Fibre glossary

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What is a fibre bearer? Plus more fibre connectivity terms explained.

Posted on 8 November 2021 by Beaming Support

At Beaming we’re experts in connectivity and take pride in our team’s ability to translate technical jargon for our customers, so if you’ve come across a term you don’t yet understand, look it up in our fibre glossary and we’ll explain.

You may just be starting to think about installing fibre optic connectivity to your business and want to understand why bandwidth seems to be so important, or perhaps you’re part way through the process and have questions about Excess Construction Charges? Maybe you’re wondering why your fibre is provided on a 1Gbps bearer but peaks at 100Mbps speeds? Our fibre glossary will help you understand.

 

Fibre optic 

Fibre optic refers to a type of cable used in networking. It’s a very thin tube of glass through which data can be beamed at the speed of light, so it’s great for providing very high-speed connectivity. It is encased in layers of protection before being placed in the ground or overhead cables to avoid damage.

Leased line 

A leased line, sometimes known as a fibre leased line, Ethernet fibre, dedicated leased line or simply “fibre” is a type of fibre optic connectivity usually used by businesses and other organisations that need a very fast (Up to 10Gbps) dedicated connection and/or send and receive large amounts of data. Read more about leased lines.

Broadband

Not all broadband uses fibre optic technology, but the “superfast” and “ultrafast” packages you’ll have seen advertised do, in differing ways that results in differing internet speeds. Find out about the difference between superfast and ultrafast broadband packages.

Bandwidth

This is the maximum amount of data that can be transferred from one point to another in a specific amount of time. You’ll usually see this expressed in kilobits per second (Kbps), megabits per second (Mbps) and gigabits per second (Gbps), and though not technically accurate, it’s often referred to as the connection speed.

SLA – Service Level Agreement.

This sets out what happens in the case of a fault with your internet connection and how long it should take to be fixed. A leased line fibre connection should come with the most robust SLAs.

IP transit

IP transit is the movement of data (traffic) through a network. IP transit providers link – or peer – together to form the global network that is the internet. The number and quality of IP transit providers your internet service provider peers with, has an effect on the quality, reliability and speed of your connection.

Point-to-point

A point-to-point fibre connection links two locations with very high-speed, dedicated connectivity, and does not break out to the internet. More reading: What’s the difference between point-to-point and internet fibre?

Fibre bearer

The bearer is essentially the peak capacity of the fibre optic cable and associated equipment. The bearer size is not necessarily the same as the speed of your connection; you may choose to install a larger bearer than required at that moment, to allow your ISP to increase the bandwidth of your fibre remotely in the future, without any additional physical engineering. A 100Mbps connection delivered over a 1Gbps bearer will have a higher monthly rental than a 100Mbps connection delivered over a 100Mbps bearer.

Termination point

The termination point is the point at which your fibre connection enters the building. If you need extra resilient backup for your connectivity you may choose to have two connections coming into your premises with different termination points, in case one is damaged.

Contention

Refers to the number of users sharing a connection at any given time. Broadband connections are contended, so the data of multiple users zooms down the same “pipe” to the local exchange (the number of users is decided by the provider), while fibre leased lines, a s a dedicated connection, are uncontended. You can learn more about contention here.

Diverse routing

Used to ensure that a business or organisation has the lowest possible risk of being left without connectivity, diversely routed fibre uses multiple fibre cables and terminating equipment to help make sure that if one connection goes down, a failover solution is available.

ECCs

Excess Construction Charges (ECCs) may be applicable when you’re installing new infrastructure to bring fibre connectivity to your premises, but in many cases installing fibre can be done at minimal cost, or even for free.

IP address

Your public IP address is the unique address used to locate your business on the internet, and while you may (or may not!) notice that your IP address at home changes every so often, for business you’ll need this address to remain fixed, or static. Being a business product, a fibre leased line will, as a rule, come with a static IP address provided by your ISP.

Fibre node

A fibre node is a distribution point on the route where large numbers of fibre cables separate off and make their way to premises.

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