FTTH and core networks

Now that we have Riba Roja deployment operational, it is time to test the service and tweak it for optimal performance. It is quite impressive to have a GbE connection to the Internet but unfortunately the speed that you get in these circumstances is not limited by your pipe but by the server you connect and the hops in between source and destination.

Let me explain.

We tested the service connecting my laptop to a FTTH port with 10M symmetric service and we tried to connect to several destinations using speedtest servers. I expect this is what users will do at first when they get the service, so it is important to check that everything works fine.

The results are as follows: direct connection to Barcelona and Lleida worked perfectly, 10M symmetric without any problem. Well, to be precise around 12M because we are following ONO policy of offering more than the contracted speed. However, unlike ONO, we have fiber all the way to the end user.

In Spain, no problem. 10M symmetric are achievable. Problems start when trying to connect to servers located in the US or Japan. Connecting to US, which will be quite common, showed 3M symmetric and to Japan 3M down / 2M up. This means that when downloading big files, unless there is an intermediate proxy, the limitation will not be in the access, but in the core network.

This is an effect that will increasingly happen as fiber becomes more popular in the access. I remember that while I was preparing my PhD I asked to a fiber guru what would happen with the aggregation networks when everybody would have 100M symmetric because then, the required bandwidth in the core would be enormous. His answer was quite diffuse.

The reality is that we hope (if we deploy FTTH in more places) to move the bottleneck from the access to the core network and this means that big telcos should start thinking about upgrading their core infrastructures.

Maybe this is why they do not want to go FTTH. If they do, they would not only have to invest in access but also in the core.

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One thought on “FTTH and core networks

  1. I can highly recommend the DD-WRT, OpenWRT or Tomato Firmware running on a supported residential device (firewall/router). With this firmware you can see your actual bandwidth in real time, 24 X 7 X 365. Here in the USA, 100% of Cable companies throttle service to way below the American FCC definition (768Kbps) for broadband.

    I know, its 2010 and our definition for broadband is only 768Kbps, not even synchronous service with no minimum guarantee. And other countries have had 100Mb/100Mb since 2000 and 1Gbps/1Gbps since 2006. We are way behind most of the world with Internet bandwidth.

    In my experience, the cable provider marketed 20MB (down) and 2Mb (up), however my DD-WRT enabled firewall/router shows that they throttle the bandwidth to below 100Kbps/30Kbps over 80% of the time. Thus for many consumers in the USA a DSL service offering 1.5Mb/384Kbs is in reality well over 3 X faster than cable.

    You run a Speed test, similar to what you mentioned in your article and you will see the marketing guarantees always. Occasionally you will see more downstream, but never more than that 2Mbps upstream. As soon as the Speed test finishes, the DD-WRT firmware shows you that your service is immediately throttled. So Speed test must not be relied upon for sustained levels, only that your connection is possible of reaching those levels for the duration of the speed test.

    I have put a Google Map showing the only providers in the USA that provide bi-synchronous FTTH Internet Access, currently there are less than 30 cities by 5 providers offering FTTH Internet.

    If you are going to relocate your family or business to the USA, here are the best cities for FTTH access: http://sn.im/1axal4

    Hopefully by the time Google launches their Go Big With a Gig service this next year, 2011, there will be more providers offering decent broadband to American consumers.

    Sadly this is not true today at least for Americans. I would love to have 12Mb/12Mb as quoted in the article.

    One thing is for sure, my next home purchase will be my 4th and I will not purchase it without Fiber To The Home (FTTH) Internet, net neutral, bi-synchronous, UN-throttled service. This is quickly becoming the #1 home buying issue for many Americans, above schools, crime and more.

    We see the future, the future is FTTH!

    You wrote a great article, thanks for sharing!

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