Internet has never been more important than it is today. We rely on the internet for almost everything we do. From running a business to attending classes, much of what we do is online and relies on the internet to thrive. When it comes to internet, speed is important.

Luckily, as technology is always improving, so is the internet! Its latest improvement is fiber optic internet. Even though fiber optic technology has been around since the 1970s and used for communicating with Europe, it is just now being used for internet. 

Fiber internet is one of the fastest forms of internet available. While DSL and cable internet had their time in the spotlight, fiber optic internet is gradually stealing it and constantly impressing us with how fast it is.

But how fast can fiber internet go? That’s what we’re here to answer. Keep reading to learn the limits of fiber internet and how fast it really is.

What is fiber internet? 

Fiber internet is a form of internet that uses fiber optic technology. This technology works by using light to transfer information from a network to your home. Fiber internet works through fiber optic cables.

Fiber optic cables have two important parts: the cladding and the core. The cladding is the outer layer. This is made of plastic or glass or plastic and protects the core. The core of the fiber optic cable is made of fiberglass wires that are only slightly bigger than a human hair. These tiny strands of glass and plastic are responsible for bouncing the light through the wires to transmit data.

Since data is transmitted through light impulses traveling through the cables, it travels very fast. The pulses continue to travel unless they reach what is commonly known as the last mile. The last mile is where the light impulses in fiber optic wires are converted into usable data for your home or business. This term isn’t describing an actual mile, rather the place when fiber internet is turned into something usable.

There are various types of fiber internet connections to choose from. Fiber to the premise, or FTTP, describes the form that uses pure fiber with direct lines to your home or premise and there are no wires necessary for connection. This is the most reliable and expensive form of fiber internet.

Fiber to the building, or FTTB, is a form of internet connection that uses copper wires throughout a building. Many schools, large businesses, apartments, or hotels use this form of internet connection.

FTTC, or fiber to the cabinet, is the most common way to supply fiber internet to your home. There is a “cabinet” that can be up to 1,000 feet away from your home that receives fiber connection. This fiber is then distributed through copper wires to multiple houses in the same street or neighborhood.

Fiber internet speeds 

Fiber optics are fast. In fact, because they are reliant on light to transmit data from one place to another, they can reach speeds up to 70% the speed of light. Fiber internet can reach up to 1,000 Mbps, or 1 Gbps.

Bandwidth

Another important factor of fiber internet’s speeds is bandwidth. Bandwidth is the volume of information that can be transmitted through the internet at the same time. In other words, while a service with low bandwidth can transmit one piece of information quickly, it couldn’t handle many at the same time. Fiber internet, however, has very high bandwidth. It can handle a lot of information at the same time without lagging, slowing down, or malfunctioning.

In addition to fiber’s high bandwidth, there are two types of fiber optic fibers that play a role in how light can travel through the cable and thus how fast data can travel through them.

Multi-mode fibers

A “mode” is a pathway for the light to move through. Multi-mode fibers have more than one pathway through which light can travel. Multiple rays of light move through the wires, bouncing off the walls and moving in different directions. This type of fiber optic fiber is the fastest form, but it comes with some challenges that make many choose single mode fibers instead.

For instance, even though there are more ways for light to travel, this can lead to varying destination times as beams of light that are bouncing off the walls more than others will travel more slowly.

Single mode fibers

For single mode fibers, there is only a single mode or pathway that allows light to pass through. While over shorter distances, multi-mode fibers are fastest, using a single mode ensures equal destination times. Single mode fibers are still fast, providing up to 1,000 Mbps, and they’re getting faster each day.

Fiber speed vs. cable speed 

To gauge just how fast fiber internet is, it may help to compare it to cable internet speeds.

Cable internet is fast internet. It can reach up to 1,000 Mbps for downloading. However, it can’t reach these same speeds for uploading. Cable’s upload bandwidth (the volume of information it is capable of receiving and transmitting) is much smaller than fiber’s bandwidth.

Fiber internet, on the other hand, has symmetrically fast download and upload speeds! While cable can only reach up to blank Mbps, fiber can reach 1,000 Mbps. In addition to being faster, it’s also more reliable. Since fiber optic cables work by the light moving through them, bends and turns don’t affect them as much as cable wires. With a cable wiring, you may experience delays, disruptions, and lags due to geography, fiber optic wires aren’t affected by this.

Here is an example of how long it would take to download a large media file over cable internet and over fiber. For a file that’s 6.5 GB, it can take up to 14 days for this file to load over cable. Over fiber, however, it would take around one minute. 

Which providers offer fiber internet?

Even though fiber optic internet is becoming more popular every day, not every provider offers it. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite fiber providers and the most affordable prices.

  • Verizon Fios offers fiber internet with speeds of 940 Mbps to 880 Mbps. This is enough for streaming in HD, playing video games, attending conference calls, and doing almost anything else you can think of without a delay.
  • Google Fiber also offers fiber optic internet starting at around $70 per month and with 1,000 Mbps.
  • AT&T offers a fiber internet plan as well, starting at only $35 a month.
  • Xfinity has a fiber optic internet in certain locations. Compared to other plans, these do tend to be more expensive, starting at around $300 a month for speeds up to 2 Gbps.

Picking the right provider for your data needs and price needs can be tricky. However, by knowing how much data you need, how many lines you want on your plan, and how much money in your budget is allotted for this expense, you can pick a plan that fits your budget and life.

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Benefits of fiber internet 

If you have fiber internet, you’re able to transmit online information faster and more efficiently than cable or DSL. If you have multiple people in your household who like to stream movies or watch YouTube videos in HD, play video games, download or upload information onto the web, fiber internet helps keep your connection steady and smooth.

Fiber internet also comes with less buffering! Because of its high bandwidth, multiple devices can use fiber internet without slowing down the connection or experiencing pauses.

The same goes for video game players and lagging. Because video games involve uploading each move you make on the controller via data, slow upload speeds can lead to lagging. This can be frustrating and even mess up a whole game, but with fiber internet lagging is almost entirely eliminated.

Summary 

The Internet helps us stay connected, accomplish tasks for school or business, and enjoy entertainment and information. Experiencing slow internet can make these benefits feel short-lived, especially if you pay for high speeds! Nobody wants to pay for internet that ends up being slower than promised. If you’ve wondered what internet can help you get the fastest speeds, consider switching to fiber optic.

With faster speeds than ever before and wider bandwidth for higher volume of information, fiber internet is setting a new standard. No more feeling frustrated when your favorite TV shows don’t load or when your conference call lags or disconnects due to slow internet. With fiber internet, you can do all the activities you enjoy, and then a little more!

And, we’re here to help too! With our internet plan comparison tool, we’ll help you explore the providers that offer fiber internet, get the best deals, and help you get the most out of your internet plan.

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