"Fiber-backed" - mean anything specific, or marketing buzz? [telecom]

Windstream, the local telco in this area, has just started running ads about their new "fiber-backed" internet service:

We've just built 100% fiber-backed high speed internet in Lexington

After one of the largest local network upgrades in recent company history, Windstream¹s High-Speed Internet service in Lexington is now 100% backed by fiber technology.

What does fiber tech mean for me?

"Fiber-backed" simply means a reliable high speed internet connection is now closer to you than ever before. Fiber technology sends light pulsing at ultra high speeds over glass fiber strands that can transmit high-quality and massive amounts of information over longer distances. Our Lexington network now fully supports this technology, and the result is an enhanced network that, even during the heaviest online traffic, provides a fast, uninterrupted connection.

I'm pretty sure their DSL customers still have copper running to their homes. They may have added more fiber somewhere in their backbone. "Closer to you than ever before" might mean they've run fiber to the neighborhoods.

Considering that almost any internet service is probably going to involve some fiber somewhere, when is it appropriate to call a service "fiber-backed"? And how much more fiber do you need to be "100% fiber-backed"? Does this statement mean anything specific? Or just that they've buried some more fiber?

Reply to
Matt Simpson
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It means only one thing: you're not getting real "fibre to the desk" service but something cheaper and inferior.


Reply to
Scott Dorsey


Yes, almost every internet link in the end will involve fiber of some kind.

Most likely what they did, like most every other telco is to upgrade their DSLAM network. Old school DSLAMs talked over ATM/SONET type technology. Ie. T1s, DS3s, OC3s.

Many remote DSLAMs out in the field were fed by IMUX bonded T1s, which didn't provide much bandwidth, was usually sufficient in the olden days, but not any longer. But the copper was there, and bonding 8 T1s (usually the max) gave at least 12Mbps down/up to a remote DSLAM. Although larger deployments, especially located in existing fiber huts could have utilized DS3s (45Mbps) or OC3s (155Mbps).

All new DSLAMs talk over Gigabit Ethernet, and for a remote, you'll want that over fiber. So they most likely upgraded their cable plant to get GigE fiber out to all their remote DSLAMs.

Thus, you get "Fiber-To-The-Node" or their term Fiber-Backed. Qwest got into some problems saying All Fiber Internet until they got called on it, so they developed the FTTN term instead.

The last-mile is still copper as you surmise, because that is what DSL is defined to be. And if the prem is 5 miles away from the remote DSLAM, even though it is lit with GigE fiber, you'll still get ~1Mbps or whatever the DSL signalling can eek out of the copper loop.

Since the term "fiber-backed" means absolutely nothing, what do you want it to be deinfed as? :-)

Reply to
Doug McIntyre

You have pretty much nailed it. All of the real backbone of both the internet and the PSTN are fiber. Closer to the customer, virtually all of the remote switches and DSLAMs used in small CO's, and the packet switches that are quickly replacing them, connect to the higher level switches over fiber. There is microwave backhaul in use in very remote areas, such as rural cell towers and very rural CO's, but that is irrelevant to this discussion.

I suppose there could still be some small CO's that connect to higher level switches over copper, but their number is dwindling. Going any real distance over T-Carrier, whether true T1 or the HDSL2 and HDSL4 transport that replaces it, gets expensive. Copper and repeaters require truck rolls to stay working, and skilled techs in those trucks.

Whether their marketing hype is actually based on any real change in their backbone connectivity is anybody's guess. If they really did run fiber out to the neighborhoods, as with u-Verse or HFC CATV, you would certainly know, because then they would be pushing a whole raft of more expensive offerings.

Jim ================================================== Speaking from a secure undisclosed location.

Reply to
Jim Bennett

Matt Simpson wrote in :

It's just marketing, aimed at confusing you when a competitor offers fiber to the home.

Cable "Internet" providers in the Netherlands also like to remind us that most of their network is fiber-based when their competitors threaten to win over customers with fiber to the home.

Koos van den Hout

Reply to
Koos van den Hout

As others have said, "Fiber backed" is mostly a null term these days, because not much DOESN'T have fiber in it somewhere (part of a good telcom diet).

However, it likely means that they've run fiber to DSLAM type devices, and connected (or will connect, if you buy digital services) copper lines in the area to it. This is a good thing - when my neighborhood went green for uverse because of a dslam dropped about a block from my house, I went from 1930s era copper plant, which was unreliable and noisy as hell, to dead quiet lines. I later switched over to uverse and run my landlines on VOIP, and it's been never been this reliable.

So yeah, it's a marketroid term, but that doesn't mean that there haven't been substantial improvements to your telco's network. *

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FWIW rural bits of many countries still use micriwave backhaul

some modern kit still seems to work in SDH chunks of 155 Mbps, but will present some or all of them as Gigabit Ethernet

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