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What is a Fibre Connection?

Showing FTTP Wall Outlet alongside original master socket When upgraded to FTTP, what you should expect to have installed is a root and branch fibre optic network, alongside and later replacing the existing copper wires. This is known as FTTP (Fibre To The Premises), although it can also be called Fibre to the Home (FTTH). It is often referred to as a Passive Optical Network.

What this means is that a number of fibre optic cables will be pulled through the existing telephone cable ducts linking us with the exchange via a BT Openreach Cabinet. Each cable is then split up using passive optical splitters and serves up to 32 houses.

Each fibre optic cable is shared - but as the aggregate bandwidth of a single fibre is of the order of 800 Gbits/s, this is unlikely to be a problem.

A fibre optic network is much more reliable than a copper one. It's much faster both in use and in set up time - there is no need for modems to spend several minutes “training” every time the line resets.

The cables should use the existing ducts and enter your house at the same place that your telephone cable comes in.

The photo above shows how this should look. The Optical Termination unit is shown alongside the old master socket. There are three cables attached to the new box. On the right is the fibre cable itself, on the left is the power supply and in the middle is an Ethernet cable that connects to your router. The unit shown is the most recent version. Old installations will have a bigger box.

In most cases, you will keep your existing router - although older ones may need to be replaced. Often, all you will need to do is to disconnect the “broadband cable” - the one with the small RJ11 connector at each end - and replace it with an Ethernet cable (with the bigger RJ45 connector) connecting the Openreach box with a “WAN” Ethernet socket on your router. Your ISP can advise on what you will need to do - and hopefully the installation engineer will connect and test your router for you.

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