Ethernet and Ultrafast Fibre - Laptop ethernet

Ethernet v Ultrafast Fibre

Thanks to improvements in technology, fibre internet is getting faster, find out the differences between Ethernet and ultrafast fibre.

Early adopters would expect to get speeds of around 20 Mbps, but today even basic fibre packages offer speeds of up to 40 Mbps in most places.

Even this speed is capped, however. Pay a bit more each month and you can have up to 76 Mbps over the same connection. There is now a range of ‘ultrafast’ services on offer too, aimed at heavy users and businesses, which can offer speeds of up to 300 Mbps.

For business users, there’s another alternative in the form of an Ethernet or leased line connection, which offers high speeds but does so in a slightly different way. So, what’s the difference between leased lines and ultrafast broadband? To understand that we first need to look at how they each work.

Superfast Fibre

Most fibre broadband is delivered using a technology called fibre to the cabinet (FTTC). This means that the fibre optic backbone from the service provider terminates at a street cabinet and the circuit continues to your house or business premises over the same copper cables that carry your telephone service.

Ethernet and Ultrafast Fibre - Broadband page laptopExactly how fast your service will work is partly determined by how long that copper part of the circuit is. The nearer you are to the cabinet, the faster your connection will be. On an up to 76 Mbps connection, therefore, those nearest the cabinet will get close to the maximum speed, those more than a few hundred yards away might only be getting 50 or 60 Mbps.


Other factors come in to play too. One is contention, which means you’re sharing the link from the cabinet to the ISP with your neighbours, so at peak times you’ll have less bandwidth available and therefore the link will seem slower. The other thing to bear in mind is that broadband is asynchronous. That’s a posh word for saying that the data coming in goes faster than the data going out – typically on our hypothetical 76 Mbps connection, upload speeds will only be around 20 Mbps. Depending on how you’re using the connection, this can be a performance issue. Find out more about how contention can affect your business.

Ultrafast Fibre

Ultrafast broadband is delivered slightly differently. It will either be fibre to the premises (FTTP), usually if you’re in an urban area or served by a cable supplier, or it will be something called FTTC

What does mean in practice? It’s a technology that reduces the amount of copper circuit involved in delivering your broadband by adding distribution nodes. These come in the form of mini street cabinets or underground boxes that bring the fibre circuit nearer to the customer. Using it’s possible to have download speeds of up to 300 Mbps. However, it’s still an asynchronous circuit so uploads will only be around 48 Mbps – and it’s still contended.

If you’re a small business with just a few users, an Ultrafast broadband circuit will probably be more than sufficient for your needs. If you are a larger company and if you make heavy use of cloud services or VoIP calling, then you might still find it has shortcomings.

Want some help in choosing the best internet connection, tailored for your business needs? just give us a call on 0115 697 8520


If you want a fast internet connection that isn’t contended and which has equal speeds in both directions, then you need to consider a leased line. As the name suggests this means you’re renting the line all the way to the ISP for your exclusive use so you can be sure of strong performance and no slowdowns at peak time.

Leased lines are delivered using similar technology to broadband, either using FTTP or Ethernet over fibre to the cabinet (EoFTTC). Connections from 10 Mbps up to 10 Gbps are possible and of course, you get the same speed both ways.

Even if you are not in a fibre-enabled area, you can still benefit from a leased line using Ethernet first mile (EFM). This uses a copper connection to give you a synchronous, uncontended connection of up to 35 Mbps. Read more about an Ethernet first mile solution for your business.

Ethernet and Ultrafast Fibre - Ethernet serverWhy might you prefer a leased line over Ultrafast broadband? There are several reasons. We’ve already talked about contention and about upload and download speeds. If your business relies heavily on the use of the internet, in particular, if you use cloud services or online applications, then these activities can have a major impact on performance and ultimately on profitability.

One of the most popular providers in the UK, can broker BT Leased Line packages.

Also, because a leased line is solely for the use of your business, there are security advantages. Your data is less likely to be intercepted in transit, and it’s more reliable if you need to establish VPN connections for remote access.

Business Focus

There are advantages beyond the technology too. Because it’s a business focused product, an Ethernet leased line is a managed connection. This means it’s monitored by the supplier, allowing them to spot any latent issues and get them fixed promptly. It also comes with the reassurance of a service level agreement (SLA) that sets out guaranteed levels of performance and fix times for getting problems resolved.

Of course, there’s a cost to all of this. Leased lines are more expensive and there’s a longer lead time to get one installed. However, for businesses that rely heavily on the web for their day-to-day operation it could be a price worth paying as broadband – even Ultrafast broadband – may prove to be just a bit too restrictive.

If you want to find out which options are best for your business, contact online, or call our team directly on 0808 115 4281 or get in touch online today.

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