Fiber optic internet delivers a higher quality business and residential internet connection that is much faster, more powerful, and the most reliable when compared to other internet connections like DSL, cable, and satellite. Fiber internet speeds can easily reach 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) and up, and this includes both download and upload speeds. Let’s compare internet connections and the speeds needed to perform everyday internet activities.
|Technology||Download Speed Range||Upload Speed Range||Latency||Reliability|
|Fiber||250 Mbps – 1,000 Mbps||250 Mbps – 1,000 Mbps||10 ms – 12 ms||Extremely reliable|
|Cable||10 Mbps – 500 Mbps||5 Mbps – 50 Mbps||13 ms – 27 ms||Generally reliable except for peak times|
|DSL||5 Mbps – 35 Mbps||1 Mbps – 10 Mbps||11 ms – 40 ms||Significantly reliable|
|Satellite||12 Mbps – 100 Mbps||3 Mbps||594 ms – 612 ms||Can be subject to harsh weather conditions|
|INTERNET ACTIVITY||MINIMUM RECOMMENDED SPEED|
|Browsing and Email||1 Mbps|
|Social Media||1 Mbps|
|Streaming (Standard Definition)||3 Mbps|
|Streaming (High Definition)||5 Mbps|
|4K Streaming||25 Mbps|
When searching for fiber internet providers, you may also find it listed as fiber optic internet, optic fiber internet, fiber broadband, or fiber. Also, keep in mind this type of broadband is not available to customers in all areas of the country. Currently it is available to a little over 30% of homes in the U.S. Some cable providers, such as Cox and Xfinity, use a hybrid network of both coaxial and fiber lines to reach speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps or more.
There are various types of fiber connections available to residential customers. The fiber type available in your area will determine the speeds you can expect to receive.
The most sought after is pure fiber - fiber to the home (FTTH), sometimes referred to as fiber to the premises (FTTP). This type is only found in select areas. Fiber to the home is delivered via fiber optic cables running the entire way to the customer’s location. This type offers the top speed, reliability, and consistent internet connection.
Fiber to the curb (FTTC) is the next best connection. This type is delivered over fiber optic cable running to the curb outside your house, after which, the standard copper or coaxial cable carries the signal to your home. This is where you could see a drop in speed and reliability.
The most common fiber optic connection is fiber to the node (FTTN). This type is often referred to as HFC or hybrid fiber-coaxial, and most often provided by cable operators. FTTN is delivered over fiber optic cable running to a central hub, or the node, after which copper or coaxial cables carry the data signal to the customer. This type still delivers faster speeds than standard internet connections but is susceptible to the average drop in service.
|Provider||Starting prices||Download speeds||Connection Type|
|AT&T||$35.00/mo. and up||300 Mbps–940 Mbps||Fiber|
|Frontier||$24.99/mo. and up||50–940 Mbps||Fiber, DSL|
|Optimum||$24.95/mo. and up||10-940 Mbps||Fiber, Cable|
|CenturyLink||$49.00/mo. and up||10-940 Mbps||Fiber, DSL|
|RCN||$19.99/mo. and up||25–940 Mbps||Fiber, Cable|
|Spectrum||$49.99/mo. and up||100-940 Mbps||Hybrid-Fiber Coax|
|Cox||$29.99/mo. and up||10–1,000 Mbps||Fiber, Cable|
There may be fiber internet near you. Many internet providers now offer some type of fiber optic connection. Most of these fiber providers utilize a hybrid network, mainly because it’s just too expensive to build an entire network of fiber optic cables directly to every home.
The providers that offer fiber have built out part of a fiber network in certain areas. They then use their existing internet network, be it copper or coaxial cable, to carry the data to your home. This type of hybrid internet is still much faster than:
Getting a fiber optic internet service is all about where you live. If you don’t live in an area that has fiber infrastructure then you will have to rely on another type of internet access.
If you want to see fiber providers in your area, enter your ZIP code and browse a list of your fiber options.
for 12 mos.
for 12 mos.
for 12 mos.
for 12 mos.
|940 Mbps||$59.99/mo.||No contract||$9.95/mo.|
|940 Mbps||$65/mo.||No contract||$15/mo.|
|940 Mbps||$69.99/mo.||No contract||$10/mo.|
for 12 mos.
Fiber offers the fastest form of internet, and speeds can reach up to 10 Gbps, but most residential fiber providers offer top speeds of 1 Gbps, or 1,000 Mbps. These types of fiber download speeds make it possible for multiple users on multiple devices to effortlessly engage in high-bandwidth internet activities simultaneously.
The entire family can enjoy streaming, gaming, browsing at the same time, while someone is working from home. You can do this without interference, speed drops, lags, and other traditional internet pitfalls.
Many users typically download more data (receive) than upload data (send), but for those who need faster upload speed, a FTTH connection provides symmetrical upload and download speeds as opposed to the asymmetric speeds of DSL, satellite, and cable. Those connections offer higher download speeds and only fractional upload speeds. But keep in mind that when a provider says they offer symmetrical speeds, it’s for a wired connection.
Albeit, most users prefer the convenience of WiFi, fiber connection speed may diminish when using in-home WiFi. The signal strength is simply not as strong as the wired connection delivered to your router. Therefore, if you want to experience the true power of Fiber, go for a wired connection.
Fiber internet doesn’t experience latency issues like DSL, cable, satellite, and wireless internet. The lower latency with fiber means you won’t experience a delay between your actions and the results. In terms of response time, searches are quicker, loads are quicker, and gaming is quicker.
The fiber-optic threads are smaller, which means more threads can fit into the fiber cables that deliver high-speed internet. This makes fiber a more efficient internet delivery source.
A fiber connection also stays unaffected by network congestion or other external factors. You don’t see a decrease in speed or bandwidth at peak hours. Fiber optic internet is consistently faster and experiences less service interruptions than DSL, cable, and satellite connections.
Fiber is fast! Many customers will choose the speed and performance of fiber even though it can be more expensive than other internet connections.
Renting equipment from your provider wipes out potential hiccups and streamlines your initial setup. And, it also makes you eligible for tech support during the period of your subscription. But the finances always discredit the effort.
Regardless of whether you consider equipment fees as a fair service charge or overrated add-on, buying your own equipment will save money for most consumers.
If you are tech savvy, installing fiber equipment may be worth it. Of course, the point of concern is not whether you can follow the installation instructions, it is whether or not you are comfortable with tackling the unforeseen problems if and when any arises.
Or you can get a technician from your service provider come to your home to set it up for you. They will install the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) or Fiber modem in your house to serve as a connection point for the fiber optic cable.
Fiber optic internet is overall the best internet service available to residential customers, but there are a few drawbacks. However, it’s important to remember that these disadvantages are not service related.
Last updated: July 19, 2021
Fiber optic broadband is a technology that transmits data in the form of light. Optical fibers are small glass strands that are bundled together to form cables. The optical fiber cables carry light down the length of the cable line, transmitting the data in seconds. Unlike other internet connections, the speed of fiber does not decrease over distance. Fiber limits data interference while allowing for more data capacity. As it stands, fiber is easily the fastest internet available.
Fiber optic internet can reach speeds up to 10 Gbps i.e. 10 billion bits per second. However, this type of pure fiber is not found in residential areas yet. Right now, most fiber customers can expect to see 1 – 2 Gbps; which is still lightning fast. Compared to other internet connections: cable internet offers anywhere from 25 – 300 Mbps. DSL can offer up to 75 Mbps. And Satellite offers between 5 – 25 Mbps.
A fiber optic connection is not available everywhere in the U.S. You will need to check fiber availability in your area. However, while building out an infrastructure is costly, more providers are expanding their fiber networks. This is good news for internet customers. In fact, there are hundreds of fiber providers in the U.S.
This depends on the type of fiber that is being provided. If fiber optic infrastructure is already available in your area, then your provider will only have to install the network equipment. Fiber To The Home (FTTH) will require optical network terminal (ONT) installation. The ONT connects to your router or computer. For a hybrid fiber network, installation is the same as any other type of internet install. It can be set up as soon as the provider can get a technician out to your home or apartment.
This will depend on the type of fiber from your provider. The modem you may have had for your cable or DSL service will most likely not be compatible with fiber broadband. However, your fiber optic internet provider will include a compatible modem with your internet subscription.
Gigabit internet simply refers to the speed, which is 1 gigabit per second. Fiber is the type of connection your provider is using to deliver your internet. However, fiber is the only source for a gigabit connection. If an internet provider is offering gigabit speed, that means their network is either fully or partly built with fiber optic cable.
It’s true that fiber optic internet is the perfect choice for homes with multiple users who enjoy surfing, streaming, gaming, and even work from home. But often overlooked, fiber enhances the smart home experience. Homes with voice assistants like Alexa, smart thermostats, lights, locks, and many other gadgets, will see improved performance. Fiber is also beneficial for homeowners with online home security features.
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