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What is Last Mile and First Mile?

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What is last mile and first mile ? This is an important telecommunication term which is used in all broadband communication methods. In this post, I will explain the term, differences and some detail about this term.

In fact, last mile and the first mile is the same thing.


The link between the Service Providers and end users is often called the last mile by Service Providers, or from an end user’s perspective, the first mile.


I explained the Broadband Access Technologies in one of my earlier posts. In any of the broadband access technologies, such as xDSL, CATV (Cable Broadband), FTTx, BPL (Broadband over Powerline) , Satellite , Fix Wireless or Mobile Broadband , the term last mile is used extensively.


Last mile is the part of access network.


Just let’s remember the xDSL Broadband.


In the last mile, we have Customer CPE (Router, switch, PC etc.) , DSL modem , twisted pair copper cable and DSLAM. DSLAM is the rack which keeps so many DSL modem at the Service Provider location. Each customer side DSL modem is terminated at the modem in the DSLAM.


The link between Modem and the DSLAM in the xDSL case is the last mile.


Last but not least, for example in the Cable Broadband architecture (Most commonly deployed Fix Broadband technology in U.S), customer CPE , Cable Modem , Amplifiers, Splitters, Coaxial Cable to the distribution Hub, From Hub to the Headend Fiber Cables and the CMTS (Cable Modem Termination System) are the access network elements.


The link between the Cable modem and the CMTS (Cable Modem Termination System) is the last mile, from the MSO (Cable Operator is also called as Multiple System Operators) ,and the first mile from the subscriber point of view.


Note: Those routing geeks will remember the last hop and the first hop router in Multicast. Last hop router from the network to the multicast receiver is also called as first hop router, from the multicast receiver point of view.

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