15 Sep 2014

Which is best suited to your business needs? FTTC Vs EFM

When choosing a data connection for your business there are dozens of different options to choose from and each option has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. This article will focus on two of the most popular business connections, EFM (Ethernet First Mile) and FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet).

Let’s first look at FTTC:

FTTC – Fibre To The Cabinet– is what is generally known as superfast broadband. Instead of using copper lines to carry data, FTTC uses fibre which offers far higher transmission rates and resilience than copper. These fibre lines run from an enabled BT exchange to the local BT PoP (Point of Presence – typically a green street cabinet). From here the service is delivered to the end-user by means of a standard copper PSTN (phone) line. Whilst copper is a slower medium for data transfer, the distance between the cabinet and the end-user premises is generally shorter than the distance between the end-user premises the local exchange.  This means that there is a significant increase in bandwidth with no noticeable loss in connection quality.

Advantages of FTTC

If your business is using a standard copper-based service like Broadband, upgrading to FTTC is quick and easy. In locations where fibre is available upgrades can complete in 7-10 working days. Another notable benefit is the speeds available, with download speeds up to 80Mbps and upload speeds up to 20Mbps. This is impressive bandwidth at an extremely affordable price with our business grade packages starting from £34.95/month.

Some points to watch out for

FTTC is not widely available and is still being rolled-out across the UK at both exchange and cabinet level. To find out if it is available in your area,  contact our expert sales team at sales@soconnect.co.uk or call us on 0333 240 1824

Another issue is contention, despite the improvement in bandwidth fibre can offer, it is still a contended broadband service.  At peak times there may be a noticeable drop in performance due to the number of other users using the service. If your business is looking for a service that is not contended, i.e. a dedicated connection, then other types of connectivity should be considered.  FTTC is also not provided with any SLA (Service Level Agreement) meaning there are no uptime guarantees or guaranteed service restoration times in the event of an outage. If available,  this can make an excellent additional backup/failover connection to future proof a dedicated connection against service outages.

Visit our FTTC  page to find out more >>

Next, let’s look at EFM

EFM or  Ethernet First Mile is one of the highest quality forms of data connectivity currently available in the UK and is a business grade service offering leased-line quality connectivity over copper wires rather than conventional fibre. Due to using bonded copper pairs EFM is extremely resilient if one pair fails the others remain live.  Uptime can be guaranteed by means of a 6-hour SLA which also guarantees service restoration times in the event of any unexpected carrier downtime.

EFM - How It Works

Advantages of EFM

EFM is a symmetrical service, meaning upload and download speeds are the same. This allows businesses to benefit from higher rates of upload than standard broadband with the assurance of an SLA. EFM is reliable and dedicated business internet solution, making it ideal for the adoption of services like Hosted VoIP, Hosted Exchange or Skype for Business which can require high upload speeds.

Another notable advantage is that EFM is a completely dedicated service so the bandwidth is all yours. It does not suffer from any loss of performance at peak times like broadband services. This means your business will not suffer from any dips in bandwidth at certain times of day, maximising business productivity.

EFM is a business grade Ethernet service and is backed up by a strong SLA (Service Level Agreement) which guarantees uptime and service restoration times in the event of an outage. This is essential for businesses who rely heavily on their data connection.

Things to consider

EFM is more expensive than FTTC due to all the benefits it offers in terms of symmetrical bandwidth, guaranteed uptime and SLA. EFM may therefore not be suitable for most small or home-based businesses but would be the first port of call for any SME running its own online services.

Another consideration is delivery time, EFM doesn’t utilise existing lines or hardware, therefore, new lines and hardware will need to be installed. EFM typically has a lead-time of 45 working days but can be longer depending on exchange status. EFM may therefore not be the answer if a swift improvement to your bandwidth is required. Like FTTC, EFM is also not available everywhere.  To find out if EFM is available in your area, contact our expert sales team at sales@soconnect.co.uk or call us on 0333 240 1824.

Our EFM packages start from 10Mbps at just £125 per month (subject to availability).

Visit our EFM page to find out more >>

FTTC vs EFM Conclusion

If available, FTTC is the perfect solution for SME’s looking for a fast way to improve existing DSL (broadband) bandwidth. It delivers high speeds at a low cost with a short installation time.

If your business requires a business grade internet service with improved upload speeds (specifically to run & support cloud-based services) that guarantees uptime; does not suffer from contention and offers an SLA then EFM is the better choice.

If FTTC is not available to you and you feel EFM is not suitable then another alternative is Bonded Broadband or Bonded DSL. This is often provided as a solution in the absence of FTTC is available. To read more check out our Bonded Broadband page >>

Another option to consider is EoFTTC  (also known as GEA) which fits nicely between FTTC and EFM on the data connectivity product ladder.  EoFTTC makes the jump from broadband into the world of Ethernet less painful from a cost perspective and it uses FTTC infrastructure to deliver a business grade internet service with an SLA.

Consequently, availability is limited to where FTTC infrastructure has been installed with services able to offer symmetrical bandwidth up to a point.

For more information on EFM or FTTC, contact our expert sales team at sales@soconnect.co.uk or call us on 0333 240 1824.


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