EoFTTC vs Leased Line - The Key Differences Explained

Looking to make a comparison of EoFTTC vs Leased Line circuits? Here are the key differences.

Leased Lines offer higher maximum speeds than EoFTTC

EoFTTC (Ethernet over Fibre To The Cabinet) offers guaranteed speeds up 'up to 20mbps' upstream and downstream, with 'best efforts' attempts to top up the downstream speed with up to 60Mbps more.

Leased Lines, in contrast could offer 'up to 10,000Mbps' in most areas of the UK, upstream and downstream, if you had the budget.

EoFTTC uses copper wiring (and VDSL) to carry the signal for part of its journey. Most leased lines use fibre-optic cables for the whole journey

Most leased lines are provided with fibre-optic cabling going all the way from your site to your ISP's core network. EoFTTC, in contrast, is provided using copper wiring from your site to the nearest cabinet. There, the electrical signal is converted into optical signals that pass through fibre-optic cables until they reach your ISP's core network.

A minority of low-bandwidth leased lines use copper wiring too instead of fibre-optic cabling. They send signals over 2, 4, 6 or 8 pairs of copper wire, in order to send up to 35Mbps of traffic. This is known as Ethernet First Mile (EFM) over copper.

Leased Lines only offer dedicated bandwidth. EoFTTC tends to offer a mix of dedicated bandwidth and non-dedicated bandwidth

If you get a 100Mbps leased line, you get a 100Mbps connection downstream and a 100Mbps connection upstream, at all times.

If you get an EoFTTC circuit, you might typically get 20Mbps upstream and downstream at all times, and depending on your provider you may get up to a further 60Mbps downstream on a 'best efforts' basis.

EoFTTC will probably be quicker to install than a standard leased line

That's because it piggybacks on the pre-existing telecoms infrastructure, i.e. the nearby cabinet probably already exists, it probably already has fibre-optic cabling going into it, and spare backhaul capacity from there. There is likely to be spare space in the cabinet for adding another phone line (for the EoFTTC circuit). There are likely to be ducts and telephone polls linking that cabinet to the address that wants the EoFTTC connection.

EoFTTC is subject to greater signal degradation than a typical fibre-based leased line

Flashing Christmas tree lights won't impact a fibre leased-line, but they could impact your EoFTTC connection. That's because FTTC works by sending data through wires using VDSL. Unfortunately, nearby electrical circuits and radio signals can cause Electromagnetic Interference. FTTC connections (and EoFTTC connections) have some error correction, so this isn't typically isn't noticable unless the elctromagnetic interference is higher than usual.

Lots of things can cause electromagnetic interference, including power adapters, microwave ovens, cordless phones, computers and TVs.

Leased line connection speeds are more predictable

If you order a 100Mbps leased line, it's pretty much certain you'll get a connection that connects at 100Mbps. If you order an EoFTTC circuit, it's less clear upfront whether you'll be able to be sure of getting your 20Mbps.

If you've ordered 'up to 80mbps' FTTC and found you could only get, say, 60Mbps downstream and 15Mbps upstream, EoFTTC isn't going to boost that to 20Mbps upstream, because the only real change locally is a contractual one - with your ISP paying to guarantee some backhaul capacity from your local cabinet to their network. If the physical infrastructure between you and that cabinet can't deliver 20Mbps upstream, swapping FTTC for EoFTTC isn't going to change that. You'll just be reserving upstream capacity you can't use (and downstram capacity you probably can).

The target 'fix' time on EoFTTC circuits tend to be longer than that of fibre leased lines

In other words, if your EoFTTC goes down, you may be waiting longer for it to be fixed than if you'd ordered a fibre leased line.

This may also be reflected in your service's Service Level Agreement 'availability' guarantee, i.e. lower availability may be promised for EoFTTC than for a fibre leased line.

What EoFTTC is good for

EoFTTC is great if you need more bandwidth and have left it too late to order a low-bandwidth leased line. If you have the luxury of time, you would probably be better off ignoring EoFTTC and going straight for a fibre-based leased line instead. And we say that as a supplier that offers EoFTTC connections (in addition to fibre leased lines).

Bear in mind that your office's bandwidth use is only likely to grow. EoFTTC doesn't have much headroom to support that growth. 20Mbps isn't a large amount of bandwidth.

EoFTTC's future

BT has indicated plans to kill off ISDN in 2025, along with the traditional phone network (the PSTN). So firms that currently have ISDN30 circuits (which deliver slightly more than 2Mbps of bandwidth) will be looking for an alternative connection option.

Many smaller SMEs will retire their on-site PBX, replacing it with a cloud-based PBX subscription service. Their phones will access that PBX via broadband, EFM over copper, EoFTTC or fibre leased lines.

Larger firms will likely to decide to still have a PBX, even after ISDN is no longer available. They'll almost certainly switch to using SIP Trunking. Many have already done so. Those SIP trunks will be sent over a data connection. EFM over copper, EoFTTC and fibre leased lines are the most likely options for creating that connection.

However, with politicians falling over themselves to promise ever-faster ever-wider fibre broadband rollouts, FTTC is likely to be gradually replaced with FTTP, and as that happens EoFTTC will gradually become irrelevant, as will EFM over copper.

If you'd like to check whether a fibre leased line is available at your site, please fill in the pricing request tool at the top of this page. If we ask for your contact details, it means the answer is yes. Leased lines are more widely available than many people realise.