Friday 15 November 2013

Cabinets, wires, and speed.

In the last post I raised two questions that people might have at this point: what is a cabinet? and what will fibre to the cabinet mean to me?

What is a Cabinet?

Stocksfield is served by the telephone exchange next to the Branch End play area. Rather than run copper wires direct from the exchange to every premises, instead a number of roadside cabinets are installed around the exchange area. Each cabinet is connected back to the exchange and individual lines are then run from the cabinet to the premises it serves. This means that the length of the wire that comes into your house is as short as it can be. The problem with the old-fashioned copper wire that our telephone lines work over is that it was never designed for high speed digital broadband. The broadband speed you get is proportional to how far you are from the cabinet.

Cabinets are green roadside boxes and look like this:

or this:

What will Fibre to the Cabinet Mean to Me?

When superfast broadband comes to Stocksfield the new fibre-optic cabling will go to the Branch End exchange first. From there more fibre optic cables will connect the exchange to all the cabinets. It is this fibre optic cable that does all the superfast broadband magic. Fibre optic cables are able to carry much more data and at much faster speeds than old fashioned copper wire. That means that every cabinet will be connected to the telephone network at the new superfast speeds. Finally, your house will be connected to the cabinet with copper wire. 

Because the cabinet is now running at superfast speeds the copper wire to your house will still be able to pass on a lot of the extra speed. The question is, how much?

How Fast is Superfast?

In ideal conditions it is reckoned that the new superfast broadband service will be delivering speeds of up to around 25 or 30 Mbps (mega bits per second). Contrast this with the current up to 8 Mpbs service we currently get.

The speed you eventually get will come down to how fast you are from the cabinet to which you are connected. If you're very close you'll get somewhere near the top of the speed range, if you're farther away you will get a slower service. However, whatever speed it is, it should be faster than you currently get.

In the next post we will look at estimating where your cabinet is.

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