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Which LuxFiber variant is best for me?

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The FTTH/VDSL service is now available for half a year, but it is still difficult to get complete and correct information about the real setup costs and the eventual down sides of a FTTH connection.

I have been following several LuxFiber related threads on different Social Networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc) and people seem frustrated by the level of information they can get from the ISP’s sales helpdesk personnel.

Can I have FTTH (fibre) or VDSL (copper)?

Most ISPs do provide an online eligibility test, when you can only get the 30Mb/s variant than your connection will be VDSL over Copper.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of a fibre connection?

A fibre connection has quite a few option due to the physics of the fibre. Very low signal attenuation usually results in the availability of the subscribed bandwidth at all times, very low latency, extremely low jitter and packet loss.

On the other side the “optical network termination” (ONT) (the device converting the optical signal into Ethernet) is always installed within a few meters of the end of the EPT fibre cable. In older buildings this usually happened in the basement, far far away from the place where you had installed your DSL modem before. This usually means 2 things:

  • you install the Fritz!Box in the basement near the ONT and you risk having almost no WiFi and DECT coverage, or
  • you use the current telephone copper cable from the basement to the place you want to install the Fritz!Box, this also limits you to 10Mb/s as these telephone cables are most often Category 3 cables at best, or
  • you exchange the copper telephone/Category 3 cable against a Category 5e or 6 shielded twisted pair cable.

Of course the last option will incur more costs. I’m also unaware of EPT extending their fiber cable during the installation of LuxFiber.

In recent buildings, more and more often a direct fibre connection from the basement to your apartment is pre-installed, so the above issues become irrelevant.

As you see in some cases it’s a good idea to stick with the VDSL over copper variant (max 30Mb/s) until you’re ready to invest into re-cabling parts of your house/apartment.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of a copper connection?

As described before, the copper connection has some advantages concerning in-house cabling. However the physics of the copper cable provide for some disadvantages like:

  • much higher attenuation (compared to fibre)
  • signal interference with frequencies on another copper cable or from the air (radio and TV broadcast, DVB-C, mobile, etc)
  • asymmetric bandwidth
  • higher latency and jitter
  • the maximum bandwidth decreases rapidly with distance of your home from the central office (or intermediate distribution point)

Depending on the situation, the question might not be for the best technology, but for the right technology for the job.

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