On average looking at broadband speed tests for people connected to VDSL2 cabinets there is a 2.1 Mbps download benefit to being connected to a Huawei cabinet versus an ECI one based on December 2016 speed test results. We have run this analysis on speed test results going all the way back to the start of 2012 and right until October 2015 there was very little in it.
|Speed test Comparison for VDSL2 tests on ECI and Huawei cabinets|
The pattern is roughly followed by upload speeds, with Huawei areas recording better upload speeds compared to ECI areas since summer 2015, though the difference is smaller with a gap of 0.2 Mbps to 0.8 Mbps. The Huawei cabinets also recorded a 3ms lower small TCP packet latency average, and while the quality metric measured during the download test is very close, Huawei has been slightly ahead since July 2016 after years of being neck and neck.
Unfortunately mere mortals do not get to choose which cabinet is installed in your area, but looking at the work for the BDUK areas ECI only accounts for 6.3% of the cabinets installed and outside that 42% of the commercial cabinets deployed are ECI based. This suggests ECI cabs are not deployed very often if at all these days.
One possibility for the better speeds is if Huawei cabinets are used in the more densely populated locations and we crunched the numbers again to learn that for Huawei cabinets our coverage model tells us 94.1% will get 30 Mbps or faster, but ECI users had a better chance at 97.3%. So this means that even though Huawei cabinets appear to be favoured in areas with more people at significant distances from the cabinet better speeds are being experienced in the real world.
|Distribution premises covered by ECI and Huawei VDSL2 cabinets across the UK regions|
|Region||% VDSL coverage||% superfast|
Over 30 Mbps
|% VDSL coverage||% superfast
Over 30 Mbps
|East of England||33.9||32.9||55.1||51.7|
|Yorkshire and Humber||43.8||42.6||35.7||33.5|
So why the better speeds? The enhancements of G.INP and Vectoring and the possibility that the core VDSL2 chipset in Huawei cabinets is simply performing better are largely to explain.
So why spend time running this analysis? Well it highlights that not all VDSL2 kit is identical, and highlight the importance of using hardware that supports G.INP and Vectoring for your VDSL2 modem so you can benefit from the Huawei effect. Also looking to the future March 2017 should see much wider use of lower 3dB, 4dB and 5dB noise margins for lines that are stable enough, thus boosting some peoples speeds further and by doing the leg work now it will be easier for us to spot whether the new low margin roll-out is having an effect. The difference between ECI and Huawei performance once combined with the low margin roll-out may mean we adopt different models based on type of cabinet deployed where this is known for deciding the coverage levels across the UK - hence keeping a keen eye on things.