Fibre-optic broadband explained

Unlike the majority of broadband connections in Ireland, which use telephone lines or mobile networks, fibre-optic broadband is transferred along special cables underground. The signals move a lot faster than they do along copper cables and offers speeds of up to 1000Mb.

In Ireland the fibre-optic service is not available everywhere, and is mostly on offer in urban areas.

Fibre-optic speeds

You can expect speeds of up to 50Mb with a regular fibre-optic connection. The fibre-optic lines runs from the provider to the junction box outside your house, at which point regular copper cables run it inside your house.

If you are lucky enough to have an FTTH (fibre to the home) connection, the fibre-optic cables run all the way into your house and provides much faster speeds of up to 1000Mb.

What does 50Mb broadband mean to the user?

At 50Mbps, you can:

  • Download a 100MB album in 16 seconds
  • Download a 10GB BluRay movie in 27 minutes
  • Stream HD video straight to your computer without buffering
  • Host multiplayer games with dozens of players
  • Download games in under 2 minutes

Types of fibre-optic connection

The speed of your fibre-optic broadband connection can vary between 50Mb and 1000Mb.

The types of fibre available are:

  • FTTH (fibre to the home) – Fibre-optic cables run all the way to the outside of your house. This is the quickest service, but is not widely available.
  • FTTB (fibre to the building/basement) – Fibre-optic cables run all the way to your premises. If you are a flat in a large building, the fibre terminates at the building, rather than your individual living space.
  • FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) – Fibre-optic cables run all the way to the cabinet in the street, which can be up to 300m away. This is the most common connection.
  • FTTN (fibre to the node) – Roughly the same as above, only the street cabinet can be further away (up to several kilometres away) with the rest of the distance to your house being covered by regular copper wiring.