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Standard User Livebox
(regular) Thu 02-Oct-14 20:28:38
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Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


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Hi Guys,

I am moving house in Stevenage, which has access to both Virgin Media Cable broadband, and FTTC services (aswell as traditional ADSL).

The FTTC speeds promised by FTTC providers are around 72mbps. Wiith cable, the promised speeds are up to 152mbps depending on the package you buy.

I am currently with Virgin media on 120mbps broadband, and find that at peak times the average speed for downloading a large file is about 16mbps. The download rate at times can go down to 100kbps or so. Only late at night/early morning do the speeds consistently reach 120mbps.

Cable broadband from Virgin Media at 100mbps ends up being about £5-£10 more expensive per month than the "up to" 76mbps from Fibre providers. My question is which is likely to give me better available bandwidth at peak times? I believe Virgin media oversell their speeds quite a bit (as can be seen from my test).

Thanks,

Livebox
Standard User Zarjaz
(knowledge is power) Fri 03-Oct-14 21:41:29
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: Livebox] [link to this post]
 
Hi there, only my opinion but ...

my girlfriend has Virgin cable, and I see that fluctuates wildly speed wise. I sync around 72 meg, and can pull 64/65 meg all day long on FTTC.

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/results.html...

That'll do it for me. smile

Standard User 5km
(knowledge is power) Fri 03-Oct-14 23:27:58
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: Livebox] [link to this post]
 
With VM every street is different. Some can be congested others may not be.

With BT/FTTC it is the line that is important, i.e. loss and therefore the connection speed. It is far less likely that FTTC will be oversubscribed... partly due to not being available for a long. Heavy users would have signed up to VM (where available) before FTTC became available and have not yet switched through choice or contract.

Also the upload on FTTC is impressive ... ~20Mbps!

Lowest speedtest reported by my samknows white box last month was 60.83Mps and average was 73.65Mbps. I'm on Sky Fibre Pro.

Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro:- Speed Test | TBB Ping
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Standard User noppix1
(learned) Sat 04-Oct-14 02:23:16
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: Zarjaz] [link to this post]
 
I was on VM for over 10 years (when it was also telewest) but the network went to sh!t over the last 3 years to the point a youtube video would not load. I moved to FTTC and I get 75/18 at around 200m from the cab. I`m happy with BT, no caps but there customer services are pants. I hate VM so much after all this [censored] that I moved to sky for tv and bt for internet and phone. The main problem I find with VM is when a cab goes down all of the services get wiped out(and they go down a lot around here). the other situation i find is that during long power outages the bt line stays up longer than the vm feed did and the sky feed is rained from the sky so I can power my units and still enjoy TV and BB for some time.
EDIT I have not yet tried to use backup power on a FTTC line and in my mind it would not work due to the fiber node being so local and on the local power grid as the cabs don`t look fat enough to house a UPS but i could be wrong.

Edited by noppix1 (Sat 04-Oct-14 02:37:39)

Standard User noppix1
(regular) Sat 04-Oct-14 02:45:27
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: Livebox] [link to this post]
 
All I would say is do some research and see if a FTTC line will work for you, there is loads of info on this site on how to research the info and don`t just speculate that it will all be fine. My mother gets better speeds on ASDL than she would on fiber due to the cab distance and line condition. FTTC is so much better for me than VM but if I could only get ADSL then I would put up with VM.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Sat 04-Oct-14 08:22:12
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: noppix1] [link to this post]
 
They have battery backup hence size giving a few hours life and option to swap batteries to keep it going. Though suspect that would only happen if a high SLA business had a line

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User pcoventry76
(knowledge is power) Sun 05-Oct-14 00:55:21
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: Livebox] [link to this post]
 
I currently have both but my FTTC is getting slower and slower so I am dumping it in favour of another VM line. I am lucky my area seems very little slowdown although I don't cain it however I do run them both together bonded so it's shared amongst them.

It does depend on the area. I could pull 74mbps all day every day and now I can pull 46 in another area.

I pay full price for both services

edit.. I started off on 53mbps and this is what I get not 3 months in - hence why FTTC in my area is a waste of time.

http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3809147726

Edited by pcoventry76 (Sun 05-Oct-14 00:56:40)

Standard User noppix1
(regular) Sun 05-Oct-14 01:55:44
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Yeah I would very much doubt they would go around changing deep cycle batteries unless the line is for a critical reason use. Andrew do you have any inside information on the cab hardware (i.e the size of the batteries used (Amp hours (and inverters if any))).
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Sun 05-Oct-14 09:11:17
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: noppix1] [link to this post]
 
Meant to last 4 hours on a full cabinet but given most houses have no power would be longer

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User trolleybus
(committed) Sun 05-Oct-14 09:30:53
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: pcoventry76] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by pcoventry76:
I currently have both but my FTTC is getting slower and slower so I am dumping it in favour of another VM line. I am lucky my area seems very little slowdown although I don't cain it however I do run them both together bonded so it's shared amongst them.

It does depend on the area. I could pull 74mbps all day every day and now I can pull 46 in another area.

I pay full price for both services

edit.. I started off on 53mbps and this is what I get not 3 months in - hence why FTTC in my area is a waste of time.

http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3809147726


Both services in the same premises? If so, your chances of getting a second VM are slim if not impossible.

On the FTTC front, moving away from PlusNet and a change of router might possibly see improved speeds but in any event you won't be getting anywhere near the up speed enjoyed at present using FTTC with a move to VM.
Standard User trolleybus
(committed) Sun 05-Oct-14 09:49:48
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: noppix1] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by noppix1:
Yeah I would very much doubt they would go around changing deep cycle batteries unless the line is for a critical reason use. Andrew do you have any inside information on the cab hardware (i.e the size of the batteries used (Amp hours (and inverters if any))).


Last Christmas I had an area wide four day power failure, very quickly in that saga the FTTC service went down followed shortly afterwards with no mobile service as well. Being a VoIP user. I had no phones either except for bringing into to service a "simple" corded phone connected to the line used for broadband.

I thought it might of been possible to have a broadband dial up service from the laptop using an external modem I had, but couldn't think how to achieve that.

Maybe in my lifetime FTTH will become available but that incident highlights the importance of always having a phone line for those little emergencies.
Standard User Carbis
(newbie) Sun 05-Oct-14 10:01:32
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: noppix1] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by noppix1:
Yeah I would very much doubt they would go around changing deep cycle batteries unless the line is for a critical reason use. Andrew do you have any inside information on the cab hardware (i.e the size of the batteries used (Amp hours (and inverters if any))).

We had a local power fault and Open Reach came and replaced our nearly discharged batteries with a set of fully charged ones from a local cabinet (where there was not a power supply fault) to extend the operating time. Most impressed!
So they have a 'plan' for isolated power faults.
Standard User Ribble
(fountain of knowledge) Sun 05-Oct-14 10:59:30
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: noppix1] [link to this post]
 
They'll last upto 12 hours depending on the cabinet load, the state of charge can be remotely monitored. In the event of a loss of mains supply openreach will keep changing out the batteries regularly or deploy a mobile trailer to provide longer run times.

Edited by Ribble (Sun 05-Oct-14 11:00:38)

Standard User Livebox
(regular) Sun 05-Oct-14 18:04:58
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: Ribble] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the info guys, I am going to research what predicted speeds I may get with FTTC and go with that unless the predicted speeds are very low (but it is a built up area so unlikely). As I don't know anyone on the same street I won't be able to predict VM levels of traffic anyway.

Also interesting to hear that the FTTC cabinets have batteries to keep things going, but how many people have a UPS at home??
Standard User samsonite2014
(newbie) Wed 19-Nov-14 09:23:15
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: Livebox] [link to this post]
 
I am sure it has been said many times, but there is no general answer on which is better per se, it is almost entirely down to the street or even property. In fact at the street level, V Media will be consistent - e.g. houses on that street will most likely get the same speeds and also they either will or will not be affected by peak time utilisation. If you can find out from someone on a particular street what peak speeds they get then you will have a good idea. BT/Openreach infrastructure is a different story due to the use of phone lines - a next door neighbour could have wildly different speeds due to the "last mile" connection, whereas VM/cable is simpler in that there is a "spine" down the road with coax cables coming off for each property.

Both networks have compromises so it depends on your needs too. It's partly down to the "unknown" details, which are very hard to find out if not impossible in some cases:

Virgin Media: With VM you will almost certainly get the maximum speed advertised, but the question is whether your street has utilisation issues. If you worked from home, then you will most likely enjoy full speed during the day regardless of utilisation issues. If you only use your internet connection in the evening, then utilisation issues are a much bigger deal.

BT/Openreach: the compromise here is different and more permanent in a way - you will not really know your max speed until you have it up and running. Utilisation issues are not so apparent, but actually what happens is that as more people get connected in your area, your max speed generally goes down.

For some perspective, I myself did run both BT Infinity 2 and Virgin, but started on BT and recently quit and kept Virgin.

My BT Infinity 2 experience was: You should get in the region of 76Mb/s - great. Installed, get 60Mb/s so that's a disappointment. Oh well have to live with it or look at something else. Over 2 years, max speed dropped to 35Mb/s - this was apparently due to "utilisation", more people being added to the network. Upload speeds were 5-6Mb/s which is not great considering that Infinity is potentially better for upload speeds that anyone else...

VM experience has been: Got told I could get 152Mb/s. Speed test on installation day was 157Mb/s. After a few months, speed tests were (and still are) 160+ Mb/s. Upload speeds are 12Mb/s 24/7. Compromises? I did have utilisation issues during peak times - my connection would sometimes drop below 100Mb/s however this has never affected anything and let's face it, is still faster than Infinity. They seem to have resolved the utilisation issues as I know get 150-160 Mb/s during peak times.

What a ramble - but there is no avoiding the fact that you need to know more about the real story of broadband on a particular street or property...
Standard User Livebox
(regular) Thu 27-Nov-14 20:37:38
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Re: Comparison between Cable and FTTC Speeds


[re: samsonite2014] [link to this post]
 
I opted for Virgin Media in the end, mostly as the box was already on the wall, and there was a very old adsl router plugged into the BT socket - suggesting to me that fibre would have taken longer to install.

I find very little congestion at peak times - but I did only opt for the 50mb download. Currently only 3mb upload is included which is not great, apparently increasing to 5 in the future. If you do website related work then this would probably be disappointing.
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