Shared or dedicated fiber: what are the differences for a company?

The Internet has become indispensable to many companies. Many of them rely on reliable and efficient internet access for their business. However, there are different technologies available to provide the connectivity best suited to the needs of each organisation: 4G, VDSL, fiber, etc. Each solution has its own advantages and specificities. Depending on its real needs, a company will choose fibre over ADSL for example.

In this article, we will focus on fiber, whether it is dedicated or shared!

Some figures to start with. In the EU-27 (+UK), 43.8% of homes and buildings were connected to the Internet via fiber in 2020 (compared to 39.4% in 2019). In Belgium, these connections represent only 1.3% of homes and offices; in Germany 4.9%, and up to 35% for France and over 60% for Spain! If some countries have switched to fiber before us, it is mainly because their copper network, through which our VDSL runs, was not as developed as ours. However, in 2020, Belgium recorded the strongest growth (+155%) in FTTH connections for the second year running. Source: FTTH Council Europe

Fiber optics has indeed become Proximus' priority, as it intends to connect all of Brussels to fiber by 2026. Accelerated deployment is also planned for the rest of Belgium, with 300,000 homes in 2021, and up to 600,000 per year from 2022 onwards, to reach 4.2 million Belgian homes and businesses connected to fiber by the end of 2028!

Fiber, also known as very high speed, is one of the technologies that is becoming more widespread in companies and on which major efforts will be made in the coming years.


So, yes, fiber seems to be a good choice, but you still need to know which one to choose! And to make the right choice, you need to have all the information at hand. Their specificities, their differences... You will soon know which solution is the most suitable for your company.


All fiber offers give you access to very high speed broadband. This is a fact. The second thing to remember about very high speed broadband is that both technologies - shared and dedicated - are fiber optic media. But there are necessarily differences between shared and dedicatedfiber. These differences are based on the way in which the flows transit and on the services associated with each of the two options.


Shared fiber, or FTTH


The appeal of fiber is growing all the time. But what is FTTH? What are the advantages of this technology?


Definition of shared fiber

FTTH stands for Fiber To The Home. This technology is commonly referred to as shared fiber. This is generally the solution that is recommended for professionals whose connectivity needs are not critical and therefore do not require a guarantee of speed or recovery time.

With fiber, which is shared in this case, users benefit from much higher connection speeds than with technologies using copper cables. Want to know more?


Speed that varies according to network occupancy

So let's start with shared fiber. As the name suggests, with this technology you share your line with other organisations (companies, shops, etc). This does not mean that your connection is bad. You get a good internet speed, but it is an asymmetric speed, fluctuating according to whether you are uploading or downloading, and at peak, the speed you get is variable according to the traffic on the shared local loop. In other words, the performance of your fiber is linked to the congestion of the network. The speed changes according to how busy the network is at the time you use it.


What installation is required to benefit from FTTH?

In the context of a FTTH installation, the same physical medium 'optical fiber' is shared by several users between the OFP (Optimized Fiber Point) and the NRO (optical connection node).


The advantages of FTTH for a company

If we had to make a comparison to talk about shared fiber, it could be said that FTTH is to fibre what ADSL is to copper: a large public Internet access solution, with a shared, non-guaranteed speed, and an inexpensive subscription (generally a few ten euros per month).


The company connected to the Internet via a shared fiber will be able to :

◾️ Access business software hosted in the cloud

◾️ Take advantage of hosted telephony services

◾️ Offer wifi to visitors without disrupting employees' activities

◾️ Download visuals in HD


Dedicated fiber, or FTTO


Definition of dedicated fiber

FTTO stands for Fiber To The office. This is also known as dedicated fiber. With this solution, Internet access is reserved solely for the client company. Unlike FTTH offers, FTTO offers are reserved for companies.


A fiber dedicated to your business

What about dedicated fiber? With this solution, the line is used only by you. Its main advantage is that it allows a guaranteed symmetrical upstream and downstream speed. This promotes a better quality of service. This solution is often chosen by companies that need to exchange large files, organise regular video conferences or whose employees often work remotely. 


What installation is required to benefit from FTTO?


This technology allows a point-to-point link to be deployed from the operator's optical connection node to a company's premises.

Why choose FTTO for a company?

Shared fiber has advantages that enable many businesses to meet their daily connection needs. However, businesses often have more important needs in terms of performance and reliability. For example, some sites require continuity of service or assurance of speed and performance for their business applications. It is a more robust technology in terms of speed and guaranteed recovery, but also more expensive than FTTH.


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