Next Generation Access – NGA

A little while ago I did a blog on connectivity comparing my Virgin Media and the BT Openreach FTTC (Fibre to the cabinet) connection. The Openreach FTTC network really has proven to be an excellent choice.

Since then I have been patiently waiting for it to become available at our office. It has been little under a year now and finally the time has come, we now have FTTC in our cabinet where our office is connected! This is a total game changer for us, before now we were 3km from the Exchange, now we are only 300m from our cabinet and our speeds have dramatically improved. Our ZEN connection is a great example – with ADSL we were getting about 4mb down and 1mb up, now that we have upgraded to FTTC, we are getting about 70 down and 17 up, which is incredible!

Obviously as a company who pushes boundaries, it got me thinking about what could be done with the FTTC (VDSL) technology. I spoke to my contacts at EasyNet and they had had the same thoughts. Hence the “Etherstream-V” product was born. We are the pilot/launch customer for this product and whilst we had some stability issues with the hardware during the first couple of weeks of testing, it is all working much better now. This is not the first time we have worked with EasyNet as a pilot/launch customer, several years ago we were the pilot/launch customer for the 8mb SureStream (4 x 2mb SDSL bonded) offering which also proved to be a huge success. It’s really is great to be working with them again.

So what’s the difference between ADSL and VDSL?

These two technologies are similar, but also different! Basically, they both use a modem which these days are built into routers. Below is an example of the BT supplied VDSL modem which you will get with an FTTC line.

VDSL modem

Both modems connect to a DSLAM (digital subscriber line access multiplexer). With ADSL, the DSLAM is in the BT Exchange and as we all know speeds can be badly affected if your location is far away from the Exchange. The main benefit with VDSL/FTTC is that the DSLAM is in the cabinet, so you are always going to be closer to the DSLAM than ever before. The DSLAMs in the cabinets are then connected to the Exchange by fibre optic cables.

For customers using Cloud services, FTTC is a great option, but do bear in mind that most services have monthly download limits, so don’t get caught out by hitting these. As long as you are sensible, you should be able to stay below them.

VDSL Infrastructure Diagram and Cabinet below

VDSL Infrastructure

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