Whether you run your business from your home, attend school remotely, play video games, or upload YouTube videos, having fast, reliable internet is important. When you're paying for a service each month, it's important to make sure that service best fits your needs and covers what you need it to, so you don't wind up with extra charges or poor service.
If you're rethinking your internet decision or looking to purchase a different internet service, there are two popular considerations: fiber internet and cable internet. While they're both similar, they have important differences that can help you decide which service is best for you.
Let's break down the differences.
Fiber internet is one of the newest forms of internet that has already been met with much excitement. Fiber internet is characterized by the way it travels. Instead of traveling through wires via electricity, it travels at the speed of light!
Fiber optic cables are tubes full of glass and plastic pieces to help light bounce around. These cables are almost as small as a human hair and travel quickly until they reach within a mile of their destination. Once they reach this point, they enter a network terminal and are converted into an electrical output so devices can understand and use these signals.
Cable internet is a form of internet that travels via copper wires to reach a modem in your home. Also known as copper coaxial cables, these wires use electricity to travel and do so underground. The wire itself is a plastic tube layered with aluminum and copper shields, insulation, and copper in the center.
Cable internet gets its name from cable television. The same wires that provide cable internet also provide cable TV. This form of internet is fast and reliable and can power whole neighborhoods at once as it can share bandwidth.
Below are some factors that differentiate fiber from cable internet and the pros and cons of each.
So which form of internet is faster? The short answer is: fiber internet. Fiber optic internet is becoming more and more popular because it offers incredibly fast speeds for both downloading and uploading. However, cable internet is still relatively fast as it can reach a speed of about 1,000 Mbps. This is fast enough for most online activities.
Availability is one of the only areas where cable internet has the upper hand. Since fiber optic internet is an up-and-coming internet form, there are limited areas where the wiring and technology have been installed.
Fiber internet has a 41% availability across the country, whereas cable internet has almost double that at 81% availability. While fiber optic is expanding across the United States and becoming an increasingly popular form of internet, the availability of cable is still much higher.
When fiber optic internet was first promoted, its costs were higher than cable internet. Since this, however, the costs have come down to almost the same amount as cable. Cable is still cheaper, but fiber optic internet is not nearly as expensive as it used to be.
If you're thinking of switching internet providers or internet forms, here are some of the factors that determine the cost of internet:
When you invest in internet services, you want a reliable connection. If you lose connection due to weather, outages, or too much use, this can interrupt important business meetings, school exams, and other activities you do from home. Internet reliability is becoming more and more important. Between fiber optic and cable internet, fiber optic is the most reliable of the two for a few reasons.
Copper wires can break down with time, and if electricity is still traveling through the wire, this can cause a fire. Another risk for disconnection of cable internet is the copper wires location. Most copper wires travel back to their telephone company. As repairs are made, it's a common occurrence that cable wires are mistaken for telephone wires, and the internet connection can be disrupted!
The structure of the copper wires that sustain cable internet is more susceptible to weather conditions such as rain, lightning storms, and even severe temperatures. In addition, cable internet can have connectivity issues with certain geographical locations. For instance, a place with lots of hills and turns or bends can cause the electrical signal to slow down and get disrupted as the signal tries to find its way through the wire.
Fiber optic internet is much more reliable as it is made of tubes of glass that are much less susceptible to weather damage. These wires are not at risk of being disconnected by a phone company, and they can go through as many bends and turns as needed since the light is what brings the signal through the wires!
If you are looking for reliability and have had disconnection issues with cable internet, it may be time to switch!
An increasing concern among cybersecurity is how easily the copper wires can be hacked and to intercept the electrical signals passing through. This is done by putting a tap on an internet line, and data is transferred from one line to the tap.
Fiber optic wires are thin and full of glass, which makes tapping them incredibly difficult. If you are concerned about cybersecurity, investing in fiber optic internet is an affordable way to protect you and your information.
While fiber internet has many advantages over cable internet, it isn't right for everyone. While some need high speeds for the activities they like to do, others may not. Here are some guidelines for those who may need fiber internet, and those who can probably get by sticking with cable!
When it comes to internet needs, there is no one-size-fits-all. We all like to do different activities. Whether you spend most of the day sending emails or uploading content on social media and YouTube, it's important to know which internet needs are right for you.
Fiber internet may be right for you if you:
Cable internet might be right for you if you:
Knowing the difference between fiber optic internet and cable internet can help you decide which will benefit you most in the long run. Between speed, bandwidth, and reliability, fiber optic internet has advantages over cable internet, but there are pros of having cable too, especially if your internet needs are smaller.
If you're thinking of switching, take a month and examine your internet needs to be sure you're not overpaying for data you don't need while not underpaying either!
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