Ethernet in the First Mile v Fibre-Optic Leased Lines: How To Choose Between Them

Ethernet in the First Mile connections and Fibre-optic ones each have their own advantages and disadvantages:

Cost - Is Ethernet in the First Mile cheaper than the Fibre-optic Alternative?

It depends heavily on your location. In some areas, Ethernet in the First Mile connections are cheaper than the fibre-optic equivalent. In other areas, EFM will be more expensive than fibre. As a result, it’s always wise to consult an Ethernet in the First Mile / Fibre Leased Line pricing tool which can help you to find the best option available in your area.

Ethernet in the First Mile is usually installed quicker than Fibre

If you’re in a hurry to get your office wired up to a faster internet connection, it might be worth considering Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) circuits as they are often quicker to install than alternatives like fibre-optic leased lines. Ethernet in the First Mile leased lines use copper circuits and wires that are already in the ground. They also use the existing ducts, which means the entire circuit can be wired up to an office much more quickly than a fibre optic leased line. The use of the existing infrastructure reduces the need for civil engineering work, which can add significant costs to your leased line installation. In addition, if there are enough ‘copper pairs’ of wires already in the ground, installation can be speedy – particularly in comparison to installing fibre-optic leased lines.  

Fibre leased lines may offer higher speeds than Ethernet in the First Mile

Fibre leased lines may offer higher speeds than Ethernet in the First Mile

Are there any disadvantages to installing Ethernet in the First Mile leased lines?

There are several drawbacks to opting for Ethernet First Mile instead of a fibre-optic circuit. The relative advantages of Fibre leased lines include:

  • Fibre can usually offer higher connection speeds than are available on Ethernet First Mile connections.
  • Fibre connections are slightly more reliable than Ethernet in the First Mile.
  • Fibre offers lower latency than copper (i.e. an individual 0 or 1 is delayed for fewer miliseconds when being transmitted from A to B)

Reliability - Fibre-optic circuits suffer less signal degradation than EFM copper circuits

The reliability issue is simply down to the fact that Fibre optic cables use light to transmit the data, compared with the copper cables used by Ethernet in the First Mile. The electrical signals passed through the copper cables can become weak the further they are away from the telephone exchange. Faulty electrical devices and phone signals have also been known to interfere with the electrical signals used by Ethernet in the First Mile connections. These aren't the end of the world. Error correcting codes are used to ensure most of the errors caused this way are detected and corrected mathematically.

Fibre can usually offers higher connection speeds than EFM can

With regards to speed, Ethernet in the First Mile connections offer speeds of up to 35Mb/s. This compares with speeds of up to 100Mb/s or even 10,000Mb/s for fibre leased lines.

Choosing between Ethernet in the First Mile and Fibre Optic Alternatives

It’s clear to see that the key when making a decision between Ethernet in the First Mile and fibre-optic connections is to consider your company’s unique needs in terms of the monthly cost, the installation time, and connection speed required. Take a look at our Ethernet in the First Mile pricing tool to establish the very best EFM and Fibre leased line deals in your area.

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