How to switch to optical fiber? Here are some tips to avoid mistakes


To avoid fatal mistakes for the wallet and also for the business activity, here is a guide for the fiber to the home migration

Switching to a full fiber-optic connection (ftth, fiber to the home): excellent idea, but to be implemented with caution and some foresight. To avoid fatal mistakes for the wallet and also for the work activity, given the need for a good internet connection, now in many cases, to be able to carry it out. But we must be careful, in the transition, also to preserve domestic peace: partners and children could have something to say if they cannot play online or finish the TV series because there is no internet, in the transition phase from our current connection to the faster one.
We take into account, in general, that we are in a delicate and tumultuous phase of transition.

fiber optics
fiber optics

More and more fiber optic connections

Fiber optic connections in homes are becoming increasingly available in Italy, thanks to new investments by operators and also by the Government. The innovation minister has just launched calls to cover seven million street addresses with “gigabit” networks by June 2026 and most of this coverage will be done with fiber connections, presumably (the rest will be with 5G fixed-wireless technology).

The European Commission’s Desi 2021 data, released last November, indicate that in Italy 34% of households are covered by gigabit connections. These figures, however, photograph a situation from last year. You quickly run towards other goals. Open Fiber expects to reach 20 million civic numbers by 2023 from the current 12. FiberCop – a company similar to Open Fiber, owned by Tim, Fastweb, and the KKR fund – has increased coverage by 22% in the first nine months of the year and will reach 13, 6 million units by 2026. Government plans with public funds, including European ones, will complete the coverage of the 30 million civic numbers by 2026.
All this to say that for many more Italians the opportunity is opening up to switch to “gigabit” level connections, the best for working, watching TV series and films at 4K, playing online. Even all together at the same time, in the same house, on different computers, smartphones, and TVs.
These are offers now at one gigabit per second in download, usually, although some operators such as Vodafone and Fastweb already offer 2.5 Gigabits in some cities. Various, such as Tim, are also experimenting with 10 Gigabit – maximum speed with current domestic technologies – which will soon launch on all users. That we are at the beginning of a revolution, however, is also perceived for some negative aspects: the procedures of the operators and the rules are still to be refined, to protect the interests of consumers as much as possible.

Better to keep two connections in parallel

Thus, “the most important advice to give to those who intend to migrate to a complete fiber connection is, now, not to carry out an operator change procedure but to activate the new line in parallel, independently”, explains Giovanni Cristi, an expert technologist for the German multinational of Avm routers. As is known, for the passages from xDSL connection to another (including Vdsl, therefore the fiber ones up to the cabinet at 200 Mbps), it is advisable to make a “change of operator” to reduce costs and times. That is, do not cancel our line ourselves, but ask the new operator to activate the new one. The new operator will manage cancellations and the smooth passage from one line to another.

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But a shift from xDSL to full fiber is a technological shift. “In theory, the operators can coordinate to make a smooth transition, without a blackout of the service, but in practice at this stage, they cannot,” explains Cristi. The reason is that they have to send a technician home to install the optical port (in the future, when the houses already have this end of the network, it will not be necessary). The times of the technician are difficult to coordinate with those of the closure of the old line, so the risk of being without internet for days or weeks is real if you make a “change of operator”. So the advice is to ask for the new line and, after making sure that everything is fine, cancel the old one manually (you can now do it easily, even via the call center; the registered letter is no longer needed).

Disadvantages: For a month we will have to pay the old and new line and the cancellation costs may be higher. We would also lose any fixed number linked to the line, but this will hardly be a problem by now. A solution to save goat and cabbage would be to make a technological change with your current operator, which already offers us VDSL. However, we must hope to be covered by that and not just by one of its competitors. Furthermore, it is not certain that our operator will make us a convenient offer, compared to the others on the market.


The modem problem

Another issue concerns the modem. Many of the current VDSL modems are also good for full fiber optics. If the user has a modem of this type, owned by him (bought in stores or in installments from his own operator), he can consider keeping it even with the new connection. In this case, however, you must make sure to check the “free modem” option during activation. Otherwise, the operator will give us his modem; at the moment Tim and Wind 3 make us pay for it in installments. Vodafone and Fastweb no – they give it on free loan. Even in this case, however, some advanced users may wish to keep their modem, perhaps high-end and with all its home network configurations and repeaters already installed.

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However, the free modem choice has a little known problem now that users need to be aware of. In other words, Agcom has granted operators, precisely for complete fiber optic connections, a partial derogation from the obligation to offer the freedom of modems. The free modem user can connect it via LAN cable to the socket on the wall, while the operators’ modems are connected directly to the optical port. “The negative practical consequence is” that only with the modems of the operators can we now surf at a speed higher than gigabit with the devices connected to the modem “, explains Cristi. Agcom announces that it is analyzing the derogation – granted by the previous Board of the Authority – for a possible revision.

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