite this service having been around for some time. Seen as a low-cost alternative to low-capacity Full fiber Ethernet, EFM provides uncontended bandwidth in capacities up to 20Mbps. It uses purely bonded copper and tends to cover vast distances, hence the lower bandwidth availability.

Often known as the entry-level service into Ethernet connectivity, it guarantees better SLAs and more robust connectivity options than broadband FTTC and FTTP. However, it is frequently overlooked due to it only offering low bandwidth options.

Ethernet over FTTP and FTTC (EoFTTx)

EoFTTx fills the gap in the market for those businesses looking to upgrade to a Full fiber Ethernet solution but aren’t quite ready for the financial commitment that comes with it. It enables end-user businesses, public organizations, service providers and alternative network providers to take advantage of dedicated Ethernet connectivity at sub 1Gbps bandwidths, but at a fraction of the cost. 

This is ideal for companies that may still be establishing themselves or multi-site organizations where some of their holdings have minimal on-site IT requirements, unsuitable for services higher than 1Gbps, but who don’t want to compromise on quality. 

As with Broadband FTTP and FTTC, EoFTTx is delivered over either a mixture of fiber and copper (EoFTTC) and pure fiber (EoFTTP). However, the range of capacities available are substantially higher, with sub-100Mbps services readily available for EoFTTC, and sub-1Gbps services available for EoFTTP. Furthermore, it is usually provided with agreed SLA fix times of just seven hours. What’s more, EoFTTx comes with a minimum bandwidth threshold, meaning the service you’ll be delivered will meet the agreed minimum capacity.

Ethernet over FTTx provides businesses not yet ready for Full fiber Ethernet services access to a high-quality fiber connectivity solution that sufficiently meets their needs. With Neos Networks recently launching EoFTTx services in over 650,000 UK business postcodes and counting, this service is revolutionizing connectivity for UK businesses. 

Full fiber Ethernet 

Full fiber Ethernet connectivity has been around for some time. In fact, national Ethernet was initially launched in the UK by Neos Networks back in 2001. Originally available in capacities ranging from 10Mbps up to 1Gbps, they recently launched 10Gbps fiber Ethernet options in more than 410 exchanges across the UK, with many exchanges coming on-net in the last few months. 

Ethernet fiber is best suited to well-established businesses. Known for providing a synchronous, high bandwidth service, it offers shorter SLA fix times, higher capacities (up to 100Gbps) and a faster network service.

What’s next for businesses?  

With a vast array of connectivity services available to the market, businesses that are too mature for standard broadband have a number of different options to explore when looking for next-level connectivity. 

With Ethernet over FTTx acting as a stepping stone on the way to Full fiber Ethernet, businesses can achieve high-quality connectivity at lower capacities, no longer settling for the security risks and longer fix times that come with broadband options. Given that high-quality EoFTTx services are now available without the expensive price tag, there is no need for businesses to endure the disadvantages that come with broadband services. 

Robust and reliable connectivity offers extensive potential for businesses looking to adopt next-generation technologies and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation and digital transformation, helping them to thrive in a competitive landscape.

Simon Willmott, Director of Wholesale Business Development, Neos Networks

Simon Willmott, Director of Wholesale Business Development, Neos Networks.