The transition from cable to fiber-optic internet is a significant technological shift that is gaining momentum. As of 2023, more people are recognizing the limitations of traditional cable providers, such as high costs, poor customer service, and inadequate bandwidth for today’s connected lifestyle. They are opting for fiber-optic internet providers that offer faster speeds, better customer service, and more personalized programming choices.
The process of switching is made easier with providers like GoNetspeed, which has a two-part installation process to ensure a smooth transition. The change not only brings superfast internet speeds but also allows for crystal clear video conversations, live sports streaming, and more targeted spending on channels and services that users actually want.
With fiber internet, users can enjoy more for their money without sacrificing their favorite content, making it an appealing option for those ready to cut the cord from traditional cable.
What is Cable Internet?
Cable Internet is a form of high-speed connection that utilizes a cable television infrastructure to provide Internet access to end users. The network that provides your cable TV connection is the same one that allows you to access the Internet. It is often bundled with TV channels and mainly comes from a local cable TV service provider.
Cable Internet requires a modem inside your house and a coaxial wire or cable that runs from the modem to the cable modem termination system (CMTS) housed in the premises of your Internet service provider (ISP). The coaxial cable connects your modem to the CMTS, allowing the transmission of data over long distances. Cable Internet is one of the most used forms of broadband service, known for its availability and speed.
What is Fiber Internet?
Fiber-optic internet, commonly referred to as fiber internet, is a broadband connection capable of reaching speeds up to 940 Megabits per second (Mbps). It uses fiber-optic cable, which can send data as fast as about 70% the speed of light. Fiber is less susceptible to severe weather conditions and electrical interference, minimizing outages.
Fiber-optic internet works by transmitting information in the form of light rather than electricity. The key components include optical fibers and the “last mile” of the fiber-optic network. Optical fibers are tiny, bundled together to form cables, and carry pulses of laser or LED light, transmitting information in binary form. The “last mile” refers to the stretch between the main fiber network line and the end user, where the light pulses are converted into electrical output by an optical network terminal.
Fiber-optic technology dates back to the 1970s and has become the backbone of current internet networks. It offers more reliability and is an excellent choice for various online activities, including gaming, streaming, and multi-user households. Fiber internet also supports smart home devices and provides faster download and upload speeds.
Cable vs. Fiber Internet: Which is Right for You?
In today’s connected world, choosing the right internet service is more crucial than ever. Two of the most common broadband options available are cable and fiber-optic internet. Both offer high-speed connections, but there are significant differences between the two. Here’s a deep dive into cable vs. fiber internet to help you make an informed choice.
Structure and Functionality
Cable and fiber internet connections differ fundamentally in their structure and functionality. Cable internet uses coaxial cables with a copper core, insulated with aluminum, to transmit data. It can supply both internet and television network simultaneously.
Fiber internet, on the other hand, uses fiber optic cables containing plastic or glass to transmit modulated light, carrying digital information over long distances. There are two types of fiber: Direct Internet Access (DIA) for mission-critical operations and broadband fiber for residential or low-cost business needs.
Cable networks are widely accessible, with about 89% coverage nationwide. Fiber internet connections, though expanding, are not as easily accessible, with availability in about 25% of locations.
Cable internet is easier to install, making it more broadly available, while fiber may be more suitable for larger metropolitan locations.
Fiber and cable internet connections are almost equally reliable, but cable can be affected by electricity outages.
Fiber optic internet access does not experience interruptions from electricity disruptions, providing a more consistent and reliable network choice.
DIA fiber offers guaranteed Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for quality and speed, making it a high-quality, secure connection for businesses.
Cable network speeds range from 10 to 500 Mbps for downloads and 5 to 50 Mbps for uploads.
Fiber-optic internet services are faster, offering speeds of 250-1,000 Mbps in both directions.
Cable network speed can reduce during peak-use periods, while fiber remains constant, making it ideal for high-demand use.
Cable internet connection used to be considerably cheaper than fiber, but the costs associated with fiber optic have come down significantly.
While cable costs are mainly determined by location and bundled services, fiber-optic internet costs depend on usage, speed, and location, typically being more expensive.
Cable vs. Fiber: A Tabular Comparison
|Speed||Up to 1 Gbps with DOCSIS 3.1, typically 25-300 Mbps||Up to 1 Gbps, some providers offer 10 Gbps or more|
|Symmetric Speeds||Asymmetric speeds, faster download than upload||Symmetric speeds, equally fast upload and download|
|Reliability||Susceptible to congestion during peak times||Consistent and reliable, less prone to outages|
|Latency||Higher latency||Very low latency, improves real-time communication|
|Installation||Simpler, uses existing coaxial connections||Requires specialized equipment, more extensive installation|
|Cost||Typically lower, discounts with bundling||More expensive, but becoming more competitive|
|Availability||Most urban and suburban areas||Limited to certain regions, urban and newly-developed areas|
|Future Potential||Limits to upgrading existing coaxial cables||High potential for future speed and capacity upgrades|
How to Install Cable to a Fiber Internet
The transition from traditional cable internet to fiber-optic internet is a significant upgrade that offers faster and more reliable connectivity. The installation process, while slightly more complex than standard cable, can be accomplished with the right tools and understanding.
Locate the Fiber Network Terminal
To install fiber internet, you first need to identify the optical network terminal (ONT), also known as a fiber network terminal or fiber jack. This terminal connects your home to the provider’s network and is different from standard coax or phone jacks.
Connecting the Network Box
- Plug in the Network Box: Connect the power cord to the network box and plug it into a power outlet. The lights on the network box should turn on and start blinking, eventually turning solid. This process may take up to 15 minutes.
- Connect the Ethernet Cable: Plug one end of the Ethernet cable into the port on the terminal, then plug the other end into the appropriate port on the network box.
Setting Up Home Wi-Fi
Follow the provider’s instructions to set up your home Wi-Fi network. The steps are similar to self-installing other types of internet but may have some specific differences related to fiber technology.
Considerations for Installation
- Availability: Fiber is expanding but may still be limited to urban and newly-developed areas.
- Installation Costs: While fiber technology has been around for decades, installation can be expensive due to the need to dig trenches to bury the cables underground.
- Specialized Equipment: Fiber installation requires specialized equipment and may need more extensive work, especially if the fiber infrastructure hasn’t reached your home directly.
Drawbacks of using Fiber Internet
Here are the 10 drawbacks of using fiber-optic internet.
Prone to Physical Damage
Fiber-optic cables are lighter and thinner than metal wiring, making them more susceptible to physical damage. Accidental cuts during building renovations can disrupt the connection.
High Installation Costs
While the long-term costs of fiber optics are lower, the initial installation can be expensive. Specialized equipment and skilled workers are required, adding to the budget.
Fiber Fuse Risk
A fiber fuse can occur when too much light meets an imperfection in the glass fibers, destroying cables in a very short time. This can lead to significant downtime and repair costs.
Fiber optics can only propagate light in one direction. To achieve two-way communication, more than one cable must be laid, adding complexity to the installation.
Fiber-optic internet is still expanding and may be limited to urban and newly-developed areas. This can restrict access for those in rural or less-developed regions.
Potential for Disruption
Fiber-optic cables are easy to cut accidentally, and even a single cut can be disruptive. Proper marking and awareness are required to prevent accidental damage.
Maintaining fiber-optic connections requires specialized knowledge and equipment. This can lead to higher ongoing maintenance costs compared to traditional connections.
While fiber optics are scalable, switching wavelengths on and off as needed can be complex. This may require additional investment in equipment and expertise.
Fiber-optic technology may not be compatible with existing infrastructure, requiring additional investment in compatible devices and equipment.
While fiber optics are seen as the future of internet connectivity, rapid technological advancements may lead to newer technologies that could make current fiber-optic installations obsolete.
Where is Verizon Fios Available?
Verizon Fios, a 100% fiber-optic internet service, is available in specific states and regions. Availability can be checked online through the Verizon website.
How to Get Verizon Fios Fiber Optic Home Internet?
Getting Verizon Fios fiber-optic internet involves checking availability in your area and selecting a suitable plan. Installation may require professional assistance.
Why Are Fiber Optics Better Than Cable?
Fiber optics offer faster speeds, lower latency, and more reliable connections compared to traditional cable. They are less prone to congestion and interference.
How is Verizon Fios Different from Other Fiber Optic Internet Providers?
Verizon Fios may differ from other providers in terms of speed, pricing, customer service, and additional features. Comparing different providers can help you find the best fit for your needs.
Can I Get Wi-Fi with Fiber Optic Internet?
Yes, it supports Wi-Fi connectivity. You can set up a Wi-Fi network using a compatible router to connect multiple devices wirelessly.
What is Fiber Optic Internet and Why Should I Get It?
It uses light to transmit data, offering high speeds and reliability. It’s suitable for gaming, streaming, video conferencing, and other high-demand online activities.
How Does Fiber Work?
Fiber works by transmitting data as light pulses through thin glass or plastic fibers. It allows for faster and more efficient data transmission compared to electrical signals in traditional cables.
How is Internet Speed Measured?
Internet speed is measured in Mbps (Megabits per second), indicating how much data can be transferred in one second. Higher Mbps means faster internet.
What Internet Speed is Best for Gaming?
For a smooth gaming experience, a speed of at least 25 Mbps is recommended. Fiber-optic internet, with its high speeds and low latency, is often preferred by gamers.
What is the Future Potential of Fiber Optic Internet?
Fiber-optic internet has high potential for future speed and capacity upgrades. It’s considered a forward-compatible option, making it a long-term investment for many users.