What is the impact of FTTP on router requirements?

In the village we currently have fibre to cabinet broadband. I get about 39Mbps download which is fine for our needs at the moment. Others in the village, including many closer to the cabinet than I, are not achieving anything like that. Consequently there is a move to get the village as a group to access the £1,500 vouchers to allow installation of FTTP.

The requirement will be to sign up to the supplier (whoever that might be) for at least a one year contract.

Our router is a BT Smarthub 2 with 2 mesh discs which I am very happy with.

Generates lots of questions but one that nobody has answered yet is would I have to change my router? Naturally this serves, amongst all the other gubbins, my NDX2 and also my Core so am loathe to change. I don’t even know if the Smarthub can cope with FTTP (or even if that is a relevant point!). Any ideas if change is essential if the supplier is BT or is not BT?

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Generally with FTTP the provider will only install a fiber to ethernet module in the home, similar to this:

You can then plug any router into the ethernet port, for instance a BT smart hub 2.

Some providers may install a more elaborate option that includes both a fiber optical modem and a router, in which case the extra smart hub might be redundant. It would then however still be possible to plug the smart hub into one of the ports for extra connectivity:

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Yes but I think I the BT Smarthub 2 is a modem and router isn’t it? So you would need to run it without the modem. I have no idea whether that is possible. @Simon-in-Suffolk probably knows the answer.



Thank you. That sounds hopeful.

And that might be an issue. :slight_smile:

Thank you both for the advice so far.

As yet another flavour, we have Virgin fttp - fibre terminates in a box on the wall outside which houses fibre to coax conversion, with coax fed through to Virgin Hub 3 inside the house. The box outside gets phantom power from an injector on the coax.

Looks like there’s many variants - I think you’re going to have to see what’s actually proposed; but I share the thought that the BT box may not work as a stand alone router…

As I understand it, Openreach supply a modem with the FTTP installation.
The BT SmartHub-2 includes a Full Fibre (FTTP) Mode ON/OFF in the advanced settings
The info popup on the SH2 says “The “ON” mode is only for Full Fibre Broadband, where your Hub’s Ethernet port 4 connects to the Openreach Full Fibre modem

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Yes the BT SmartHub 2 is a router, wifi access point and xDSL modem.

Some models can work without the xDSL modem for fibre use… but only I believe with BT Openreach standard FTTP NTE (ONT) equipment. You connect the ONT into one of the Lan switch ports on the SmartHub2 and enable a setting in the SH2 setup pages

Many thanks all.

A fair summary is that if BT is the supplier there is a good chance of it working and, if not, it’s in the lap of the gods with the odds against?

If BT is the supplier, unless there is some mixup, which is always possible, your SH2 will be connected to your ONT (so called fibre modem). Whether you or the installer flicks the setting on SH2 to FTTP I don’t know… I guess you’ll find out.

BT retail provide a service to consumers, including the required CPE (Customer Premises Equipment)
If BT OpenReach are doing the fibre runs to your homes then the service can be provided by another party, Zen as one example as a wholesale access provider who are leveraging the BT physical network.
There are a number of “alt nets” like GigaClear or Hyperoptic who provide their own physical infrastructure and offer an alternative to wholesale access over the BT backbone and access network.
At the very least, whoever is providing the infrastructure and Internet access, they should provide at least an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) device that has fibre coming in and Ethernet presented to the consumer, either outside or inside their property. In that case you would then connect your own router to that ONT and setup as with any typical IP router. They may also provide or at least recommend a router they’ve verified as interoperating with their network correctly or provide an “all in one” type device similar to the BT SmartHub you are using currently.
Enabling the BT SmartHub 2 to support a “Full Fibre” service where the fibre goes all the way to your property still involves them providing a Fibre ONT modem and then connecting that to the existing SmartHub 2 within your home over Ethernet.
Your current service from BT sounds likely to be using the VDSL2 technology whereby your SmartHub 2 is acting as both a modem and a router in one device.
Unless the full service is coming from BT retail as an upgrade to your current service you’ll most likely need to source a dedicated Ethernet based router to connect to your providers ONT modem.
Best thing to do is check your provider options and reach out to them directly to see what equipment they offer or recommend as part of their packages.
The ONT should be provided by the service provider as it will have been tested to work optimally with the rest of the equipment between your home and their backbone network.

Thanks once again. Lots to research but first it appears we need to establish who the supplier will be and take it from there. It is still early days and I will feed this back to the person coordinating it all.

I am in two minds. I don’t want to muck up an installation which is working well and reliably for greater costs and probably some hassle. But I would like to support the village meeting critical mass and future proofing our supply.

The major cost and complexity is getting the fibre runs from the closest street cabinets to the individual homes, which involves a lot of digging and disruption if nothing else. Doing that in a built up area makes commercial sense for the main providers like BT OpenReach or Virgin Media as they know they’ll get a viable return on that upfront cost from a mix of consumers and businesses.
That’s less likely the case in a smaller town or village or where the environment presents specific challenges.
In your case you’d need to agree a commercial plan that was viable where you as the subscribers accept a percentage of the risk and upfront financial investment and cover that from a mix of personal contributions and sponsorship funds coming from another source like central government agencies.
Once you agree the commercial terms and costs you can then determine the most appropriate provider to enable the local access infrastructure and in turn provide a service to the Internet delivered over it.
You can look at the various BT and “alt net” options and likely find that there will be some that prove preferable based on their activity in the local area or county and a mix of their proven track record and delivery costs, they may well vary by quite a bit, £10’s of thousands potentially, so it’s worth agreeing that everyone in your community signs up to the distruption involved and “months of traffic lights” outside their house, as well as the upfront costs involved to archive that better service.
The thing to focus on is the longer term benefits and the fact that any initial sticker shock will be mostly forgotten within a year or two of the community being connected and will be good for many years of scalable service to come.

I wouldn’t worry too much. Most important is to get fast reliable broadband, whoever provides it. The home network issues are not hard to solve - you don’t have to rely on BT.




We live in a village that now has full fibre into houses. Done via the voucher scheme.

We have it, 80 - 900mb plans available.

They supplied the fibre box and separate wireless router. It’s a Fritzbox.

The company don’t allow any access to the router……it works very well.

I agree it’s about choosing the service provider you trust.
With fibre many of the local issues tend to disappear, but quality of backhaul, peering, vulnerability management, broadcast streaming (multicast) and ipv6 become more prominent… unless your internet access is mostly low complexity CDN streaming and social media.

These days, as we see in the discussion in another thread, there is far more to trust than Aunt Mable’s bad experience with customer service.

Certainly large highly organised companies like Vodafone, BT and even Virgin provide secure communication and cyber services to gov… so you know in the core you will have the standards you expect and rely on.

These days with more and more of your life conducted online, the integrity of your ISP becomes all the more important… in my opinion.


We have FTTP with Zen who supplied a Fritz router.

Kelly Comms are today digging up my road in hove and laying conduit for full fibre, they’re fast but still chaotic, will be 1000 Mbps I was told, wonder If I’ll notice a difference when streaming……

In our former home we were capped at 100 Mbps service from our fibre provider (Verizon FiOS). In our new home I have the Verizon FiOS gigabit 1000 Mbps service. I notice no quality difference in streaming audio or video.

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