Fiber internet options continue to spread across the country for residential internet users to tap into. According to Allan Pieroni, Senior Consultant and Broadband Product Manager at Kinetic by Windstream, access to fiber internet is rapidly expanding and is on the verge of surpassing other internet access options across the nation.
What is fiber internet?
Broadband is defined as public high-speed internet. As for the difference between broadband and fiber, fiber is a way to access broadband. Historically, people associate residential broadband connections with DSL and copper lines. But there’s a range of existing methods for accessing broadband. That includes cable modems, wireless connections and satellites. Fiber started becoming an internet connection option for homes in the early 2000s, and is arguably better than any other access method for broadband. Fiber works off of digital signals that travel over fiber-optic, which uses glass particles that reflect light. “Fiber is great for any speed, any use case, any customer out there,” Pieroni said. “If you have the opportunity to take fiber, it is the preference over any other access method.” Want to know why? Here are five advantages of fiber internet vs. other broadband access methods.
(1) Fiber internet is faster
The first and most significant benefit of fiber internet is its speed. "It is superior in speed offering over any other technology,” Pieroni said. “Especially if you consider both download and upload capacity.” The best copper DSL speed offerings, for example, are limited to about 300 mbps, whereas a product like Kinetic Fiber Internet can offer speeds of up to 1 Gig. Pieroni said, “Fiber-optics provides the ability for data to travel as fast as the speed of light, versus copper, which is a very old, archaic wiring system that was used and designed for a totally different purpose than large data quantities. It was designed for voice protocols and just for transmitting sound.
(2) Fiber internet can handle more devices
The average internet user who surfs the web, does a little bit of light streaming and has 10 devices or fewer in their home could be perfectly content with speeds of 100 to 400 mbps. That user could even get fiber internet and enjoy the high-performance capabilities across their network without additional speed.
But as more families work from home, learn from home and turn their home into a smart home, fiber internet with a high-speed plan is becoming increasingly popular.
Fiber is especially recommended for power users – people who have a lot of devices (more than 10) in their home, especially when simultaneously streaming across multiple devices. Think about it: three family members could be using laptops and phones, one family member could be watching TV, the family could have three voice assistant devices set up, four security cameras could line the house. That’s already 14 devices using up bandwidth at the same time.
Ambient devices used for information at-a-glance in particular require better support. “They’re constantly broadcasting and transmitting data even if you’re not actively using them,” Pieroni said. “Fiber internet is future-proof. You have more scalability to meet bandwidth demands as users start using more devices in their homes and consuming more bandwidth in their home. There’s an increased need for more bandwidth to transmit and receive more data.
(3) Fiber internet is more reliable
“There is less opportunity for cross-talk or interference from other devices on the network, so people often tout fiber as being more reliable,” Pieroni said. “So the end user experience is just a little bit cleaner.” Proximity to other cables can be an issue for copper DSL for example, while fiber optics are immune to electromagnetic interference. Fiber internet users are less likely to experience outages as well. Weather can negatively affect the operations of copper DSL cables, for example, from precipitation to extreme temperatures. That’s not the case with fiber optic cables. Only things such as physical damage or equipment failures would cause an outage with fiber.
(4) Fiber internet is not sensitive to distance
Broadband access methods like copper DSL are distance-sensitive. “So you have to live within a certain distance of the nearest switch to be able to take full advantage of those speeds that it can offer,” Pieroni said. Distance doesn’t alter the strength of fiber optic connections, so data-transfer continues at a consistent speed regardless of location.
(5) Fiber internet comes with the option for premium technological support
Keep in mind that Wi-Fi is its own separate animal, Pieroni said. So your home may be connected via hard connection to fiber optic, but you still have to care for the wireless experience at home and invest in the right technology to support it. That’s what Kinetic is really focused on as an internet service provider – the premium in-home Wi-Fi experience offering the best customer premises equipment, from the best wireless routers and extenders. “That’s to be sure that you're not limited to what your legacy devices can do over wireless standards,” Pieroni said.
Considering the advantages of fiber internet?
There aren’t many downsides, beyond the fact that fiber is more costly to deploy because a lot of it involves new construction versus tapping into the infrastructure that’s already there. But the scalability and benefits of fiber internet outweigh the shift in cost, especially for households that overload older broadband access methods because of their high-bandwidth demand. In terms of wireless offerings and in-home experience, Kinetic is at the forefront of the Wi-Fi horizon.
Most people nowadays are using Wi-Fi connectivity for their smart devices or their connected devices in-home,” Pieroni said. “Kinetic places a lot of emphasis on high-performing, wireless standards so our availability of in-home devices sets us apart for a premium Wi-Fi experience, along with an award-winning internet security platform. We have a holistic approach providing the best in-home experience that is safe, fast and reliable at a great price.
Learn more about Kinetic Fiber Internet plans here.