Fibre optic broadband is all about speed – and since none of us like waiting around, that’s a good thing.
It allows you to do everything you want online, but at impressively high speeds. This means downloads will be quicker, videos will stream more smoothly, online gamers will notice fewer glitches where poor connection causes them to temporarily drop out of the action, multiple users can browse the internet as they please, businesses will become more productive and overall users have the benefit of a far more reliable service with fibre optic broadband.
The most obvious benefit of upgrading to fibre optic broadband is speed – Fibre To The Home (FTTH) can be over ten time faster than the previous ADSL. Whether you’re downloading files or streaming audio or video, you will notice improvements in the speed and performance of your online activity. Using 100Mbps FTTH for example, you can download a high-quality 180MB MP3 album in around 28 seconds, compared to around 7 hours if you were still on dial-up (services still offered by some Internet Service Providers).
For gamers, higher speeds should mean they see less ‘lag’ or ‘latency’ when playing online, meaning games are more responsive. If you’re part of a family where lots of people are online at the same time, an FTTH connection will make it less likely that you’ll notice poor connection, and slow downloading & uploading speeds when sharing your bandwidth with multiple users.
Upload Speeds Matter
As the world uses the internet much more and for many more applications it is also important to have fast upload speeds to send information in an instant on the web.
If you make Skype video calls for example, the speed you can upload (send data) will impact on the quality of what the person at the other end sees. The data you send (and how quickly you send it) directly impacts on how many frames per second can be viewed – obviously the higher it is, the smoother the picture.
Similarly, online gamers require constant speedy download and upload speeds for communication to be made in their virtual world. While peer-to-peer file sharing is built around the ability to both download and upload files at high speeds.
Casual internet browsers will notice that uploading photos or videos on social networks with speedy uploads will take much less time.
With an FTTH service you can expect much faster download & upload speeds, you are also far more likely to be achieving the advertised speeds shown by your operator.
Types of Fibre Optic Internet Technologies..
Although fibre broadband is often referred to as one type of connection, there is actually more than one type of a fixed-line fibre connection.
The first thing to know is, no matter how fast the fibre part of your connection is, it will inevitably slow down when it reaches copper telephone wires. Therefore, the less use of copper telephone lines, the better.
Fibre To The Home (FTTH)
The fastest broadband option is Fibre To The Home (FTTH). With FTTH, broadband is carried on a fibre optic cable from the operators central office right the way through into the client premises and connects the router.
The entire journey of a FTTH internet connection is covered via fibre optic cabling.
Fibre To The Building (FTTB)
Fibre To The Building is an internet technology where fibre cable runs from the central office and ends at the bottom of your building or nearby home. The rest of the distance is covered over TV coaxial cable.
Depending on where you live will differentiate upon how far the distance between where the fibre connection ends and the rest of the distance is delivered via coax. In most cases in Gibraltar, these are very short distances with a maximum of 50m.
Over very short distances signal strength is not affected when using TV coaxial cabling.
Fibre To The Node (FTTN)
Fibre To The Node is an internet technology which uses the least amount of fibre optic cable to supply your broadband. This is VDSL broadband technology.
This form of broadband technology uses fibre cables up to the nearest telephone cabinet with the remainder of the distance covered via copper telephone wires. The downside of this, is that broadband speeds are negatively affected by the condition and length of this cable. The range of copper telephone wires used for this internet technology can be as much as 300m to nearly 700m. Therefore, advertised speeds of ‘up to '100Mbps / 50Mbps' are never actually achieved and can sometimes even be lower than half those advertised.
FTTH for the Future
Fibre-optic cable is made up of thin strands of glass. Information is carried on the glass with pulses of light, created by lasers. This is why this technology is so fast, as it travels at the speed of light. The capacity of each strand – that is, its ability to carry information (bandwidth) – can be increased to meet future needs almost without limit, simply by changing the lasers. FTTH is thus said to be ‘future proof’. It is the only broadband technology for which that claim can be made.
Once an all fibre network (FTTH network) is installed, it may not have to be replaced for many decades. Because the glass strands are so flexible and thin (thinner than a human hair) and because they carry no electricity and are impervious to lightning and to water, they are actually far more rugged and reliable than the telephone copper wire they replace. They present no fire hazard. Glass does not corrode, either. Nothing hurts fibre except a physical cut or destruction of the building it is in.
* All facts and figures are based on information gathered from: FTTH Speed Tool/FTTH in your Community/FTTH Business Guide
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