Ethernet First Mile (EFM) Facts February 2024
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If you think that leased lines seem confusing, then just wait until you hear about Ethernet in the first mile (EFM). You’re in for a real treat. We’ve heard people say that Ethernet First Mile is the most complex product for businesses wanting to improve their internet connectivity, but we think that isn’t true, to be honest. In fact, we think that people make them seem more complicated than it really is.
If you want to see just how much confusion there is about EFM, then just do a quick Google search in real-time. We guarantee you’ll find all sorts of false information out there, like the provider who says that EFM provides an ‘unparalleled level of connection’ (naming no names, of course). Now don’t get us wrong, it is a fantastic option for businesses, but it’s certainly not ‘top-of-the-range’ that honour goes to leased lines.
So let’s forget everything we think we know about EFM and go back to the cold hard facts. When you look at the facts alone, without getting caught up in opinion, EFM really doesn’t seem that confusing.
EFM is Private & Uncontended
If you’re fed up of your business broadband becoming unreliable and slowing down to a snail’s pace at 9 am every morning when everyone starts up for the day, you’ll be pleased to hear that EFM is private and uncontended. The copper pairs that carry your bandwidth between the exchange and your office are used for that purpose only, and for your business only. This means that you’re not having to contend getting internet access with next door who using more of the bandwidth whilst surfing the web.
Another benefit of an this service is its reliability, if one of the copper pairs fails then the other copper pair will kick in, keeping your internet running but at a slower speed. This will improve your experience compared to broadband that doesn’t have a backup solution like this.
EFM has reasonable installation time
This uncontended service takes around 45 days to get installed, depending on the provider and if any problems arise. This is because it uses already existing copper line (phone lines) to create the circuit. Lead times on a Leased line is around 90 days at most, again, depending on the provider. This is because a new high-speed fibre ethernet line will need to be implemented underground.
So, if you need a quick-ish internet solution them EFM’s are for you, but if you don’t mind waiting a bit for a faster connection, then a Leased line is for you.
EFM has symmetrical speeds
EFM offers symmetrical service, just like a leased line, meaning the upload speed is the same as the download speed. If you haven’t heard about symmetry in terms of business internet, then listen up. Have you heard that upload speeds are becoming more and more important? Well, they are, and that’s because businesses are using more technologies that consume those upload speeds, for example when you’re using video chat. Whether you choose a 2 Mbps or 20 Mbps EFM connection, you’re guaranteed that speed both ways.
EFM is Cheaper than a Leased Line
Although leased lines and EFM are very similar in what they can provide for a business, you’ll notice when you compare online that there is a pretty notable difference in cost. So why is that? It mostly comes down to how EFM and leased lines deliver your bandwidth. With a leased line, you’re cutting out the middle man, and your business is connected directly to your provider over fibre. With EFM, you’re connected to your nearest exchange using copper pairs, and copper pairs are cheaper than using fibre.
EFM starts from around £120 per month, but this depends on the provider, the distance you are from the roadside cabinet, and what speed you require. So, this is a cost-effective solution to reliable internet.
EFM is Widely Available
Think you can’t get an EFM service in your area? Think again. EFM is reportedly available across more than 80 percent of the country, and Talk Talk alone has installed more than 2000 EFM lines. This is great news for businesses who want a quicker and more reliable service. Those of you in more remote locations, we’re sorry. To be frank, it’s annoying that EFM isn’t available to everyone, but that’s no excuse to put up with shoddy broadband. Check out leased lines instead (they’re faster than EFM).
We compare all the industry-leading providers, so if you’d like a quote on an EFM just fill in one of our handy webforms.
Leased line ethernet services are available in 100% of the UK, it’s just depended on whether you can afford one or not. So if you’re in central London or the in the secluded mountainous area of mount Snowdon, you’ll still be able to get a Leased Line.
EFM is NOT the Same as a Leased Line
If you see websites trying to pass off EFM as a leased line, they’re not worth your time. EFM and leased lines aren’t the same, and knowing the difference means you’re able to make the best decision for your business. So what are the differences? Apart from symmetrical bandwidth delivery, which we’ve looked at, we’ve got to look at speed and SLA. Leased lines offer faster speeds than EFM, and typically they’ll fix faults on a leased line a little quicker, too. Leased lines are technically ‘better’, but EFM is a very close second.
Leased lines can deliver speeds of up 10GB in some areas, which is a must for extremely data-heavy businesses. But if 10GB is too much for you, can you pick any speed between 10MB-1GB and so on up to 10GB. From 10MB to 100Mb, the bandwidth goes up in 10Mb increments, then from 100MB to 1GB, its 100MB increments, finally, 1GB-10GB is 1GB increments. So if your business requires high speeds, then a Leased line is for you.
James Ward is CEO & Founder of Leased Line Comparison, a website founded in 2013 and has since helped over 10,000 customers. James gained his expertise in the leased line world by joining a telecoms company called Exponential-e back in 2011 which taught him everything he needed to know to set up this website today. James’ interests include horse racing, skiing, rugby, hiking, boxing and riding. He spends his time between family and friend, socialising and sport.