Why Fiber Internet Provides High-Speed Services
DSL and cable internet relay signals via conventional copper wires that were designed to carry sound only and this factor restrict the amount of data they can efficiently transmit. In essence, internet speeds depend on the data that the infrastructure is capable of managing. You might want to consider getting satellite internet instead. However, given the long distances, the data must travel, you can expect approximately the same speeds as DSL and cable internet though the latency is higher.
Comparing Cable and DSL vs Fiber Internet
While fiber internet is possibly the faster internet service available today, it has various other positives over DSL and cable internet. Here are some of them:
- Fiber optic cables are more efficient in relaying data over large distances. Copper cables can transmit signals effectively up to a distance of 328 feet, but fiber optic cables can give you better signal strength running up to distances of close to 25 miles.
- Fiber optic cables are finer than copper wires but are tougher and more resistant to environmental factors and usage. When exposed to hazards like pressure or fire, copper being a softer metal and conductor of heat is likely to lose its integrity and weaken over time. Copper wires can take the pressure of around 25 pounds before getting damaged, but fiber optic cables can withstand pressures of between 100 to 200 pounds.
- Light and electricity signal strengths degrade as they run longer distances. As a result, you may notice that your internet service has a poor signal or lesser bandwidth which is not so with fiber optic internet.
- While copper wires can transmit electricity and sound waves, the network is not closed. Any electromagnetic or radio activity in the vicinity of the cables can interfere with the relay of signals reducing their strength. For this reason, you run the risk of the service stalling completely. However, glass and plastic fibers come with an outer insulated covering that keeps them protected from interference. As a result, you have better signal quality.
If you’re looking for a high speed, reliable, and efficient internet service for downloading and uploading data, you may want to opt for fiber optic internet.
Downsides of Fiber Optic Internet
Fiber optic internet has a whole lot of positives going for it making it the best service available today. However, it does have its share of downsides. Here are some of the factors you may want to keep in mind before signing up.
- Fiber optic internet is not easily available and chances are that the service is not provided in your area. According to statistics released in the year 2014 by the federal government’s National Broadband Map, only 30% of the population has access to fiber optic internet. On the other hand, 90% of the people have access to DSL and cable internet though the speeds may vary from area to area. To date, few locations outside of the Midwest and north Atlantic coastal regions may have the service. Although companies like Google and Verizon are working on providing fiber optic internet, it may be awhile before the service is more readily available in the country.
- Fiber optic internet needs the development of a new network. That’s because DSL and cable internet send internet to your home using the existing network of copper wiring. Given that fiber optic is a new technology, providers may have to bear the cost of the installation of the necessary infrastructure before bringing you the service.
Do You Really Need Fiber Optic Internet?
The Federal Communications Commission, a non-governmental American organization estimates that an average user may only need 1 Mbps for surfing the internet and 4 Mbps for high-speed functions like streaming movies in HD and playing games. Further, the ongoing speed standard for “advanced telecommunications” is 25 Mbps. Most cable internet providers are already providing you with these speeds in the upper tier.
Fiber optic internet is best suited for households with multiple users accessing the internet for streaming Blu-Ray quality movies and playing games at the same time. For an individual user who only uses the internet for surfing, DSL or cable internet is ideal. But, if you enjoy movies and gaming, then opting for fiber optic internet is a smart move. Especially since companies like Google and Verizon now offer you 1 Gbps speed plans that are similar in cost to the 25 to 50 Mbps plans that most cable internet companies offer you.
Your internet usage is likely to remain the same, but you can look forward to much higher speeds and efficiency. However, the major downside still is availability. And, you may have to wait for the time when the infrastructure arrives in your area.