Ethernet First Mile Explained: What you need to know | Neos Networks

Ethernet First Mile Explained

  • Neos Networks
Ethernet First Mile

What is Ethernet First Mile?

You’ve probably come across the term Ethernet First Mile, but what exactly is it?

Simply put, business Ethernet or Carrier Ethernet is the most common type of connectivity used today, enabling high-bandwidth connectivity for businesses across the country. It comprises a fibre connection that runs from the network directly to your premise. Where previously Ethernet was only available in metro areas at a significant cost, today’s Ethernet services are relatively inexpensive and readily available across the UK.

With committed bandwidth and symmetrical upload and download speeds, businesses can take advantage of important business tools such as Office365 and other cloud solutions as well as perform large data transfers without worrying about capacity and speed on the network dropping.

The benefits of Ethernet First Mile (EFM)

  • Reduced costs as there’s no need for a leased line to the premises
  • Speed of connectivity – nearly twice as quick compared to bringing fibre in to the building
  • Widely available across the UK

Often most importantly, an EFM connection is not shared, ensuring security and benefits from greater resilience – if one copper wire pair fails the service is automatically re-routed as a fail-safe.

However, despite the pros, the technology is slowly edging in to retirement as it’s based on bonded pairs of copper and increasingly Fibre-To-The-Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre-To-The-Premises (FTTP) is more commonly used as an alternative for lower bandwidth needs.

EFM vs Fibre

Whether you should opt for an EFM or a Fibre connection will depend upon your business’ needs. As mentioned above, installing EFM connections is usually quicker because they use existing copper circuits, whereas fibre ones often require extra engineering work.

Here are some other factors to consider.

Speed – with an EFM connection, your connection speed will be around 35Mbps. Fibre-optic alternatives, however, can reach speeds of up to 100Mbps or even 10Gbs.

Cost – generally, EFM connections are cheaper than Fibre, but this will depend upon your location.

Reliability – because they use light to transmit data, fibre optic connections are not affected by electrical interference, faulty electrical devices or being too far away from an exchange, as EFM connections can be.




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Ethernet FAQs

Take a look at our FAQs for Ethernet

  • What is Ethernet connectivity?


    Simply put, business Ethernet or carrier Ethernet is the most common type of connectivity used today, enabling high-bandwidth connectivity for businesses across the country. It comprises a fibre connection that runs from the network directly to your premise. Before understanding why Ethernet is vital for business bandwidth it's important to know what is Ethernet connectivity.


  • What is Ethernet over FTTx?


    Ethernet over FTTx is a hybrid Ethernet connectivity solution. It enables businesses not yet ready to make the leap to Full Fibre Ethernet to take advantage of its benefits but at more manageable capacities.

    Learn more about our Ethernet over FTTx service and see related content here.

  • What is Ethernet First Mile?


    Ethernet First Mile (EFM) is a popular and affordable way for businesses to get easy, dedicated connectivity that delivers fibre-like connectivity using copper cables already in place and can enable speeds up to 30Mbps – dependent on the length of copper cable needed and how many pairs are used. We provide a breakdown on what Ethernet First Mile is and highlight its top three advantages.

  • MPLS vs SD-WAN


    Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) has been popular for a number of years now and is very good at providing robust and reliable connectivity as well as ensuring critical business information continues to flow, but it’s flexibility has also become a limiting factor. You can learn more about the differences of MPLS vs SD-WAN here.

  • EPL vs EVPL


    Ethernet Private Line (EPL) and Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL) are Ethernet services defined by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) and fall under their Ethernet services category ‘E-Line’.

    Both EPL and EVPL Ethernet provide the simplicity of private connections combined with the flexibility and scalability of MPLS technology across a range of bandwidths, but the main difference for businesses is the configuration they would require.

  • MPLS vs Dark Fibre


    MPLS can offer robust and reliable connectivity, yet Dark Fibre offers a level of network future-proofing that other means of connectivity can’t. MPLS has been around for a while and has several benefits, we discuss the pros and cons of both, MPLS vs Dark Fibre here.


  • Ethernet vs Dark Fibre


    Ethernet for business is where the bandwidth required is leased from a connectivity provider who manages the network where as Dark Fibre is as it sounds and refers to fibre that is unlit and unmanaged but owned or leased wholly by the business purchasing it. We explore the differences between Ethernet vs Dark Fibre here.

  • What’s the importance of a point-to-point network?

    A point-to-point network gives organisations secure and private connections, for transmitting internal or sensitive data. They are particularly useful for businesses operating over multiple sites, who have to integrate networks and communications, including such bandwidth-hungry activities as the increasingly popular video-conferencing. While some organisations can achieve this integration via the public internet, larger companies may face issues with security, privacy and bandwidth, as well as the reliability of the network. 

    A leased line can provide a solution to these issues, but you may find a point-to-point network is more suitable and, possibly, more economical than a leased line. These networks are available in various bandwidth speeds.

    If your company needs a high capacity, private network to do business, the importance of a point-to-point network cannot be overestimated. Choose the right provider and you’ll get a reliable, high-speed connection perfectly suited to your organisation, at speeds from 10Mbps to 10Gbps.

  • What is the benefit of a point-to-point leased line?

    As well as providing a reliable, private connection, a point-to-point network will give your business a whole host of benefits. One of the most important is speed, with point-to-point networks taking your data along the most direct route possible. Allied to this, upload and download speeds are guaranteed and you won't have any concerns about bandwidth because the connection is private and dedicated.

    Common applications for point-to-point networks include file sharing, data backup, point-to-point VOIP and video-conferencing, all of which take advantage of the direct, high capacity nature of these networks. These networks are ideal for a range of everyday business needs, helping your organisation to work more efficiently.

  • What is a point-to-point circuit?

    This type of private data connection links multiple locations. As a closed network data transport service, it doesn’t use the public internet, making it secure enough to not require any data encryption. 

    Another advantage of this type of connection is the high quality of service: private lines always follow the same direct pathway and don’t have any competing connections on the same line. This means they’re completely reliable as well as secure, making them attractive for companies conducting credit card transactions and similarly sensitive operations. They’re also desirable for organisations transmitting large amounts of data, with many providers offering unlimited data usage.

    Point-to-point circuits are available at different speeds and bandwidths. As a result, they’re as flexible as they are reliable.