Shipshewana IT Director Update

Sheamus Clarke

From the Desk of IT Director

Sheamus P. Clarke, IT Director
Town of Shipshewana


Hello Shipshewana, I am the IT Director for the Town of Shipshewana.

Over the past few months, I have received questions regarding some of the Posts I have added to Facebook regarding High Speed Fiber Internet coming to Shipshewana.

For the most part the questions have dealt with “What is High Speed Fiber Internet” and is it better than what I currently have?

I thought I would take this time to explain exactly what High Speed Fiber Internet is, and what you should expect from your provider of choice regarding High Speed Fiber Internet.

First let’s go over some definitions regarding High Speed Fiber Internet along with what you can expect as far as performance.

Fiber to the home (FTTH)

Fiber to the home (FTTH), also called fiber to the premises (FTTP), is the installation and use of optical fiber from a central point directly to individual buildings such as residences, apartment buildings and businesses to provide high-speed internet access. FTTH dramatically increases connection speeds available to computer users compared with technologies now used in most places.

FTTH promises connection speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps). These speeds are 20 to 100 times as fast as a typical cable modem, wireless or DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connections. Implementing FTTH on a large scale is costly because it requires installation of new cable sets over the “last links” from existing optical fiber cables to individual users. Some communities currently have fiber to the curb (FTTC) service. FTTC refers to the installation and use of optical fiber cable to the curbs near homes or businesses, with a “copper” medium carrying the signals between the curb and the end users.

How does FTTH work?

The defining characteristic of FTTH is that it connects optical fiber directly to residences. It uses optical fiber for most or all of last-mile telecommunications. Optical fiber transmits data using light signals to achieve higher performance.

FTTH access networks are basically structured like this: fiber optic cables run from a central office, through a fiber distribution hub (FDH), then through a network access point (NAP), then finally into the home through a terminal that serves as a junction box.  If the Fiber does not go all the way back to the central office through Fiber, it is not true High-Speed Fiber Internet.

Benefits of using FTTH

The main benefit of FTTH is increased network performance, specifically higher speeds over a long distance, which the older method of using coaxial cables, twisted pair conductors, wireless and DSL cannot reach.

Because of its significantly higher bandwidth, FTTH is considered by experts as the best technology to handle consumer network demands in the coming decades. Some benefits that come with this include:

Improved performance for high-definition video streaming on applications like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV, Disney, and Roku.

Allows for multiple upgrades without having to replace the fiber, leading some to call FTTH “future proof.” The infrastructure surrounding the fiber can be updated without having to update the fiber itself.

Higher speeds over longer distances than previous technologies.

Better than other fiber configurations because fiber connects directly to residences and can complete remaining network segments with Ethernet or coaxial cable.

What should you ask your High-Speed Fiber Internet Provider?

  1. What is the maximum Speed I should see for both Upload and Download? This is not to say you need the maximum speed available, but If the provider cannot provide 1,000 Mbps then you are not looking at true High-Speed Fiber Internet, also known as Gigabit Internet.
  2. What is the installation cost?
  3. What speed tiers do you provide and what are the costs?
  4. What is the length of the contract?
  5. Can I change my speed tier during my contract?
  6. Are there any data max thresholds I should know about? And what are the additional costs if I exceed those thresholds?

How much Bandwidth does a typical family need?

This is a question I get more and more these days.  Let’s start out with a typical family of 4 that likes to stream movies and TV shows and connect their phones or tablets to the internet.  I would recommend a good rule of thumb as 10-15 Mbps per family member for download speeds. A family of 4 would be safe with 40 – 60 Mbps download speed.

Now let’s look at the same family of 4, but now we have family members that both stream and play Xbox or PlayStation games online.  In this case, for those family members that play games, I would recommend 20-25 Mbps for those family members.  If we have two gamers, then this family should look at 60 – 80 Mbps download speeds.

Interesting Fact:

At the time of writing this article, the Average speed advertised on Internet-only packages in the United State is about 290 Mbps.  This average is a little skewed by a high number of gigabit internet (1,000 Mbps) packages offered in certain areas of the United States.

From the Desk of:

Sheamus P Clarke

IT Director

Town of Shipshewana