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FTTC - It's About More Than Just Speed

Published on 14 October 13
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For many businesses there is a pressure to upgrade to FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) broadband as soon as it is available in your area, with most of the marketing spiel focusing on the superfast speeds that this technology can offer. A single FTTC connection can theoretically hit a maximum download speed of about 80Mbps, which is a significant step up from ADSL broadband delivered via copper landlines.

However, FTTC is not just about boosting the speed of your connection, but adding a number of other benefits, both primary and secondary, once you decide to upgrade. Here is a look at the multi-faceted world of FTTC, which should leave you with a bit more of an understanding of why it is so revered.
Consistent Connectivity

Theoretical maximum line speeds are all well and good, but anyone who has been using an ADSL service for the last few years will know that the advertisements rarely reflect the real world performance of a standard broadband connection. The problem with ADSL is that the copper cabling which transports the signal from the local telephone exchange to your business and back again is prone to degradation and interference. This means that premises which are located a long way from the exchange can expect the connection to be significantly slower than advertised, as well as inevitably inconsistent over the course of a day, with peak usage causing all customers some trouble with congestion.

FTTC is not affected in the same way, thanks to the fact that the majority of the connection between your premises and the exchange is handled via fibre optic cable, with copper wire only making up the final few metres to minimise its impact. The result is that if an FTTC connection is advertised as being able to achieve a maximum download speed of 70Mbps to 80Mbps, your business will actually be likely to achieve this in normal usage. The extra speed also means that the traffic generated by other users in peak periods will be less of a burden, allowing you to continue using web services unhindered.

Consistency of speed is important for enterprises that rely on internet access to operate normally, which is something that feeds into the other benefits of FTTC discussed below.

Faster speeds and greater available bandwidth mean that you should be able to send and receive large amounts of data in a shorter amount of time, which is clearly beneficial in a business environment which will be increasingly reliant on digital information. However, even a theoretically fast connection can suffer issues when using apps and services which are hosted on the web. If a connection is struck down by high latency issues: things like lag and slowdown will make it harder to use SaaS (software as a service) in the cloud, perhaps limiting the extent to which your company can migrate away from on-site solutions.

With FTTC you can get the golden combination of higher bandwidth and lower latency connectivity, ensuring that the time it takes for web apps to respond to interactions is minimised. In the consumer space this makes all the difference for online gaming, so for businesses the benefits can be equally marked in the responsiveness of enterprise-grade software.

As with speed there are all sorts of factors which impact latency, many of which will be out of the hands of individual businesses and even network providers, because server responsiveness can be compromised when accessing hosted services located a great distance from your premises. However, this is all part and parcel of navigating the maze to adoption of remote services.
User Flexibility

With faster speeds, lower latencies and most importantly more bandwidth available through an FTTC broadband connection, businesses will be less limited in the number of users who can simultaneously harness the service. This is not only important to support your current staffing levels, but gives you the ability to provide connectivity for additional users, whether they are temporarily on site or taking up permanent residence after a spate of hiring and growth. In the past it might have been necessary to spend a fortune adding more lines to ensure that you could accommodate more users as your business expands, but with FTTC you can achieve this without the extra outlay and upfront expense.
VoIP Advantages

Your business broadband connection will not just handle standard data generated by web usage, but may well be tasked with the handling of VoIP services, which are generally more affordable than traditional analogue landlines. If your business is already using VoIP, or is broaching the idea of adopting it in the near future, then FTTC will be an important asset in streamlining this process. You will be able to support more simultaneous inbound and outgoing calls and also make it easier for colleagues to stay in touch with one another even if they are off-site and in an entirely different location.

While VoIP access may seem like a fringe benefit to businesses that have yet to make use of this technology, it will quickly become a vital part of your communications infrastructure once you have FTTC available and the added incentive to adopt.
Silver Lining

Although it has been hinted at throughout this article, the ability to access cloud computing services via FTTC is one of the strongest recommendations that you can give about this technology. With a superfast broadband service and a cloud provider, there is very little limiting the types of solutions which can be hosted remotely. The cloud can handle everything from basic data storage to the running of an entire network infrastructure, freeing up resources within a business and ensuring that no money goes to waste. Achieving efficiency used to be difficult in the world of enterprise IT, but this is no longer the case.

FTTC can even increase the viability of your on-site hosting, allowing you to run a VPN that gives remote access to important data and services. You might even consider adopting a co-location hosting package that lets you keep your server hardware in a third party data centre while still retaining control over it.

There are many possibilities which arise after you invest in FTTC at your business, so do not just think about how much faster files will download, as there is more to this connectivity solution than speed alone. If FTTC is not fast enough, then you may also be able to select FTTP (fibre to the property) which eliminates copper cabling from the equation and offers further enhancements to the aforementioned benefits. The worst thing you can do for your business is ignore either of these next-generation fibre optic services.
This blog is listed under Networks & IT Infrastructure Community

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