Internet technologies: differences explained between ADSL, VDSL, FTTB, and FTTH. I agree it is sometimes very difficult to navigate through this jungle of different internet access technologies offered on the market by telecom operators. Some only have access to one technology at home, in which case the problem is quickly solved! And it is often ADSL if this is the case. On the other hand, as soon as you are eligible for different Internet access technologies, problems of understanding can quickly arise. And I understand!
ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+, VDSL, VDSL2, FTTB, FTTH, FTTLA, fiber optics, coaxial cable… Do you have a headache just reading these different acronyms? It’s normal… All these technologies allow you to access the internet at home but are nevertheless very different from each other. We explain these differences to you in this article. Follow the leader!
ADSL technology and its derivatives:
ADSL is the internet access technology that gave French people access to fixed broadband for the first time. At the time, we called broadband all internet connections that provided a speed of more than 512 kb / s. A little outdated today but it was already huge for the time. Remember your good old low-speed modem which offered 56 Kb/s of connection speed!
In short, ADSL arrived in French homes a little before the 2000s and allowed without having to change the cables in the houses to bring broadband, on the classic telephone line via the copper wire network of France Telecom. . It was still necessary to equip yourself with a high-speed modem, sold by the operators of the time.
Today, ADSL has evolved and operators offer improved versions of this technology: ADSL2+, which provides connections up to 28 Mb/s. If necessary, sites such as mezabo.fr allow you to compare ADSL internet offers from all operators.
VDSL: the big brother of ADSL which also uses copper
In recent years, telecom operators have been deploying a technology very similar to ADSL: VDSL. This makes it possible to reach speeds of up to 100 mb/s without changing the network. Thus, the good old copper network and your telephone socket of yesteryear are enough to bring you such speed.
However, you must be located less than 1 km from the distributor of your city or district to be able to take advantage of it, because the attenuation of the speeds on the copper networks increases as the distance increases.
Some operators do not offer VDSL to their customers. For information, Free was the first in France to successfully experiment with this development of the copper network. Many of its competitors then followed suit. Indeed, VDSL makes it possible to provide very high speed without investing in the deployment of a new fixed network. A boon!
FTTB or FTTLa (coaxial cable): very high speed brought to French households!
A technology widely deployed at the time by Numéricable and still used by SFR today, FTTB or FTTLa makes it possible to reach speeds of up to 1 Gb/s in optimal conditions without having an optical socket at home…
The optical fiber is drawn to the bottom of the building or to the last distributor in the district, and the connection to the home is made using a coaxial cable.
It is a stable technology and allows good speeds to be achieved, but it is starting to reach its limits. As proof, Bouygues Télécom no longer offers it to its customers and SFR is starting to get out of it by massively deploying an end-to-end fiber-optic network.
FTTH: end-to-end optical fiber
Finally, to end this comparison of the different internet access technologies: here is fiber optics. The acronym FTTH stands for Fiber To The Home. In good French, this literally means optical fiber into the home. Thus, telecom operators pull kilometers of fiber throughout France to connect one by one all the homes of French people and install an optical socket inside the dwelling. This allows you to have a fiber optic internet connection directly in your home, which allows you to reach speeds of up to 10 Gb/s. In the future and without changing the cable, the speeds could even go up to 1 Tb/s for each dwelling! FTTH is a technology that adapts to changes and is very promising, but it is very expensive to deploy.
Fortunately for us consumers, internet operators do not charge more for access to their fiber optic offers. Because in fact, even if the cost of deployment is very high, they save on the rental of the copper network which belongs entirely to Orange (formerly France Telecom). To give you an idea of the magnitude, Free could pay Orange between €7 and €10 per month to rent the copper network for each ADSL subscriber: a real money pit!