Update: Changes to BT Openreach FTTC installs & Draytek are BT approved!

author By Callum Douglas-Byrnes, 22/02/16
Changes to BT Openreach FTTC installs

Changes announced by BT Openreach to FTTC installation processes are now in effect.

Openreach, and in turn ISPs, will be offering customers a choice of the following two installation paths:

Self Install
The Openreach engineer will only do the jumpering activity at the local street cabinet and then close the job, with no visit to the premises at all
Managed Install
The Openreach engineer will visit the premises but only to plug directly into your integrated device, rather than install an Openreach modem.

Due to Openreach no longer supplying modems you or your customer will be required to supply their own.

Openreach have created the “SIN 498” specification which modems must pass to be officially approved. You can find an updated list beneath our list of FAQs.

What is BT SIN 498 MCT?

BT “SIN 498” is the specification defining BT’s VDSL2 (BT Infinity / FTTC) service requirements in order that products meet specific standards of support and compatibility.

Devices undergo extensive testing to ensure they meet the standard and comply with all of BT’s requirements.

The testing makes certain that the modem can reliably connect to all of BT’s different MSANs (equipment in the street cabinet). BT uses various vendors for their MSANs so that means a variety of different hardware and software.

For approval a modem must connect to each different MSAN at a line length of up to 2600 metres, which is the maximum line length BT consider viable for running VDSL2 on.

Is it mandatory to use a BT SIN 498 approved product?

Yes, Openreach provide almost all of the UK’s VDSL2 services and they do require customers to use an approved product.

You will be expected to have an approved product on your line to help with monitoring and fault resolution services as to eliminate any “unknown hardware” causes.

What happens if I don’t?

It’s unlikely that your ISP will take any action immediately if your service continues to function as normal.

However, if you encounter any line issues or faults then ISPs will be required to ask you to use an approved product for testing purposes.

BT have equipment which can interrogate your modem and recognise a non-compliant device so it’s best to avoid this scenario by selecting from the approved modem list.

BT have officially put out the following statement to ISPs so please take note:

“It is prohibited to connect a device to a VDSL2 phone socket which has not passed BT’s MCT (Modem Conformance Testing for SIN498). BT will be using OAM loopback to perform diagnostics on FTTC service and identify the CPE connected. Detection of unauthorised CPE may result in the following:
  • Request for removal of unauthorised CPE
  • Limitation or disconnection of Service
  • Lack of support when troubleshooting faults
  • Abortive visit charges or SFI Customer Misoperation charges when engineers find unauthorised equipment on site.
  • In addition, the usage of equipment which does not comply with the SIN 498 ANFP or interferes with other subscriber’s service may result in the service being terminated.”

Draytek BT SIN 498 MCT approved

Many Packnet customers operate their FTTC connection using Draytek hardware, so we’re very pleased to hear that certain Draytek products are now SIN 498 approved.

The approval covers the Vigor 2860 series, Vigor 2760 series and the Vigor 130 VDSL modem.

Draytek announced that some changes were required to their firmware to pass the specifications so it is recommended that all users of the Vigor 2860, Vigor 2760 and Vigor 130 devices upgrade to the newest available firmware as soon as possible to ensure you are SIN 498 compliant.

Draytek firmwares can be found here: http://www.draytek.co.uk/support/downloads

What if I am using a BT Openreach modem?

BT have commented on those still using the now discontinued Openreach modem: “[we] will continue to support existing modems in the field, including replacement of faulty units, until March 2017”.

So, if you are using an Openreach modem please be prepared to replace it in the future to fall in line with BT’s requirements.

Approved product list

Draytek firmware is available here: http://www.draytek.co.uk/support/downloads