Before we answer that question, lets take a look at the Ethernet portion.
What is Ethernet?
Ethernet is rapidly becoming the standard protocol and interface used for local area (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN). Traditionally Lease Lines, WES and WEES circuits have been used, however, we are now seeing Ethernet replace these circuits.
Ethernet is able to deliver uncontended, symmetrical, high speed bandwidth to the internet or site to site. Ethernet can be delivered over copper or fibre and is able to provide flexible bandwidth from 2Mb to 1Gb.
Ethernet has complete UK coverage and utilizes lower cost customer premises equipment than that of the traditional X21 equipment used with Lease Lines.
What is Ethernet In The First Mile (EFM)?
Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) is a nickname that has been given to an amendment of the Ethernet Standard (IEEE Std 802.3ah-2004) This amendment specifies “Media Access Control Parameters, Physical Layers, and Management Parameters for Subscriber Access Networks”.
The EFM standard was approved by the IEEE Standards Board in June 2004 before it was published on an official basis in September 2004.
The ‘First Mile’ refers to the communication network that links the customer premises equipment to the last provider-owned node (street cabinet, pole or office) . This is also referred to by providers as ‘The Last Mile’.
What EFM does is provide a set of specifications that allows users to run the Ethernet Protocol over media which was previously unsupported, this can include single pairs of telephone wiring (Copper) and SMF (single-mode fibre)
EFM is therefore suited to subscriber access networks, networks which connect subscribers to their service providers.
What Does This Mean?
EFM uses regular copper pairs making it relatively simple to connect your premises to the exchange. the chief difference is that the pairs used for EFM do not carry analogue telephone signals. EFM can use more than one pair allowing for the delivery of greater bandwidth (2mb to 10mb). How many pairs you would actually need will depend on several factors including the distance you are from the exchange. Ideally, premises should be located within 4.5km of an EFM enabled exchange.
Provisioning of EFM is usually takes far less time than that of fibre based ethernet as you would expect far less in the way of cable laying (the copper is hopefully, already there!) Typically lead times are 25 working days.
Mark Stapleton, BT Wholesale’s General Manager – Next Generation Data Products, comments: “It means Communications Providers and resellers can offer their SME customers more Ethernet choice at an economic price. EFM is an ideal option for businesses that are looking to run multiple applications from their sites such as VoIP and video conferencing or anti-spam, anti-fraud software services and hosted applications as well as the usual data transfer and broadband connections.”
Mark adds: “We recognise that in today’s mixed economy where SMEs may want to chose anything from between 2Mbit/s to speeds of 40Mbit/s plus, resellers need to be able to offer their customers a “pick ‘n’ mix” approach. The new EFM option extends the capabilities of BT Wholesale Ethernet to make this easy. Together they give our customers the flexibility to focus on acquiring and retaining their customers while enjoying the most cost-effective and flexible Ethernet solution possible for their fast-growing bandwidth-hungry apps and high-definition content.”
Can I Get EFM?
The short answer is that we need to check! The best way to find out is to Contact Sys3 with your postcode and let us carry this out for you. We can then provide a firm quotation for your bandwidth requirements.