What’s the Big Deal? Fiber vs. Other Internet
Like water and electricity, internet has become an essential utility in America, and our country is working to provide it to everyone. You may be hearing talk about fiber, especially in rural areas, as federal funds become available to build fiber infrastructure. But why the focus on ‘fiber’?
America is investing in fiber technology because it carries a more reliable signal, the equipment lasts longer, it allows for fast download AND upload speeds, and it has high ‘capacity’ or bandwidth that will meet future needs. Each of these is reason enough to invest our resources in fiber instead of the alternatives, but let's break each one down.
Fast, Reliable Signal
The alternatives to fiber are coaxial cable, DSL through your phone lines, or wireless from a tower or satellite. None of these alternatives offer the bandwidth or low latency that fiber does, so they are susceptible to frustrating ‘lag’ and are just plain slower. Cable and DSL rely on active electric equipment to send signals along copper wires that break down over time and distance. Wireless signals also rely on electrified equipment and can fluctuate due to obstacles, weather, or other atmospheric conditions.
Fiber is made of glass coated in protective layers of Kevlar® and latex, and it is directly linked from the provider to your home or business on a network that doesn’t require electrified equipment. Fiber’s composition and passive connection create a solid, reliable signal.
Fiber Lasts Longer
Cable and DSL lines need to be replaced every five to ten years because they are susceptible to corrosion and deterioration when buried or exposed to air. Fiber is resistant to electromagnetic, corrosive, and lightning-related damage and can stay in the ground for decades without maintenance.
The copper in coaxial cable and DSL is a great conductor of electrical radiofrequency waves, but it does have some resistance. The longer the cable length, the more resistant material your signal must pass through, resulting in a weakened signal. The same is true for wireless signals as they travel through the air. Fiber, however, uses light pulses, which encounter no interference on their journey.
Fast Upload AND Download
If you run a speed test on your internet connection, you will receive a report with both download and upload speeds. Most internet providers only report the download speed, which is faster than upload speed with cable and DSL. However, this is only half the picture. Fiber provides the same, or symmetrical, upload and download speeds.
Don’t take our word for it! Run your own speed test (hint, make sure you are hardwired into your internet connection to get the most reliable result).
Bandwidth for the Future
Because the capacity of fiber allows for more bandwidth than other technologies--up to 6,000 megabits per second (Mbps)and growing--it is a great investment in the future. Things are changing quickly in the U.S. and around the world, and we’re only going to want a more reliable, faster connection in years to come. Telecommuting, video chatting, and gaming are more popular than ever before, and who knows how we’ll be working and playing on the internet in the next ten years? Cable (3,000 Mbps), DSL (100 Mbps), and wireless (100 Mbps) will not meet our internet needs in the near or distant future.
Ready to make a change? Upgrade to fiber internet.