CityFibre install

Screenshot of speed test.

Recently I got a little internet upgrade installed. I’ve gone from the older technology where I was on 160 Mb down and 30 Mb up to a new FTTP install from CityFibre at 900Mb down and up. Both are provided through Zen. Part of the reason for the upgrade is the reduced monthly cost even so it’s faster, and also the working from home where I’m frequently moving large chunks of public transport schedule data around.

There were 3 people there to help with the install, in past broadband installs it’s generally only been 1 person. An old hole through the wall from a long time ago that was for a previous cable install by a previous resident, was used for the new fibre cable.

Telegraph pole showing the new fibre cable. View from the base of the pole.
Telegraph pole, note the 2 junction boxes at the top, one for BT, the other recently added for CityFibre.

The fibre cable is strung from the same poles as the phone cables, as CityFibre share the infrastructure with BT Open Reach.

Comparison of older copper cable and new fibre cable.
Comparison of older copper cable (right) and new fibre cable (left).

The cable is noticeably thinner than the BT copper cables which have carried the PSTN, FTTC, and signals in the past. I’m sure longer ago may have also carried ADSL or ADSL2+, though that would have been before move in.

Junction box on the outside wall.
Junction box on the outside wall.

There’s a box on the outside wall that is a junction from the outside cable to the internal ONT.

Black box above skirting board with status lights at the top, and cables at the bottom.
The ONT box converts the fibre signal to an ethernet cable. (Yeah I probably should get around to tidying up those couple of cables with clips.

On the inside wall there’s an ONT box on the inside that is powered by the mains. This is where the Fibre connection is converted to an ethernet connection via an RJ45 connection.

The work was all completed within a couple of hours.

Zen sent a new FRITZ!Box 7530 which just needed to be plugged in to get the new internet connection working. Which in a way was useful to show that the internet connection was working by the installers without having to fiddle around with the router settings. It did however mean that I had to setup the new one up with all of the right settings including moving over things like the DECT phones (I use A&A VoIP), port forwarding, and the WiFi network name and password (no point in spending time reconfiguring all the devices again).

One of the things that caught me out with the FTTP install is that IPv6 is NOT available, yet is on Zen’s other technologies, as I had it with my connection, though it still seems to only be a beta service. I’d have expected an ISP such as Zen to have fully rolled out IPv6 by now.

Speed test result showing download 842Mps, upload 794Mbps, ping 4ms.
Speedtest result

Of course the obligatory speed test screenshot on a cable. When done over wifi it’s not as impressive as my wifi equipment doesn’t get near the full gigabit, but still a lot faster than under the old connection. Even so I had a fairly fast connection before, it’s noticeable how much snappier and faster things load, particularly the uploads. Like the progress bar barely has time to show, blink and you miss it for smaller files.


  1. how is it going so far? as far as I remember it was supposed to be sold via Vodaphone
    but got an email from Zen that its available in my area, and I’m about to sign up, even though still have 12 month left with Virgin, as I really need faster upload speeds…
    do they give static IP?
    also I have my own router, (EdgeRouter 12) hope no problem connecting to their ONT

    1. It’s going very well so far. Speed tests over ethernet cable usually come out over 500Mb/sec both up and down. Well worth the move away from VirginMedia.

      Vodafone had an initial contract which meant they got all the customers due to being the first to partner or some investment. It now depends on the area as to which of the ISPs are available with more competition slowly opening up in each area.

      There is a static IP available. I’ve had no issues with it.

      The ONT is just normal ethernet. I’ve had no need to connect a different router to the one provided, but I don’t foresee any issues if you have the config details. The Fritzbox works well, only minor issue is the WiFi 5 standard rather than the newer WiFi 6 standard, though I doubt that’ll be much of an issue if you are using your own equipment. In the grand scheme of things there’s not that much of a difference other than you won’t be able to max out the internet connection over WiFi.

    1. I’ve just checked the ping to that server which is:

      --- ping statistics ---
      23 packets transmitted, 23 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
      round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 18.901/19.298/19.763/0.251 ms

  2. Thanks for this, I know My local supplier gig in our offer another option where you can just have without the modem and use your own gear I am looking forward to trying out myself when my virgin contract runs out

  3. What’s your cabled ping/download/upload speeds to OVH UK (Erith), if you don’t mind testing? I use them as a more comparable test, since the test servers are 10gbps, some of the speedtest servers are only 1gbit, and my friend on BT FTTP, can find it hard to find a speedtest server that can actually max out his download, but OVH usually can with no problems.

    On my TalkTalk FTTC, it maxes out my line easily lol;
    Download: 46Mbits
    Upload: 7Mbits
    Ping: 13ms
    Jitter: 0.8ms

    1. I’ve just tried that speed test, depending on the server I’m getting:
      Download 540 Mb/s
      Upload 610 Mb/s
      Latency 20ms
      Jitter 2ms

      Interesting I’m currently getting a higher upload speed at the moment than download speed, which varies a bit.

        1. As the download seems to be much more commonly used, it doesn’t surprise me that it’s lower due to the likely contention on the downstream side. I’ve just tried again and it’s a lot closer. It’ll also vary with whatever other things might be happening.

        2. Ah, I think I’ve figured it out, those speeds were over WiFi, I’ve tweaked the network preference order and I’m getting 915Mb/s down and 777 Mb/s up with 20ms latency. It’s meant to be 900Mb/s up and down, so looking better than the WiFi speeds.

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