Is FTTH a dead end street?

I guess I have FTTH for about a decade now. A solitary modem into which a solitary optical cable brings a signal for internet at 2020 mbit speeds. And even television, with some kind of frequency splitter. All for the cost of about 40 euros give or take.

But it’s a terribly inconvenient way to live. The thing is idle. And all the devices I have run on WiFi. Or LTE. My phone, my tablet, my laptop - none of them are connected by any kind of cable which would take advantage of this kind of setup. So what’s the point?

I’ve had some off-site work in the last week and I was dialing in with VPN into the office, to connect and work on servers, check e-mail, prepare documents - basically anything I do when I’m physically in the office, except I was sitting at a nice tiled table on a terrace. On my right there was a view of a field, grape vines, rosemary bushes and bunches of flowering lavander. My dog was snoring under the table.

Nobody would notice a small box, less than the size of a wallet. A LTE modem with a battery backup was providing a network connection for my laptop. USB charged and completely portable. Even if power would turn off by some freak occurance like a power grid fault or lightning, this thing would stay online for 6 hours (provided the cell tower isn’t affected).

The thing is - I don’t want FTTH.

Let’s not concentrate on the price, LTE is already cheaper here, and ADSL/VDSL are somewhere between LTE and FTTH - with some services like television being incredibly overpriced. Let’s just see it for what it is.

For me to have FTTH it means:

  1. Big bulky modem/access point
  2. Most of the time - an extra AP for features like NAS or just for stability
  3. Cabling - 230V, UTP, Fiber cables
  4. Power outages would mean having an UPS

That fourth bad point is a bit flaky. Sure you could have a big, usually heavy, UPS device which would keep your terminal equipment alive - but there’s no guarantee that the power will not go out on uplink side. Do they have UPS there? There are a few unknowns that tip my situation into not buying an UPS. Since it’s the H stands for HOME, anything beyond an anti-surge power strip is an overkill.

So, to have a LTE uplink:

  1. Spotty coverage outside of the city (non issue at home)
  2. Poor or nonexistent choice of providers

And the good points:

  1. Take the internet - your fast one - with you anywhere (portable AP/modem)
  2. Technically, lower costs - by about 30%, not counting lower power footprint at home
  3. Independence of power outages - benefit of battery powered devices
  4. Roaming in other countries

There’s a big pain with roaming costs in Europe - unless you have a data plan which covers them. Right now, finally, I signed up for a package which includes 1GB of data for roaming use, per month. Want to go to an Ikea in Italy? Have a working holiday in Croatia? Have a burrito in Germany? Search for Shisha places in Prague? Find a good restaurant in France? You can. I am now taking my access point with me and doing all of those things at zero additional costs - and using up 1GB on your phone in a week or two is a challenge.

And, not really caring about transfer speeds means that LTE can be just as good if not better than WiFi. A benchmark here peaked out at 2070 mbit/s, which is pretty good considering the friend who made it, was driving at the time. Mine was just about 1010, but in all fairness, I was also driving, outside of the city in a scarcely populated area, across a dirt road trough a field towards a forest. Rural, that’s the word.

So, the only problem with LTE at the moment is lack of options. Mobile operators in Slovenia seem to be playing a game in which GB’s of traffic are like bats in a Sesame Street’s episode with The Count.

Let’s count the bats and find out.

Ha. That’s one. One bat. Two. Two bats. Three. Three fabulous fliers.

What? Nothing. Nothing happened? Where’s the confetti? Where’s the balloons? Isn’t three the number of the day?

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