How to check BT EFM costs and availability?

Check for BT EFM availability, speeds and costs against your postcode.

BT EFM (Ethernet First Mile) offers bandwidth speeds from 2Mbps up to 35Mbps depending on proximity to the BT network and available copper services. All EFM services are available with managed Cisco router or as wires only for either MPLS or Internet access.

If you would like to check EFM availability, speeds and costs, visit our Netify BT Leased Line product page.

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BTNet EFM is essentially the next step up vs Broadband services with some specific SLA properties including symmetrical bandwidth and latency guarantees for application performance, currently set at 20ms average round-trip delay.

The typical uptime is based on a 99.95% uptime guarantee with the service credits where connectivity downtime occurs. Fix times for Internet services are set at a 7 hour fix time.

The aforementioned SLA properties are the main reason business makes the jump from Broadband services to EFM. While fibre broadband does offer significant downstream bandwidth, upstream figures may still present a challenge depending on application usage.

With EFM, upstream bandwidth is consistent which in turn provides a more predictable service. The majority of companies are embracing SIP (Voice over IP), voice, video, collaboration and remote access. With these services in mind, EFM is growing faster than ever based simply on the way in which users work today. Internet-based products will allow connectivity to the BT Cloud Voice product.

At Netify, we are able to offer availability and pricing for EFM services into either Internet or MPLS.

In addition, we have access to surrounding capability including BT Cloud Voice.

EFM into MPLS or Internet?

We will go on to discuss the properties of EFM so that you will be able to understand how the technology is delivered to your premises. Before that, we feel it is also important to consider why an organisation may utilise EFM for their connectivity. There are essentially two variants which we find in the business world.

  • EFM for Internet
  • EFM for MPLS

EFM for Internet is relatively straightforward to understand. In the day and age of fibre connectivity for broadband, you might well be wondering why your organisation might buy EFM vs FTTC or EFM vs FTTP as a connection method. The main reason is stability.

When EFM is delivered, a guarantee of bandwidth is made based on your location and available connectivity. For example, you might find that a particular area might only support 5Mbps of connectivity. This may appear slow when compared to say EFM vs fibre broadband but note that the SLA (Service Level Availability) guarantee is more robust on an EFM service. Plus EFM is providing you with a guarantee of performance whereas FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) ADSL speeds are variable.

EFM for MPLS is the same technology, all be it connected to the Internet. The only difference is that the circuit traffic is delivered to BT private based MPLS core network. Again, if you’re considering EFM vs ADSL, I’ll point you back to the guaranteed traffic throughput and improved and more robust SLA’s.

BT EFM vs Fibre Leased Line?

If we are to compare BT EFM and ADSL / Broadband, we should also consider EFM vs fibre leased line products. Leased lines were, up to a few years back, provided on both copper and fibre.

Today, the majority of leased line circuits are implemented using fibre and presented as Ethernet. In fact, the standard circuit size for Ethernet has changed from 10Mbps to 100Mbps speeds and in some cases, Gigabit connectivity has become increasingly popular.

So, where does this leave you? Well, firstly, not every business has a network of offices where 100Mbps or Gigabit Ethernet connectivity is required. While Ethernet is much lower in cost than it traditionally has been in the past, the commercials are still high when compared to copper and fibre broadband. Clearly, they're real reasons for this cost difference but where office user numbers are small, predictable connectivity is required with an SLA, EFM still represents a good option.

Some final thoughts on EFM as a technology?

Let’s begin by discussing exactly what the BT EFM product is and isn’t. It’s Ethernet presentation over copper pairs. As you might be aware, your home and business are served with copper connectivity as standard, EFM services are provisioned over the same infrastructure.

Our availability tool is looking to understand whether the BT equipment can terminate connectivity and at what speeds. The technology was introduced to make use of the mountains of copper connectivity connecting businesses outside of metro areas. These companies require business grade symmetric connectivity with Ethernet handoff to fit with the devices which are typically deployed in fibre environments.

EFM was mainly given the name Ethernet in the First Mile to represent the fact that the last mile is traditionally associated with the section of the copper or fibre which links the client premises to the cabinet in the street. The checker will look to understand the capability to deliver Ethernet presented connectivity over that first mile part of your service.

The first mile is essentially the same as the last mile - just to confuse you a little. And this is really what our checker offer is all about, the ability to provide you (the client) with Ethernet in the last mile which typically, in the past, would not be associated with Ethernet services - i.e. unsupported infrastructure. While EFM is usually deployed over copper, businesses which are connected to the cabinet with Single Mode Fibre will also benefit since the standard specifies both types of media.

The speed/amount of bandwidth which is achievable depends on the amount of copper served into your building in multiples of pairs, e.g. your office site may have 4 pairs, allowing your organisation to achieve more bandwidth. We’re seeing our BT results produce stable bandwidths of 15Mbps, which is a good amount for a small office.

Of course, bandwidth isn't everything. Latency, jitter and throughout will dictate how your applications will ultimately perform over services. As mentioned earlier, we’ll let you know these factors via the checking process.

What else?

What else is there to know. Well, if you’re considering connectivity for WAN branch sites, you need to know that it’s not possible to achieve diversity. Service providers are unable to guarantee diversity when providing copper solutions. That’s not to say it’s impossible to create diversity but it’s not the norm.

So, what about those of you considering VoIP (Unified Communications). As with any other technology, your organisation should consider latency, jitter, throughput and packet loss. The overall SLA should provide an indication of performance attributes. EFM is not normally the default choice for Voice which is mainly because of the fact copper is not associated with high availability. This said, providing you have the right amount of available bandwidth; Voice (SIP services) should operate totally fine. This means your small office locations which will be the sites commonly associated with copper products will be fine. For the full BT SLA, let us know and we can provide you with the required details.

Need to know more?

For those interested in learning more about what is EFM, we need to go back in time to 1996 and Nortel. in short, a technology called EtherLoop was brought about with the intent of simulating Ethernet over existing telephone wires. Etherloop simply refers to the local loop which we discussed earlier. It was around 2000 where the term Ethernet in the First Mile was first considered as we know the technology today.